Believe it or not…Christmas is already around the corner. Despite Harrods and other major retailers trying to steal the festive show since early summer, there is not other ‘official’ kick off for Christmas rather than the London lighting.
- As to start the countdown for one of the most awaited moments in the year, The Oxford Street Christmas lights are among the most famous in the world, each year attracting thousands to the West End over the Christmas and New Year period. A definite highlight of Christmas in London, the lights will be switched on during the evening of Tuesday 1st November 2011 outside the Marks and Spencer’s Marble Arch store. With a programme of live music and entertainment heralding the start of the festive season at this year’s Oxford Street event, you can bask in the cheerful glow of the lights and look forward to weeks of carol singing, festive fairs and more Christmassy events around London. The lights on Oxford Street are amongst the first to be turned on, kick-starting the 2011 festive season in grand style. Toby Anstis will be introducing The Saturdays at the 2011 event, when the group sing their new Christmas single My Heart Takes Over. More live music comes from sister duo The Pierces and the stars from the hit musical Ghost. The Oxford Street Christmas lights will be switched on during the evening of Tuesday 1st November 2011, at a free event which begins at 5pm. The lights will remain lit over the New Year until 5th January 2012.
- The switching on of the St Christophers Place Christmas lights takes place on Thursday 3rd November, and sees the beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy from the English National Ballet’s Christmas production of The Nutcracker flick the switch. Stores such as Ghost, Malini and Rituals will be offering shoppers a free glass of champagne at the event, while nearby restaurants such as Carluccio’s and La Tasca are hosting wine and taster sessions. The 2011 St Christophers Place Christmas lights have been created by the acclaimed James Glancy Design, and will light up the shopping district with a fresh and contemporary display. A number of giant, reflective silver spheres will be suspended above the streets to add a festive glow to your late night shopping session in the run up to Christmas. Also, at each Thank You Thursday event, participating shops in the area are staying open until 9pm, and a number of special events are taking place, from live ballet performances to fashion showcases and free festive food. The St Christophers Place Christmas lights will be turned on at 6pm, Thursday 3rd November 2011, and remain in place until Twelfth Night.
- With real snow, a Santa’s grotto, dancing elves and all manner of seasonal entertainment, the switching on of the Chelsea Christmas lights is bound to be a highlight of the early festive season. The switching on ceremony for the 2011 Chelsea Christmas lights is bound to be a popular event, with a programme of live entertainment and fun for all ages. Activities taking place throughout the day in the run up to the turning on of the lights include a North Pole themed Santa’s grotto, dancing elves and even real snow, which starts falling from 3pm. A surprise celebrity guest will be on hand to add that essential element of glamour to the proceedings for the switching on of the Chelsea Christmas lights. There’s also free face painting and cookie decorating for kids, as well as giveaways of free candyfloss, toffee apples and popcorn from Victorian style carts on Duke of York Square. The switching on of the Chelsea Christmas lights takes place on Saturday 5th November 2011. The day of free activities takes place from 1pm, with snow falling on Duke of York Square from 3pm and the carol service at Holy Trinity Church running from 4.15pm – 4.45pm. The switch on takes place at 5.15pm. Admission to the switch on festivities is free. The lights will remain in place until Thursday 5th January 2012.