I spent half the day working in our London office yesterday and the other half was spent walking around the city and in and out of many many shops. Christmas time in London is over the top with sights and sounds. Spectacularly lit up Christmas trees everywhere, enormous decorations spanning over the broad streets, Regents Street and Oxford Street and smaller streets as well, such as Carnaby Street (see Snowmen below). Twinkling lights of blue or white or red are strung throughout the branches of the trees in courtyards and squares. Christmas music plays to the streets from the stores. I imagine even the grumpiest of people couldn't withhold a smile from the fanfare.
But the crowds, oh the crowds. Bad idea to walk Oxford Street in December. One loses individuality completely and becomes part of a massive crowd that pulses and groans with its own movement. Walk slightly to the right or left and you disrupt the process of this massive creature formed by the walking people driven by their shopping goals, like a car accident without the sound of metal and instead the sound of Scuse me, Pardon me and loads of grumbling. (I've been on both sides of that, unfortunately.) The smaller streets are much better but still it was all enough to have me decide to stay away from London today. Today I'm taking the train to Wimbledon, only one stop away from where I'm staying. There are many cute shops along the streets, and several brasseries to choose for my lunch, and I'm blissfully on my own to wander wherever I want to place my feet.
Of the photos below, my favorite is the Santa Claus. This is one of the Christmas display windows of Selfridges on Oxford Street. Santa is standing in the tube with the doors open and fully decorated Christmas trees filling the car to his left and right. His bag of goodies has fallen before him. Spilled out from the bag are a pile of small bottles of champagne all wrapped in the Union Jack. Clever.