It’s the most beautiful time of the year! This year the festive season is going to be starkly different but some traditions will still continue in London, and here are three of them that I love ticking off my list every year.
Seeing the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square
Since 1947, every year a large Christmas tree has been placed in Trafalgar Square as an annual present from Norway, in particular, the city of Oslo in recognition of the help that Britain gave to Norway during the second world war.
Norway was occupied by the Germans in 1940, forcing King Haakon VII to flee to London where he set up a government-in-exile.
The tree is a long-running thank-you from Norway. This year it will be lit up on December 3.
Street lights and decorations
Did you know that Regent Street kicked off the festive decorations tradition in the 1880s? However, it only became a regular occurrence from 1948 when the Regent Street Association (RSA — the organisation that represents the interests of the retailers, restaurants and offices in the area) decorated the street with trees.
Lights followed on Regent Street in 1954, and Oxford Street got its Christmas lights in 1959.
Now many central London streets also have their own lights, and I love visiting every year to see what they are.
Did you know that on Regent Street this year there are 45 handcrafted spirits, making up the capital’s largest light installation!
These days shops also have pretty facades and I love seeing the creativity and flair with each one!
Christmas window displays in Oxford Street
Another favourite festive tradition of mine is to walk the length of Oxford Street to see the various window displays in the department stores.
Extravagant and elaborate window displays at Christmas time have been a tradition at Selfridges since 1909, when the founder Henry Selfridge first lit the shop windows at night for passers by to see goods on sale.
This year’s display has been created using recycled materials and green electricity to lower their environmental impact.