For an international city – London is unabashedly celebrating Christmas. It’s true that the Crown Rules there, and Londoner’s, whether natural born citizens, or transplants, love their Royal Family. As political as they are, and they know their politics, they appear to leave the political correctness at the border,and deck the halls, and the streets, and the salons, in full celebratory regalia.
Nary a window isn’t dressed for the season, nor do they need much more of a reason. Without a recognized day to give thanks – the boxes and bangles, branches and berries, leafy flocked goodness, and boughs filled with holly all make their way via dark dingy corners, to brighten every doorstep, every hearthstone, every foreigner. Forgive me my artist license. London Town put me into full-fledged merriment.
Far from feeling oppressed by the season, they embrace the spirit and warmth of it. They are friendly, dare I say, their typically reserved personas are brightened and lightened by this special time of year. They engage in a most American of traditions – Black Friday, taking the day off from work to make the most of the holiday sales. As I walked through the neighborhoods I was delighted to see many a Christmas Tree light up a window, and I thought – why not?
Winter can be long and dreary, holiday decorations bring joy – even the most refined of decorations could not be classified as minimalist, and I found that that made me smile too. Picnic hampers, and crystal encrusted lobsters, splits of champagne, and giant shiny baubles decorate the branches – any old thing is fair game as long as you bring a little sparkle to it.
In a city that screams poise and sophistication, this lighthearted holiday from seriousness seems right. More than right, it is a reminder that tradition and celebration are not for the simpleminded. To the contrary, they enlighten and enrich the lives of those that believe. It inspires, feels hopeful, and happy. Who among us couldn’t use a little of that.
Whatever holiday you celebrate – let it be Merry.