The lights in Regents Street are the most extravagant ever with illuminated winged figures called the “Spirit of Christmas” suspended over the traffic jams. In Trafalgar square the Norwegian Christmas Tree, the annual thanks from the people of Oslo for Britain’s support in WII, is the hub for carols singers raising money for a variety of charities. It is “Christmas jumper” season, brought to ignominy by the Bridget Jones movies, now a designer item in shops from Primark to Ralph Lauren. While some folks are fretting there is a mistletoe drought others are calling in the professionals to decorate their tree a la mode and festoon their fireplaces with festive garlands. As if there was not enough to eat with the medjool dates from Israel and billions of satsumas flown in from New Zealand, Peru, South Africa and Spain there are cakes galore to be made or to be ordered: the squidgy chocolate sponge Bûche de Noël with chocolate buttercream frosting or the luxurious Texan fruitcake from the wonderful Collin Street Bakery, just outside Dallas USA are UK’s favourites.
There is ice skating in the open air and a glittering funfair, named Winter Wonderland, in Hyde Park;the social round of Christmas drinks partieswith omnipresent mulled wine or champagne.
There is ice skating in the open air and a glittering funfair, named Winter Wonderland, in Hyde Park;the social round of Christmas drinks partieswith omnipresent mulled wine or champagne and the bonhomie of office parties leave the revellers a little worse for wear the following morning.There is George Osborne delighting he doesn’t have to personally sign and receive over 2,000 Christmas cards, while the savvy and practical have chosen paperless cards to send online but it is not the same as hanging them to flutter on strings all over the house.Many still have the exhausting last minute shopping for the family meals and stocking presents that have to be wrapped, all the above creates the excitement for Christmas yet all this is contrasted by our daily news from Yemen, Syria and South Sudan. This reporter’s husband believes Christmas is for making it fun for children and looking after the elderly or anyone who cannot look after themselves; the truth is a merry Christmasfor our consumer society needs money and some are just left of outof it. Still some good folks spare thoughts, time and charity for the homeless and suicidal, Christmas is the busiest time for Crisis and The Samaritans.
YouGov’s recent research shows that in UK the Christmas meal, family and friends, time off work and giving presents are the key factors in Christmas today ( giving presents was nearly twice as important than receiving presents); only 22% of the survey thought celebrating the birth of Christ was important. Nevertheless families with an ounce of religiosity weigh up the convenience of church services with the timing of roasting the turkey, midnight mass vs early morning Holy Communion (no carols) vs 11am Matins with carols. The Christmas no1 is always a hot topic, the favourite is “Rockabye” sad lyrics about a lonely protective mother by Clean Bandit in the Jamaican dancehall genre, dwarfing the exuberant James Corden’s materialistic Sainsbury’s Christmas advertisement song “The Greatest Gift for Christmas is me” or his crazy carpool karaoke with Maria Carey singing “All I want for Christmas” accompanied by Adele, Lady Gaga, Chris Martin and a host of stars.Anyone concerned that Christmas music has become too secular can be comforted that the young British popular singer-songwriter Tom Odell has recorded the carol Silent Night, choir-boy style with minimal accompaniment.