In the air, there is a feeling of Christmas (yes, I am quoting “Silver Bells”). The holidays are one of the most magical times of the year, and no matter where you are, you can usually find some festive cheer. For my friends back at UNH, this means yummy holiday foods, the first snow fall, and listening to Christmas music (usually instead of studying). Over here in London, it’s not much different (except for the snow thing). While I definitely miss being home for the start of the holiday season, I have found plenty of Christmas spirit to keep me from feeling too homesick.
Because Thanksgiving isn’t really celebrated in the UK (for obvious reasons), Christmas starts much earlier than it does in the States. Londoners prescribe to the “go big or go home” theory of Christmas decorations. This is not a one string of lights and a star on a tree kind of deal. It seems like every week there is another section of London that is having a party to “turn on” Christmas lights. I recently went to one such celebration on Carnaby Street, a shopping district off of the famous Regent Street. The theme this year was the Robin, and replicas of the cute birds hung over all over the street. There was a big projection screen displaying classic Christmas music videos as well as Instagram pictures and tweets (no pun intended). Each shop in the area was also giving 20%, making it a perfect time to start your holiday shopping. Different goodies were also being handed out, including pastries and coffee. All of these decorations stay up past Christmas, so there are plenty of opportunities to view the LEGO snow globe in Covent Garden or the hanging lanterns on Oxford Street.
Another great Christmas event is the Southbank Centre Christmas Market at the London Eye. Located at the pier overlooking the Thames, there are over 80 vendors selling an array of crafts and treats. The German theme is carried throughout the market, from the stalls decorated as wooden chalets, to the traditional German food, such as Glühwein (mulled wine) and Milzwurst (sausage). One of the best things about the holidays is the array of desserts, and this market certainly delivers. Gingerbread, hot chocolate, and churros are just some of yummy options to fuel your shopping. Sanata even took time out of his busy schedule to make an appearance!
Luckily I will be able to travel home for the holidays with enough time to cram in some Christmas cheer, but I still will be missing some of my favorite holiday traditions (special shout-out to the Holiday Dinner at UNH!). I have made some great friends while studying here, and together we have had a lot of fun sharing our own traditions and making new ones. I am very excited to be going home, but until then, it is great to be in a city with so much spirit. Even though London and Durham are miles apart, the holiday season helps us remember just how small the world really is.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!