Countdown to Christmas: Tick List

I asked myself, what are the things that really make it start to feel a lot like Christmas?

Bright lights and sparkly decor are of course the most iconic visual elements of Christmas and nowhere does Christmas bedazzle better than Oxford Street. Every year the turning on of the lights is an event attended by the masses, with a household name in tow to add a touch of showbiz. This year, on 7th November, Rita Ora was joined by X Factor winner Matt Terry and Love Island favourite Montana Brown, to turn on a huge total of 750,000 LED lights, which are adorned by 1778 decorations. Partnered with NSPCC and Sky Cinema the theme this year is Light up Christmas for Children, raising money for the charity Childline.

In addition to the classic lights and sky decorations, the shops on either side of he street play a key part in creating those Christmas feels. Some window displays worthy of a mention include John Lewis and Selfridges, images of which I shall treat you to below.


Christmas adverts are a huge talking point with the top retailers battling it out to be dubbed the favourite. Everyone has their own preference, although John Lewis seems to be the most eagerly awaited. Perhaps this year a surprise underdog will seize their moment. The highlights for me so far this year are:

Marks and Spencer – you can’t not love Paddington, his clumsy ways and marmalade sandwiches. Although I must question what on earth M&S’s Santa is wearing on his head.

Debenhams – I’m a sucker for a good old love story and really like this modern-day twist on the classic fairytale Cinderella.

John Lewis – whilst some people are slightly disappointed in this year’s advert claiming that it’s rather lacking in emotion, I have a soft spot for Moz the Monster.

The hugely iconic Coca Cola truck marks the dawn of Christmas for many. With that traditional advert and jingle having played for many years, the truck actually now tours the UK. This year it is stopping at 42 destinations! To find out when it will be pulling up near you, have a look here:

There are lots of lovely things you can do to get in the spirit of Christmas. A personal favourite is ice-skating. Although sometimes I spend more time horizontal than upright, it’s always a good laugh (even if that comes in the form of friends laughing at you…). Growing up I loved making a visit to Santa’s grotto, whether it be at your local shopping centre or the Christmas school fair, it’s a must do for all little ones, or even the “big kids” among us! Perhaps if you fancy something a little more along the lines of retail therapy, you could find your nearest Christmas market and have a wander of the stalls (with a glass of mulled wine in your hand of course!)  I went to one near Southbank just the other day (of which you can see a photo of below). And in those closing countdown days make sure you get that Christmas tree up and decorated. For me this activity is most definitely a sign that the special day is nearing and hey, the house could always do with a sprinkling of tinsel!

Each year a new and some might say, alternative, advent calendar takes to the shelves in time for the countdown to Christmas. Quite frankly I adore a classic chocolate calendar and my absolute favourite is the simple yet scrumptious Maltesers one. For those of you feeling a little less chocolatey, maybe one of these unconventional advent calendars will take your fancy …

And last BUT certainly not least on my countdown to Christmas tick list…(dun dun dun)… Christmas songs! With an abundance of magical music now available to make our ears happy and whilst some of us play them all year round (each to their own…), the play of your first Christmas song is a moment to be marked (preferably with a glass of mulled wine to hand).

So, here’s just a very select few of my favourite Christmas tunes to get you started on creating the perfect festive playlist…

Ps: just a note on Christmas shopping – something which is sure to bring so much joy and yet is always just a tad stressful. We all know that someone who has already got their presents sorted (yes, a whole month in advance), but just a little note for those of you who haven’t quite fulfilled the role of Santa just yet… DO NOT WORRY… YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!

Pps: Happy Christmas Countdown-ing lovely people.

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