I can’t believe we are already in the early days of 2017… I am still remembering all the great moments we had in December, enjoying a great Christmas Spirit in London. This city is an amazing place where you can’t help but be touched by Christmas as all venues in London do create a wonderful Christmassy atmosphere… Before wishing you a happy new year, let’s see what makes London so special in December.
London Christmas lights
From early November, there is a dazzling display of Christmas lights in all the streets and shops, each place trying to surprise and captivate the attention of passers-by. Big department stores especially are competing against each others, like Selfridges, Liberty or Harrods (to name a few), where the storefronts are staged sometimes extravagantly.
And outdoor decorations are wonderfully displayed in all famous streets in London: Oxford and Regents St, The Strand, Carnaby St, Marylebone, Covent Garden (see pictures below), and Trafalgar Square… and it makes you feel in good mood for the celebrations to come !
London Christmas shows
London offers a variety of great shows and the last two months of the year are especially devised for families. In particular, we discovered Pantomimes in London two years ago and Christmas time has always been associated with pantomimes since then! These comedies include songs and dancing, slapstick comedy, and combine humour with a story loosely based on a well-known fairy tale.
We saw two of them in December:
– Aladdin which is on at the Lyric in Hammersmith until the 7th of January (grab the last tickets here): simply amazing show, maybe the best memory so far! There were great actors combining dancing and singing skills; great inventive costumes and hilarious characters. The whole family enjoyed the show!
– Cinderella at the Questors Theatre in West London. The show was also a great one, with hilarious twin sisters and a talented Cinderella whose voice touched everyone. The character of Cinderella’s best friend was also very endearing.
We enjoyed must-see shows last year (which returned this winter): Snowman at The Peacock Theatre and Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas, also at the Lyric. Your kids will definitely be inspired for Christmas!
I am quite attached to traditions when it comes to Christmas. And, in London, I have discovered (and enjoyed since then) the tradition of Christmas Crackers. They were first made in mid 19th century by a London sweet maker called Tom Smith, who had been seduced by the french “bonbons” sweets. He tried to sell these kind of sweets in England with a small motto or riddle included in with the sweet, without success. But when he innovated in the way the sweets were opened -with a crack when their fancy wrappers were pulled in half- the Christmas Crackers (called “cosaques” at the beginning) became an expanding business. Today you can find all kind of qualities and themed crackers… It is always a pleasure to discover a cracker next to each plate on the Christmas dinner table and to share the presents, hats and jokes with your table-mates!
I have also spoken about the Advent calendars (in a previous post), which are very popular here. I shall admit that I fancy creating and customizing them for my beloved kids…
Speaking of Christmas traditions, let’s speak about dessert! So far, I haven’t baked a Christmas Pudding myself…Only tested it ! This tradition is not my fanciest one, but I can only admire those able to bake it… The BBC Good Food is suggesting a recipe, maybe you’ll wish to try it? Let me know if it is worth it!
If you have great memories of Christmas time and traditions in London, please let us know on this blog!
And as it is a great tradition, I wish you all a Happy New Year! May 2017 be rich of cultural events and give you many opportunities to discover and enjoy London and the UK. May this new year be the occasion to share some hidden gems that make us happy and proud to live in London!