I really can’t express how much I love London during Christmas time. I have now been here for all four seasons (where has the time gone?!), and while spring has its blooms, summer has its sunshine, autumn has…well… I’m not sure what autumn has. But winter, winter has Christmas lights!
Here is a selection of some of my snaps during the season.
First up: Oxford Street. Oxford Street is always a tortuous experience. Dodging the masses of people, having shopping bags swung into your knee caps, the bus stops spilling over with people changing routes. It really can’t get worse. Until it is time to switch the Christmas lights on. Then, even more people crawl out of the woodwork, and it becomes a crush. I decided to go to the Christmas lighting event, a mistake I will not repeat. They are up for a month or two. Come anytime during that period, but not the first day. Better yet, come on a Sunday at 3 am, and you can gaze at them in peace and quiet to your heart’s content.
The next several photos are of streets around London decorated for the season. I love when you turn down a side street, hoping to avoid the crowds or find a shortcut, and instead, you are greeted with a beautiful display of lights. It is a small surprise, a secret, that you discovered by yourself. It is like the city is giving you a little gift.
One of my absolute favorite finds was that time I was hoping to take a shortcut through Leadenhall Market, and I discovered that they had literally decked the hall.
I also love the exceedingly elegant and restrained tree in front of Buckingham Palace.
Actually, maybe my favorite bit of Christmas cheer was that time I went to catch the Tube and they had reindeer just sitting in the middle of the station, crunching away on their carrots.
This window display was almost equally adorable.
Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the Palace of Westminster, also got all decked out.
And the most touching of Christmas decorations: the tree in Trafalgar Square. The people of Oslo have given a tree to London since 1947, and each year it is displayed in Trafalgar Square. The tree is given as a token of gratitude to London for their support during WWII, and for allowing the Norwegian government and royal family to live in exile in London during Norway’s occupation. Every year, the finest tree is selected from the forests outside of Oslo, and the so-called “Queen of the Forest” is cut down and shipped to London by sea. From there, the tree is erected in Trafalgar Square and decorated in traditional Norwegian style before being lit in a special tree-lighting ceremony by the Mayor of Oslo and the Norwegian ambassador. A picture-perfect example of getting in the Christmas spirit.