As a show of appreciation, I present to you the Top Five things I love about Christmas in London.
5. The Christmas lights. Normally I enjoy Christmas lights, but this is different than anything I’ve ever seen. London really knows what it’s doing. Lit up stars, trees and presents are suspended in the sky in every color imaginable. Every time I turn a corner there is a new set up outdoing the previous one. My favorite has to be the blue arches which light a majestic path down one street. Not since the days of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation have I seen such an effort made. Clark Griswold would be inspired.
4. The Christmas crowds. Let me explain. I become instantly claustrophobic in crowds, especially when people are pushing and shoving their way around cramped shopping aisles. But that’s just it. Here it seems the shoppers are in no big hurry. They stop to enjoy the window displays, apologize when they bump into you and even seem to mean it. I guess other people like being in London at Christmas as much as I do.
3. Unexpected live music. As I was walking the other day, I stopped in my tracks at the sound of Christmas music… Reggae Christmas music. A seven man band (wearing Santa hats!) had set up shop right off Oxford Street and was jamming away. With the sun shining gloriously that day, it was as if I’d been transported to a Caribbean beach. The upbeat music made me want to have a dance party in the street, but I simply stood to listen for a bit. So did dozens of others. I looked around at the children on parents’ shoulders, the shoppers weighed down with bags and the businessmen on a lunch break. There was a smile on every face.
2. Pubs. No matter what time of day it is, there is a pub eager to greet you. It’s a nice break from all the walking I’ve been doing to kick back in a booth, order a drink and just people watch. I would never do that at home. Oh, and one pub had the best selection of 80s music playing. That in itself could be its own number.
And the number one thing I like about being in London for Christmas…
1. Spending Christmas in a completely different setting from home makes it easier to create new memories.