A Londoner’s guide: to Christmas
Christmas Day is celebrated in the United Kingdom on 25 December. It traditionally celebrates the Christian religion, although Christmas in the UK is a staple of English culture, which is normally celebrated by all cultures residing here. As an integrated part of the culture Christmas Day is also a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed with additional days off to enjoy the festive season.
The streets of London truly light up in the build up to Christmas, with 1000’s of LED lights and festive décor, make sure you check out some of the most popular and unique light displays in the capital.
1) Oxford Circus
This year, the area will be lit with 27 LED ‘light curtains’ which will be draped down the length of the street and made up of a total of 222,000 lights. The installations will work in unison to showcase a poem dedicated to the city of London.
2) Carnaby St.
The street will be bathed in pink neon light from a series of lightboxes running the length of the thoroughfare. Each box will have a positive word inside, to pay tribute to the strength, courage and kindness of Londoners during this difficult year.
3) Christmas at Kew
Discover a glittering tunnel of bells, giant illuminated seed heads and majestic trees wrapped in light on your way to the treetop waterfall, where beams of light interplay in a breath-taking dance of lights.
Everyone in the UK looks forward to Christmas for many reasons, but one of the things we get very excited about is the thought of all the delicious food we can eat together (without judgement)! The main Christmas meal is usually eaten at lunchtime or early afternoon on Christmas Day followed by an afternoon of exchanging gifts and happy memories. The meal is traditionally Turkey, roasted vegetables accompanied by trimmings and gravy. However, we do have specialties that emerge every year leading up to the Christmas season;
1) Mince Pies
I know what you’re thinking – but no, it is not a pie full of minced meat! Mince pies are tiny pies that are filled with fruits such as raisins, cranberries, and sultanas, as well as chopped nuts and spices such as cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg. Once they are baked, they are dusted with a little icing sugar and ready to eat – perfect with a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and a nice finish to a delicious Christmas dinner.
2) Pigs in blankets
Again, not as bad is it sounds. Pigs in blankets are another quintessentially British part of Christmas dinner! These are small sausages that are wrapped in bacon, and often surround the turkey when it is served.
3) Christmas Pudding/Cake
Christmas pudding is a dessert that is made from dried fruit and is normally served with brandy butter. It is also tradition to soak the cake with brandy and set it alight before serving. Similar to Christmas pudding, Christmas cake is made with rich, moist currants, sultanas (golden raisins) and raisins which have been soaked in rum. If a Christmas cake is covered in icing, it is quite common for it to be decorated.
From London Christmas markets and Christmas shopping in London, to ice-skating rinks and Christmas events, there are so many magical things to do in London at Christmas. Make sure you get involved in the festivities and celebrate!