Christmas Is Coming to London: Here’s How You Know

Frosted Range Rover windscreens… fur-trimmed Canada Goose coats… cockapoos in Christmas jumpers… and another Christmas season in SW11 Between the Commons is upon us.

b9955e93-dd6e-4622-9e3d-abfed93c0096It happens fast after Halloween. First there’s Guy Fawkes Day/Bonfire Night. Remember, remember the 5th of November, gunpowder, treason, and plot. We went to Battersea Park for the fireworks and bonfire again this year, and got lucky it stopped raining in time!

After that, since there’s no Thanksgiving to look forward to, it’s pretty much time to start doing Christmas stuff. You better have started booking tickets for the big Christmas activities back in September, or by now many things you might want to do in London at Christmastime are sold out. We booked our tickets for Christmas at Kew back in JULY.

It’s the first day of December, and I have already been to three Christmas shopping fairs. E’s school had one, and I went to a charity one in a local church, and I also went with a friend to the biggest one in all of London, which was on the first full week of November: The Spirit of Christmas Fair.

Spirit of Christmas FairIt’s massive. Huge convention-center-type rooms lined with row after row of stalls selling everything you could possibly want to buy to give as Christmas gifts, or decorate with, or eat, or drink. Or something you could gift, decorate with, AND eat.

Big Ben gingerbread house at the Spirit of Christmas Fair

Then the Christmas lighting events start happening in mid-November, and the ice skating rinks pop up, along with fantastical Christmas decorations around the city. It’s beginning to look a lot like OTT-ness…

But for our family, the official start of the Christmas season here is this weekend. We had a small Thanksgiving at home with some close friends, and then on [Black] Friday our high street, Northcote Road, had its annual Christmas lighting event. Which is less about the actual Christmas lights coming on (which are really quite small and not all that noticeable), and more about getting the kids excited for Christmas.

You sort of trick-or-treat down the road to the businesses participating (mostly estate agents), where they’re handing out free goodies and gifts to the kids and offering mulled wine and mince pies to the adults. There’s a Christmas photo booth, carol singers (local school children), real reindeer and donkeys, and a crush of people around the poor man working the candy floss machine. Christmas is here.

On Sunday, Northcote Road closes to cars for the Christmas market. Stalls line the road, and some kiddie funfair rides set up at one end, and a stage at the other.

img_5011More mulled wine and mince pies.

And for us ‘mums’, allllll the school Christmas events for the ‘diary.’ And for the wallet. Nursery school nativity play, primary school Christmas concert, Christmas fair, Christmas shopping evening, urge the 6-year-old to write 30 Christmas cards for her classmates and teacher, buy a class calendar, buy the teachers a gift, buy the teaching assistants a gift, bake for the cake sale, buy from the cake sale, donate to the raffle and auction, buy raffle tickets, bid on auction items…

A friend sent me this (not sure where it originated), and it rang jingle bells of truth:

to do list

As in past years, I plan to write about all the Christmas activities in London we do this year. There are so many things to do in London at Christmastime, that it’s our fourth year here and we still have plenty more new things to experience, plus some favourites worth repeating. Happy Christmas, everyone!


One thought on “Christmas Is Coming to London: Here’s How You Know

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