This is where I live right now.......isn't it gorgeous? I feel so blessed to live so close to Trafalgar Square where so much is happening. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I can't wait till Thanksgiving is over and all the Christmas lights and decorations start coming up. I love the music, the extra cheery smiling people, the decorations of red and green, the baking of yummy Christmas treats, the warm drinks, sitting by the fire and snuggling up with a blanket while watching a Christmas movie......the list could go on and on. It is just such a happy time of the year!
This year, Christmas will be a little different for us, because we are staying in London, and not spending it with family. The song, "Oh there's no place like home for the holidays...." is definitely true, but I have to be flexible this year. Yes of course, I will probably feel a little homesick, but I am excited too. If I can't be at home with family, then London is the 2nd best place to be. Plus, I have my small little family right here, with Nate, plus all the good friends we have made here, so I know I will be fine. Here are some of my thoughts of spending Christmas in London.
You know it is the Christmas season in London when......
1. Every restaurant you walk by has a sign outside their door that says, "Come celebrate with us. Book now for Christmas day. Now taking reservations." Everyone must eat out on Christmas here?
2. Pret a Manger, one of my favorite soup salad sandwich restaurants here, has signs all around that say, "Be a Little Helper." If you buy their Christmas flavored sandwiches, ones with stuffing and cranberry sauce in them, then 25p of the total is donated to the homeless.
3. Starbucks has their red cups! There are Starbucks everywhere here. Literally. There are 3 that are equally close to my house. Everyone is walking around with their little red cups and drinking Christmas flavored drinks that include eggnog, gingerbread, and peppermint. Costa, another popular coffee cafe here, also has red cups that say, "Merry Costa." Clever.
4. Trafalgar Square has a huge Christmas tree up! It is gorgeous and it makes me feel a little bit merrier every time I walk by it on my way home.
5. Covent Gardens, a really cute little touristy area, has tons of Christmas things up. They also have a huge tree, a huge reindeer, huge ornaments hanging over the ceiling and decorations everywhere. It is very merry and festive I have to say.
6. Oxford Street and Regent Street, two of the most high end shopping streets have their lights up! It is gorgeous. They have the lights draped over the street, hooking end to end on the side buildings. They have lit up presents, snowflakes, sleighs, and.....umbrellas.....I don't really get the umbrellas and why that is associated with Christmas, but they are cute none the less.
7. There is Christmas music playing in all the stores and restaurants. Oh how I love Christmas music! It puts an instant smile on my face. :)
8. Hyde Park, which is a gorgeous huge park about 15 minutes away from our house, is doing a Winter Wonderland Christmas carnival. It reminds me of a county fair but Christmas style. I love going through it during a run and seeing all the fun things. They have rides too, but instead of riding in a tea pot or something, you ride in a sleigh, or on a reindeer. It is very cute.
9. Ice skating advertisements are everywhere! You can go ice skating at the London Eye, The Tower of London, Hyde Park, The Natural History Museum, seriously everywhere! I wish I was good at ice skating, but sadly, I suck at it. Last time Nate and I went at Seven Peaks in Provo, I fell so much and hook a nice big purple bruise on my knee home with me! But I wish I was good at it so I could partake in all of these fun ice skating venues.
10. Mince pies and Christmas puddings are everywhere! They are in all the grocery stores, convenience stores, cafes......they are obviously very popular here.
11. They have reindeer at the London Zoo! I went to the Zoo in October with Jean from New Hampshire and we had a lot of fun. I saw an advertisement that they are bringing in reindeer for the Christmas season that the children can pet!
12. Royal Albert Hall puts on several different Christmas concerts and performances during the whole month of December. They all look great. I haven't booked any tickets yet, but I am planning on it! They also have a play going here called, "The Snowman," that looks very cute.
13. Hamley's, one of the coolest 5 story toy stores I have ever been to, goes crazy with Christmas! They have people dressed up in elf costumes and other holiday attire, standing outside the store and welcoming customers who are walking by to come inside. It is packed in there!
14. The Post Office is super crowded. I walked in it today to mail a letter, and wow! There was a huge line. People are busily mailing their wrapped Christmas packages to loved ones and sending out their festive Christmas cards!
Happy December Everyone!