By Carine Huurman, Erasmus University of Rotterdam, The Netherlands
It’s the middle of December. So that means that Christmas is coming up in less than ten days…
Manchester gets Christmassy and also Leeds and Birmingham seem to join the competition of making the city of making the city as convivial as possible. All sorts of European shops in cute wooden houses make the Christmas market more an international event than an English one. The chance that you will end up with Glühwein, Bratwurst or Dutch pancakes is far more higher than a traditional English pie. (I am even not sure if they sell that on the Christmas markets).
Moreover, department stores as Debenhams, Selfridges and John Lewis are worth visiting.
(John Lewis in Leeds)
It seemed that the shopowners turned their department stores into Christmas phantasy dreamlands. The customers can imagine themselves entering the world of Santa. This world means an intimate atmosphere with snow where only the thought of giving matters to the ones you’re the most attached to.
Speaking of which, at the beginning of the semester I had booked my Christmas Break flight already to Amsterdam as I don’t want to miss spending Christmas and New Year with my family and friends. Besides that, my family postponed Saint Nicolas so I can celebrate that with them as well. Saint Nicolas is almost the same principle as Santa Claus only he arrives on the 5th of December in the Netherlands.
And more important, he climbs down through the chimney and lays his presents under the tree. In my family we celebrate Santa Claus by having a family dinner and giving presents in huge boxes, together with a poem that explains the present and the box. Sadly, Saint-Nicolas is not celebrated in the UK… But on the other hand, there was the Christmas switch- on in front of the Town Hall with fireworks.
Followed by, Bonfire night, Memorial day and Thanksgiving.
And if that was not enough already, Christmas is coming up in a few days. If you don’t have the opportunity to go to a Christmas market anymore, a visit to the Trafford Centre is also worthwhile.
When you enter the building, it gives you the feeling that you are the guest of the Queen. But when you take the next few steps you enter a completely different world with Arabic architecture and Arabic names. Interestingly, the Mc Donalds is situated in the “Arabic part” of the centre. If you are fed up with both, shopping and eating, there is also the opportunity to go bowling, to play games or to gamble in a mini Las Vegas.
Besides that, Legoworld, Sea Life and an enormous M&S are also situated in the Centre. In sum, the Trafford Centre has something for everybody. With its huge fountains, modern Greek architecture and mythologic statues the consumers of the Trafford Centre enter a phantasy world.
Merry Christmas everyone!