A Merry Xmas to our readers.
It is grey, cold and wet here in London. I was in the centre the other day, and it was full of foreign tourists desperately looking for something to do, the usual drunks and beggars, and most people being impatient, rude or aggresive.
Ah, peace on Earth etc…
Members of my close family go out for their Xmas dinner, either to a pub or a hotel. In fact, a lot of people do. I am sure they have good reasons, and it’s always nice to get someone else to cook food for you so you can drink and socialise. As a single person, I stay at home.
I often ask my family, did you have a nice dinner. The answer is always some variation of:
- food was ok but not up to home standards
- atmosphere was a bit cold/off/odd
- they wanted us out as soon as possible
in other words, not great.
I am sure the places they go to produce a decent meal, though the prices can be high. I am sure some actually roast turkey, but I can believe that many others simply buy in ready prepared food. After all, it’s cheaper, easier and more likely to give consistent results.
Unless the place you are visiting is local, someone has to drive, and therefore not drink, or you need to book a taxi at a high price.
And of course they want you out promptly. Yes, they are taking in plenty of money, but if you’re sitting round chatting and not spending, they will want you out, either to let their staff go or for their own family dinner.
After a lot of years, you would think that people who like to eat out at Xmas would know what to expect.
It is Christmas in London. Yawn.
If you are coming to London for an Xmas holiday, here are a few facts to help you:
- we rarely get snow, but it can be cold and windy, and rainy. Transport can be affected badly, so, if you are planning expeditions and have a timetable, allow extra time, just in case. There are plenty of apps and websites that keep you up-to-date with travel disruptions. Christmas is a time for major rail works too. Taxis and other alternatives can be more expensive on Christmas Day
- most shops are open the day after Xmas Day, that is Boxing Day. Travel will be mostly working, but with an infrequent service
- theatres tend to be quiet over the holiday period, so look for bargains, but make sure the main cast are appearing
- sales start immediately after Christmas Day in many big stores
- there will be places open for eating food on Christmas Day, if you need them, but make sure you book to avoid disappointment, and hunger
- the begging fraternity seem to be out in force at this time
- be extra careful of your possessions and beware of thieves, especially at tourist traps like Covent Garden
- if you are staying in a hotel and staff are working on Christmas Day, give them a tip. If you visit someone’s house, a small gift is appropriate
- avoid Trafalgar Square and the river at New Year’s Eve, unless you really like crowds
- ’tis the season to be jolly, but Christmas tv is poor compared to the good old days…
Here we are in mid-October. Christmas approaches. Christmas films have been on tv since about June. The shopping channels have been having Xmas in June since March. Restaurants have been taking booking since the summer, and are now saying they are sold out. Food delivery companies are warning that there are only a few delivery slots available. By Boxing Day it will all be over, the shops will be open, sales will be on.
I m not a religious person at all, and the connection between this December holiday and religion is not clear really. What annoys me that, within a few years, it will be Christmas, or preparation for Christmas, all through the year.
I appreciate it’s good marketing, improves the sales, but it is very annoying. When I was little, shops closed on Christmas Eve and re-opened after the New Year. For a family, you had to get food in for an awful long time. There were two tv channels to watch, people came round to our house and drank beer, days were gloomy and everyone hated their presents.
Ah, happy days.