We take a look at GlobaLexicon’s different locations and how they get into the yuletide spirit.
If the snow that caused disruption all over the UK earlier this month wasn’t enough of a clue, the fact that there are 4 days until Christmas Day certainly is; the festive season is well and truly upon us. In the spirit of Cancer Research UK’s Winter Run, read as we zip among GlobaLexicon’s locations and discover how the different cities celebrate this magical time of year.
The Oxford Street lights are up, Wham!’s Last Christmas plays in nearly every shop and the gigantic Christmas tree, donated annually by the city of Oslo, Norway, stands proud in Trafalgar Square. City workers, dwellers and tourists alike can be found strewn across the city’s vast array of cosy, traditional pubs, clutching mulled cider/wine and patting a belly full of roast. You can try your hand at ice skating outside the Natural History Museum or Somerset House, marvel at the beautiful lights of Kew Gardens, or even dare to join last-minute shoppers in Covent Garden, dwarfed by the enormous mistletoe decorations that hang above. Just be careful not to catch anyone’s eye when standing directly underneath…
At this time of year, Antwerp boasts the ever-growing Christmas market in the city centre, where numerous fires keep you warm on the outside while the sweet traditional Jenever liquor (found in a variety of flavours from lemon to cactus!) will warm you up on the inside. The city also participates in Music For Life, an event organised by the radio station Studio Brussel, when people come together to sponsor many charity organisations through a range of activities, such as buying songs to be played on air or participating in running events. After all, Christmas is a time for giving!
Walking through Seville this December, and until 6th January when the Three Wise Men arrive, it’s highly likely that you’ll happen upon the fantastic Christmas lights that sprawl across more than 200 streets. Five larger-than-life baubles illuminate the Plaza de San Francisco playing Christmas music as you pass through and tall tree-shaped light structures tower over passers-by in Plaza de Cuba and Puerta de Jerez. Look out for the nativity scenes of the Feria del Belen, a popular Spanish tradition where families, friends and co-workers design and buy various nativity characters and compete for the best display!
Being the second-largest Bavarian city, Nuremberg knows how to do Christmas. The world famous Christkindlesmarkt, set up in the Old Town and bursting with over 400 years of history, is a festive-flavoured extravaganza of Glühwein (added rum or amaretto optional), Lebkuchen (gingerbread), and Drei im Weckla (three small bratwursts in a bread roll). If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, opt for the Feuerzangenbowle, which is essentially a rum-fuelled mulled wine with the additional excitement of setting sugar on fire above the pot! Bavarian residents get their presents from the Christkindl, portrayed as a female angel with long blonde hair, who opens the market in a grand ceremony popular with tourists from all over. Unrivalled in its atmosphere and steeped in tradition, this Christmas Market is the place to be if you’re looking to get swept away by the holiday spirit.
The city of Lyon is perhaps best recognised in the winter for its Fête des Lumières (Festival of Lights), a tradition dating from 1852 where inhabitants place candles by the windows and spectacular installations spring up across the districts over a period of four days, peaking on December 8th. Drawing a crowd of 3 to 4 million each year and designers from all over, this fantastic light show uses visual and audio effects to transform the city into a colourful explosion of festive beauty. A must-see!
Crossing the proverbial pond, the Christmas spirit can also be found in Chicago in the elaborate Christmas windows of Marshall Field’s that have been lavishly decorated for the yuletide period for well over a century and in the German-inspired Christkindlmarket which produces a hotly-anticipated Glühwein mug each year. Lincoln Park Zoo hosts its annual ‘ZooLights’, a winter wonderland of over 2.5 million lights in the form of animals and other season-themed features, complete with ice-carving demonstrations, dancing trees, musical light shows and 3D enhancement. Similar to Antwerp, Chicago has its very own warming beverage named ‘Malört’, although with reviews ranging from ‘pencil shavings and heartbreak’ to ‘anguish and regret’, you’d be forgiven for opting for a hot cocoa instead.
To quote a popular yuletide film, Christmas is all around, and with it the chance to get into the yuletide spirit! So instead of cowering from the cold, it’s clear we all have plenty of festive fun to be getting on with.
Did you enjoy running around the globe for Christmas celebrations? Don’t break your pace: a number of GlobaLexicon colleagues will be tackling the London Winter Run for charity in the new year (details here: https://www.justgiving.com/companyteams/GlobaLexicon-Winter-Run-2018 and on http://www.londonwinterrun.co.uk/) – keep an eye out for more updates on our progress.
A big thank you to all the GlobaLexicon team members that provided their input!