DYSTOPIAN. It’s not the first word that comes to mind when describing Christmas lights.

But that’s just one of the less than complimentary adjectives employed in response to a city’s display.

Featuring four giant illuminated Christmas presents, it has been ridiculed online and described as an embarrassing waste of money.

Derby City Council spent £112,000 on the show.

People on social media described the new feature as “pathetic”, “ridiculous”, and “dystopian”.

The council said it was “disappointed” some people had chosen to judge the presents before they were fully working.

The display, in Derby’s Market Place, was switched on on Friday.

It was created by the same company behind displays in London’s Harrods department store and Paris’s Champs Elysees. Not a bad track record, then, you’d think.

But people were quick to criticise. One local posted on social media: “I love the dystopian Christmas vibe”, while another opined: “So yet again I’ll be spending more money visiting other cities for a Christmas experience rather than staying here. Well done Derby on another boring year.” Yet another disgruntled resident moaned: “Pointless and waste of money ... all that space wasted on something pathetic.”

In response to the criticism, the council said that the Christmas presents were still in the “installation phase”.

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The presents, which cost about £80,000, with a further £32,000 to cover programming, removal and storage, are there to complement what the city already has, the authority has said.

So, what was the verdict after the big switch-on? Comments include the following: “Now they’re lit up they’re pretty”; “It’s been lovely, they really are beautiful now they’re lit up”; “They’re really nice now that it’s dark”.

Do we detect a theme emerging? Quite a revelation: lights look better once they’re, erm, lit up and it’s dark. The people of Derby have truly seen the light.

But you don’t need a huge budget to enter into the spirit of things. The prize for the most creative Christmas lights must go to Ullapool. The West Highland village on the shores of Loch Broom is celebrating Christmas with a 9m (29.5ft) “tree” made from 340 upcycled creels.

The display, made from the special baskets used for catching shellfish, has become a tradition in Ullapool since it was first constructed in 2016. Prior to that, the village had no festive lights.

Thanks to the efforts of volunteer group Ullapool Fire And Light, the community were once again able to enjoy their own Christmas light switch-on last week.

The volunteers, who gave up many hours of their own time to build the creel tree, explained that the group had previously approached the local council but quickly realised there was no budget for any kind of festive installation.

Undeterred, the volunteers have sparked a tradition to warm the cockles of the coldest Christmas heart.

If they had a message for the people of big-budget Derby, it might be: “Lighten up, folks.”