The best things about London at Christmas

Posted at 10:15 am, December 23, 2013 in Fun London
Photo: Francesco Camardo

We may have a reputation for being unhelpful, unfriendly and generally grouchy as hell, but there’s no denying that Londoners bloody love Christmas. We spend all of December braving drizzle and hypothermia at ice rinks, markets and carol singing sessions, we party until we’re so ill we have to down shots of Beechams like they’re jagerbombs, and still we find it in our hearts to get excited about fighting our way out of town on delayed public transport to give our families the presents we spent a month’s wages on. Just how do we stay so festive? Well, these things help…

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The most traditional traditions
How long has London been creating Christmas traditions? Longer than almost everywhere else, we reckon. It certainly seems that way when you realise that some of your favourite Christmas traditions (the exhibition at the Geffrye Museum, the special openings at Dennis Severs’ House, the Dickens Museum’s events, etc etc) are all celebrating stuff London was doing centuries ago.

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The Christmas lights
Some years they’re shit (remember the Harry Potter searchlights that could only be seen from the air? No? No wonder), but even when we think the aunt whose house still has dado rails could do a better job on the design, London’s Christmas lights make us grin like the cat who got the eggnog.

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Mulled wine everywhere
Do you enjoy a daytime tipple? Well merry December, because you are now allowed to start the day with spiced cider, middle it with mulled wine and pop your prosecco cork in the evening without so much as a raised eyebrow from friends, colleagues or similarly sozzled relatives. Simply nip to your nearest festive market, pop-up shop, office party or celebration lunch and get supping.

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Guilt-free shopping
London has all the shops, and right now, you can buy ALL the things! Buy them for people you know. Buy them for you and say they’re for people you know. It doesn’t matter! The fun part is the buying. And even those who hate shopping must find some joy, or at least relief, in the fact that they can ignore it until even the last day in the office, pop out on a lunch break and grab what seems like a well-planned present from the specialist socialist book store/vintage kids clothes shop/gin distillery round the corner. Amazon is a river, right?

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Winter Wonderland
It’s as commercial as the X Factor Christmas single and so full of people you’ll wonder who’s left on Oxford Street, but we love Winter Wonderland in all its trashy glory. Just don’t expect to get to anything fast, and don’t drink the mulled wine.

But why stop at five? Find out why London’s bloggers love Christmas.

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