About a week ago, I was still in my ripped jeans and t-shirts and could pass without a warm coat but now, as it’s the 8th of December, it seems London has put a spin on things. If you, like me, can’t wait a full 24 days to finish your advent calendar, will eat all of the chocolate provided in an advent calendar with your friend late at night as soon as it hits the first of December. Apart from the endless chocolate, whether it be in a mug warmed up in the microwave or just an entire block to yourself, you’ll give yourself the excuse that “Well, it’s basically Christmas”.
You and I both know it’s socially acceptable to call it Christmas now because it’s December; but if you hadn’t already noticed, London had been celebrating it much before the early days of December. Oxford Street began putting up its annual festive decorations mid-November, brightening up the busy, bustling street that actually terrifies me (how can it not? You can’t walk in a straight line, you’re always weaving in and out of people and trying to get out their way!). But, the decorative lights make the trip worth it as you feel the festive spirit that accompanies retail therapy. Everywhere around London, subtle hints of Christmas have been keeping you on your toes, easing Christmas spirit into you.
Just next to the Strand Campus is Somerset House’s courtyard that is completely filled with an ice rink and a gigantic Christmas tree; take a skate in the sun which is deceivingly not warming at all, and finish off with a drink at Waterfront bar or go for a coffee instead. Covent Garden, a five minute walk from Strand, is too, lit up beautifully and gives you an excuse to venture down the line of expensive retail stores.
However, the best of all, is Winter Wonderland itself. Located in Hyde Park,
this annual park throws you into a time portal, returning you to your childhood. You’ll find yourself, like me, belting out the Christmas carols with friends as you skip, and I mean literally skip, through Winter Wonderland, gawking at the prizes which seem to be such a good idea to spend all your money on the games that rely purely on luck and tugging at your friend’s sleeve who is terrified of roller coasters. But it’s not just the cute prizes to be won, and short two minute thrills from a ride that tempt you to return to a child-like state in Winter Wonderland; it’s the food. From churros to mulled wine, and roasted chestnuts to bratwurst, you will devour yourself in hot, freshly made food in the chilly weather.
So go on, it’s now socially acceptable to throw on that Christmas jumper you’ve been dying to wear all November and it’s alright to put on Christmas tunes when you’re at home, and it’s definitely, 100% acceptable to say that it’s “basically Christmas”.