Friday, 18 November 2016

An English arrival of Christmas

It's Lindsay's first Christmas in Britain. How does she compare the festive season to the United States?

Written by Lindsay Robinson
The most wonderful time of the year is here...already? I do believe I have found my favorite thing about living in England: Christmas begins in November. In the United States I was always shamed for playing Christmas music "too early", as if that is even a possibility. It was always quite a faux pas to even mention Christmas before Thanksgiving, which always falls on the last Thursday in November. Don't get me wrong, I do think Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with family and friends, embracing each other's warmth for one day before the cold really does set in. However, there is nothing quite like Christmas in my heart; the peaceful music, the slower pace of the world, the lights glimmering in the long hours of darkness. I always wondered how one could lack excitement about the approach of such an event?

London has shown me the world that I always wished to be a part of. The day after Halloween, an apparent outbreak of string lights shone in various places around city centre. I could see the outline of angels and stars adorning lamp posts and preparing for their grand display. Events appeared in Oxford Street and Sloane Square that allowed residents and visitors to come witness the grand switch on of sparkles. Soft music from shops fills the evening and I believe that I can smell a faint aroma of pine needles in the air. Even though the clouds start drifting in and our joy of a sunnier autumn has started to fade, there is still a hopeful chapter around the corner.

Christmas in the US is also enjoyable with some of these elements. There are lights to be seen and a sprinkling of Christmas markets in the larger cities. There are family traditions and a culture built on Starbucks holiday cups and making s'mores around the fire. These are just moments that feel so fleeting when one only has three weeks to participate in them. I need some kind of reminder that the time for a year to close is around the corner and that we will all stop for a few moments in reflection. This could be spent in so many different ways, but hopefully it provides the opportunity to fully reconnect with family and friends on separate life courses. The spirit of this has already been shown here in the Christmas adverts (with most applause to John Lewis, of course) and the vast and unique concerts that will be available throughout London.

Maybe I am every marketer's dream, but I am currently consumed by any and all holiday merchandise that I can find. I dove head first into the Christmas cheer and there is no coming up any time soon. Luckily here, I am not alone and I do look forward to defining what it means to celebrate Christmas in true, British style!



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