The following is an excerpt from RAPHAEL KADUSHIN | December 10, 2015 | WSJ.com |
IN LATE NOVEMBER London suddenly forgets about being hip and switches on its holiday lights.
Neon snowflakes hang over Jermyn Street, chandeliers of bulbs bob from the trees in Sloane Square, and even the narrowest back-alleys string up a strand or two of fairy-lights. Few cities put on a better seasonal show than the one that helped define our notions of a classic Christmas. How to relish it? Devote at least one day to the holiday party that pedigreed, tradition-happy London—more tweedy than tattooed—knows how to stage, complete with all the throwback trimmings.
Start the marathon with some Christmas shopping at Fortnum & Mason department store, famous for its whimsical Christmas windows. This year, they feature gilded owls, fawns and lions roaming through a forest of toy soldiers and bulging presents. Inside, you can roam though your own forest of only-in-England finds, served by clerks decked out in yule-red waistcoats. The food hall’s Christmas haul includes mince pies, rose creams, spotted dick puddings and Buck’s Fizz Marmalade, which sounds like something Jeeves might concoct for Bertie Wooster (181 Piccadilly, fortnumandmason.com). You’ll find both Jeeves and his creator next door at Hatchards, a bibliophile’s dream of a bookstore, where two long bookcases are devoted to works by P.G. Wodehouse, and another two to first editions (187 Piccadilly, hatchards.co.uk).
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