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Christmas and Childhood

by Hellibot

I remember back as a child my three brothers and I all being loaded into our slightly too small car for our annual Christmas trip to London.

My parents both worked there when they were younger, and obviously had a romantic view of Christmas – and if you get the route right you can really understand why

From our home in Kingston we'd go up through Richmond, past Harrods, Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street, Oxford Street, stopping in Covent Garden for some roasted chestnuts and to be immersed in the seasonal merriment, and then back home through Trafalgar Square to see the amazing tree the kindly Norwegians had donated and home past Westminster – criss-crossing over the bridges that just look amazing at night…

Well 30 years later and my young family seem ready for the same experience, so a couple of years ago I loaded our two children into the car, and set off for London. Unfortunately for us the parents the experience was slightly more stressful… London traffic meant that getting there took a lot longer than we'd planned, and with scaffolding around Piccadilly Circus meant that not all of the lights were on show.

Regent Street was beautiful, but as Oxford Street is no longer amenable to cars (with much more 'commercial' lighting) it wasn't quite as charming as I recall… we got stuck going up to Tower Bridge, and completely forgot to go past Trafalgar Square on the way home.

However, despite all this, the magic hasn't been lost.

The children were enthralled by the lights, and just how busy the city was (we live in Weybridge now which is positively rural in comparison), and there's very few things that help get you in the mood for Christmas than seeing London geared up for the season.

Although we couldn't go last year, we're definitely planning a trip up within the next few days, and I'm sure I'll be spirited back to my childhood as I watch London through my children's eyes.

Hellibot is a secret agent in his spare time.

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You May Not Know

Electricity was first used to light christmas trees in 1895, but candles had been used since the middle of the 17th century. In the UK christmas tree lights are are often known as fairy lights and generally don't work when you first put them up.

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