What a richness it has been to experience during my travels and from the people I have got to know the different ways to celebrate Christmas. The Viennese Christmas markets during my gap year in Austria, Italian traditions that I have learned from my boyfriend, the London tricks and of course the dearest memories that I will always want to preserve from Finland.
The great thing about Christmas is that you don’t need to be stuck with a certain routine or tradition and the best way of doing it is to combine all favourite aspects of Christmas. There’s no one city in Europe that has it all. If I could mix and match my favourite Christmas traditions across Europe, these are the things it would include.
London Christmas lights
Carnaby street’s Christmas lights are the quirkiest in London. This year, the streets were dressed in Rolling Stones albums. Despite the hard competition from classic Christmas lights on Bond Street, old school decorations in Covent Garden and even Harrods’ Christmas shopping windows, Carnaby Street always tops to me as a place to eagerly see during my Christmas shopping.
Venice in December
One December, just before Christmas I spent a long weekend in Venice marvelling the magic atmosphere by the canals, strolling through the main Christmas market Campo San Stefano and walking through arcade streets with beautiful Christmas lights. Christmas in Venice is far away from the commercial Christmas that is typical in most cities yet it is so serene, so full of sparkle, so beautiful. If only Christmas was this enchanting everywhere.
Viennese Christmas markets
During my gap year in Vienna I came across with the concept of Christmas markets. Sure, I had been to some Christmas markets before in Finland but never I had thought that these markets could be considered cool, places to go for a social event. In Vienna they know the art of perfect Christmas markets. Hot gluhwein, huge pretzels, lebkuchen (Christmas cookies). All done very elegantly with tons of character.
White Christmas in Finland
This is the street where my childhood home is in Finland. There is nothing else than this scenery that will put me in a great Christmas mood.
Nordic Christmas decorations
These funny-looking Santa Claus’ helpers are traditional Nordic Christmas decorations. They may not be as elegant as the crystal balls you get in Liberty’s but yet so charming.
Glogi – Scandinavian Christmas drink
Scadinavian mulled wine, glogi, is drank with raisins and almonds and of course eaten with lots of gingerbread cookies. It is the sweetest and nicest Christmas drink you can get. I popped in the Swedish Church this December to enjoy a glass.
I may be biased because I’m in love with Italian food anyway, but if I had to choose one type of food for Christmas, it would have to be Italian. Pictured panettone, Milanese sweet bread loaf, is a must for a perfect Christmas.
My perfect Christmas would be up in the mountains. Going down the slopes, as fast as possible. This picture is from my trip to the French Alps in Val D’Isere.
Italian Nativity Scene
The centre of every Italian Christmas is the nativity scene, presepe. I do love these Christmas cribs. They remind me what Christmas is really about. This picture is taken from St Peter Italian church in Clerkenwell, just down the road from me (4 Back Hill, Clerkenwell Road).
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