My Guide To Avoiding Christmas In London
Not everyone can force themselves to be happy at Christmas
Christmas sucks. Not only that, but it seems to be creeping a little bit further back in the calendar each year. Here’s where to avoid it if it’s not for you.
Lots of takeaways do (mistakenly) embrace the Christmas spirit, but many of them have no interest in it at all. Two pieces of chicken and some dodgy chips are exactly the same no matter what month of the year it is. The same goes for battered cod.
Look To Other Religions
We don’t want to point out the obvious, but you’re unlikely to find a Christmas tree at your local mosque. There’s no mistletoe to snog under at the synagogue. You won’t hear any carols at a Sikh temple. It may seem obvious, but a lot of the attendees at these places of worship think like you and have little regard for Christmas — though probably for different reasons.
If you don’t want to take up another religion for just one month of the year (religion, after all, is for life, not just for Christmas), allow me to recommend a less-strings attached route: eat some warming food from the Hare Krishna-run restaurant Govinda’s.
Watch (Part of) The Grinch or A Christmas Carol
There are plenty of Christmas screenings all over the city throughout December. The Grinch is a film that regularly gets rolled out each year, along with a ridiculous number of adaptations of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Here’s a piece of radical advice: go see them.
No, I haven’t lost my mind. Just before the start of the third act, when the moral starts to kick in and the protagonist starts to realise the wonders of Christmas blah blah blah… walk out. Go home and write your own, far superior, ending to the film. One where the Scrooge/the Grinch ruin for Christmas for all. Beautiful.
Take London’s Backstreets
Main roads are a no-go zone in December, and, increasingly, November. The blinding and usually tacky Christmas lights are everywhere. So the best way to get around is by sticking to London’s backstreets. They’re less likely to have luminous trees clinging to each lamppost.
Admittedly if you take a lot of residential roads, you’re likely to run into a few homeowners who’ve taken the Christmas decorations a little too far. This is an issue but at least these are private individuals. If they’re really bugging you, just carry around a pack of eggs wherever you go.
Wait… hear me out on this one. Karaoke bar Lucky Voice is designating a special karaoke booth in each of its venues as a Christmas-free zone. Yes we know this reeks of PR stunt, but dammit, Christmas in London is so hard to avoid, we’ll take whatever we can get.
So, in short, there’s no need to give up on nightlife. Pay no attention the sounds of Slade emanating from every other booth, and sing Cry Me A River on your lonesome to your heart’s content.
Your Own Home
When all else fails, there’s nothing like the comfort of your own room to sit and hate on all those revellers outside. You’re safe from the outside world here. Switch on Netflix – normal telly is unsafe due to the gargantuan amount of Christmas programming/advertising – and turn a blind eye to the rest of the world outside. Ignorance is bliss.
If, like me, you are comfortable with your own company then maybe you’ll be happy sitting in silence. However, if you need some background noise then the TV or radio would usually be something to avoid. I’d recommend LBC (97.3 on FM but also on DAB), formally London Broadcasting Company but these days calls itself Leading Britain’s Conversation because it is a speech based radio station.
Every Christmas they usually have callers, much like ourselves, who are either alone or have opted out of Christmas. There is no music whatsoever but you might get the odd person wishing the presenter a Happy Christmas. Some things can’t be totally avoided.