The Tube was packed with brightly-wrapped boxes and tritely-sweatered bodies. I seldom see a reindeer themed pullover elsewhere, but they are endemic in London. I joined the crowds (sans sweater), in part, to dent my get-shopping list for my parents, children, and friends. But I also wanted to enjoy the Season’s trimmings on a grander scale.
Normally I bring everything out as the gluhwijn and carolling concerts arrive. The Sandbanks house was grandly decorated, and the party spirit definitely dominated Dorset. But the Christmas Ball and the Dutch Star stayed dark this year in Maastricht; the ‘living tree’ remained rooted in the frozen earth in Cambridge.
So, it was time to hunt down some Christmas. And big cities, big stores == big Christmas.
A gigantic snowglobe enveloped the fountain at Picadilly Circle, while antler lights stretched off along every street. A promising start.
Fortnum and Mason is always good,this year with a Victorian Christmas glowing from every window. Inside, the main floor was filled with lights and garland, overflowing with chocolates and candies. The food court had fare for all five traditional feasts (goose for over 80 gbp!), and lots of interesting niche foods to explore. I picked up two puddings (brandy, rum, or plum) and some preserves.
Next was Harrods, with an odd Art Deco Orient Express theme along the street. Most of the Christmas trimmings were in the Food Courts, where extravagantly priced gingerbread houses jostled with traditional meats, mince, and cakes (and goose over 100 gbp!).
Christmas should include a festive dinner and drinks, a walk in the lights, and hot chestnuts and honeyed wine from the streetside stalls.
The Santa hats outnumbered the sweaters by this time of night: not quite SantaCon, but enough to give the w_wezen and I a superior chuckle.