The magical (or not-so magical depending on your level of scrooge) thing about the Christmas season in London is how swiftly it appears. There’s no waiting around for after Thanksgiving, because there is no Thanksgiving. I had about a week or so to come down from the spooky festivities of Halloween before I found myself embracing the Christmas Spirit...
On the 6th November, the Christmas lights at Oxford Street; my first sign that the next month and a half would be an intense festive period! Throughout the beginning of November festive lights appear everywhere; Carnaby Street in Soho and Bond Street were my personal favorites. You really haven’t seen Christmas lights until you’ve been to London.
It’s not just the streets that get the festive makeover at Christmas time; Christmas jumpers are everywhere. I’ve always been a massive fan of them, but I never realized other people were down to wear them on a random Tuesday in December… until I moved to London. I didn’t bring any with me due to limited packing space, but quickly loaded up at Primark and ASOS. Primark is a budget beacon of festive cheer when all you want is a light up Christmas tree on your chest. I could write a novel extolling the magic of Christmas jumpers, but then so could the rest of London.
Sweets and Treats
I’ve had only one candy cane this Holiday season and it came with my hot chocolate from Costa in a festive cup to rival Starbucks. When I say everyone in London gets into the festive spirit…I mean it 100%. Every cafe stocks Christmas cups; I’m very partial to Costa’s take on the season because who doesn’t want a shot of espresso in a gingerbread man cup or a small latte in a penguin cup? I have yet to find enough bah humbug in any single person when confronted with a seasonal Christmas coffee cup to say no.
Let’s face it, we’re here in the UK to be students, we can’t really afford a festive cup of coffee every day. Never fear! There’s an advent calendar out there ready to satisfy all our daily festive needs. A daily treat hidden behind tiny cardboard doors every day for 24 days? Count me in. I’ve always had advent calendars growing up, but they usually came with cheap subpar chocolate. This year I had the advent calendar I’ve always deserved filled with proper Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate. It was glorious. Thank you Great Britain.
As tempting as it is to stay inside cuddled in your duvet watching Christmas films on those particularly cold days, it’s important to go out and experience a few of the many holiday events that pop up around the city. Enter, Winter Wonderland. For the past ten years Hyde Park has put on a massive Christmas festival/market/carnival/extravaganza. I scrolled through way too many posts about it on Instagram before I finally dragged a friend out to experience it with me. It’s absolutely massive. It boasts ice skating, lights, food, drinks, and carnival rides galore. It’s a festive wonderland.
London goes out of its way to celebrate the holidays and although it may be a bit over the top for some, it’s a beacon of Christmas cheer amidst what would otherwise be foggy and grey days of a British December! If you would like to find out more about sipping hot chocolate while wearing a Christmas jumper or studying in the UK, please contact one of The Across The Pond Advisors.