Presently December 2021 | Winter Sparkle, Christmas & Auld Lang Syne

Presently December 2021 | Winter Sparkle, Christmas & Auld Land & Syne

I love the wrapping up of gifts till midnight, filling up Christmas stockings with little gems, indulging in hot chocolate and spiced cookies amidst a background of Christmas songs. Children delight in the magic that December brings. December is the month for Christmas movies, carolling and pantos. Time of celebrations, that brings family and friends together, a time of giving. A time for re-uniting old friends who gather around a fire, sharing tales of old over Bailey’s and ice!

As December is very much associated with Christmas, much of the month’s traditions and festivals are related to this special day in Christian calendar.

Let’s take a look at what Presently December has in store for you …

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Welcome to December e-column

About the month of December

With winter solstice officially on December 21, the month marks the beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and in the Southern Hemisphere, it is the time for blue skies and summer sunshine!

For most, winter means it is the time of rain, wind and snow but the icy serenade also brings out the warmth within. The purity of snow, ringing in our merriment, inviting our feet to play and the spirit to laugh. The winter wind, and the brilliant rays brings uniqueness and excitement. Sunshine and cold. Sparkle and ice. Though cold, it feels warm even when the north wind bites.

I remain cozy within a woollen hat, snuggly scarf, and cosy footsies. Of course, there are days when I stay under the warmth of a duvet, fingers wrapped around a mug of hot chocolate. Yet, there are days, when winter takes my hand, and leads me to appreciate its beauty, allowing for quiet poetry to form in my soul. It is but the dawn of spring where flowers will soon blossom.

So, while winter is here in this December month, Presently December takes a brief look at the origins of this special month, the customs and traditions at Christmas along with December’s birthstone, flowers and lores.

Origins of December

December is the twelfth and the last month of the year in Julian and Gregorian calendars but it was originally the tenth month in the Roman calendar (until 153 BC). It’s name comes from the Latin word, “decem” which means “ten.”

For the Anglo-Saxons, the month was “winter monath” or “Yule monath” because of the tradition of burning the yule log around this time. When the Anglo-Saxons embraced Christianity, they called the month “Heligh monath” or holy month because the birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated in December.

December 25 marks the mass of Christ, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago.

As such, a lot of the month’s traditions relates to Christmas. December begins with the season of Advent, a time to prepare for the Christmas feast.

Festivals, Celebrations and Traditions in December

November 28 – December 24: Advent

The word “advent” means coming and it refers to the coming of or the birth of Jesus Christ. The tradition of Advent began in the 1800s.

Advent is the four weeks leading up to Christmas, and covers four Sundays. The four Sundays usually begins with the Sunday closest to the end of November and the period of Advent goes right through to December 24.

The Advent Wreath and Candles

The Advent wreath is a circle of evergreen laid flat to symbolise to Christians of God’s eternity and endless mercy which has no beginning or end. The green of the wreath symbolises hope that Christians have in God. Hope of renewal and hope of eternal life. In it, four candles plus one is placed.

The advent candles represents to Christians the light of God, coming to the world through the birth of His son, Jesus Christ. During each of the four Sundays before Christmas, it is customary to light a candle to embrace the journey of the Christmas story, and the last one, which represents Christ, is lit on Christmas Day.

The four traditional Advent theme for the candles are:

1 | The Candle of Hope – God’s people. Christians celebrate the hope we have in Jesus Christ;

2 | The Candle of Peace – The Old Testament Prophets. Christians celebrate the peace we find in Jesus Christ;

3 | Candle of Love – John the Baptist. Christians celebrate the love we have in Jesus Christ;

4 | The Candle of Joy – Mary the Mother of Jesus. Christians celebrate the joy we find in Jesus.

The 5th candle is a symbol of the birth of Jesus Christ. As Christians light this candle on Christmas Day, it reminds us that Christ is the light of the world, and if we follow him, we will have the true light of life.

December 6 — St Nicholas Day

St Nicholas is the patron saint of children. In European countries such as the Netherlands, St Nicholas bring sweets and presents to fill stockings of well behaved children. This tradition evolved to Santa Claus in the USA and Father Christmas in the UK with gift giving rounds performed later in the month.

December 17 — Lord of Misrule

The festival of Saturnalia has its origins in ancient Roman times. This was celebrated in honour of the god of agriculture and was a day event. It eventually grew to be a 7-day feasting and merrymaking beginning December 17, blending into Christmas, and Twelfth Night.

During this festival, the slaves enjoyed a holiday. They received presents, allowed to wear informal clothes, and permitted to play gambling games. They were waited on by their masters for the duration of the festival. It then became customary to appoint a ‘master’ to oversee the celebrations. In England, this character appeared as the Lord of Misrule, who presided over the entire period, sometimes beginning from Halloween (October 31) to Candlemas (February 2).

December 21 — The Winter Solstice (1st day of Winter)

The Northern Hemisphere welcomes winter officially on or near December 21.

The celebration of Winter Solstice, also known as Yule, is one of the oldest celebrations in the world. Celebrated by the pagans, they welcome the longest night, and the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. On this day, the North Pole is at its furthest point from the sun.

There are two Winter Solstice traditions worth knowing:

1 | Mistletoe and the Oak Tree

The mistletoe and the mighty oak tree are both symbolic at winter solstice. Oaks were regarded as sacred and the winter fruit of the mistletoe that grew on them were regarded as a symbol of life during the dark wintry months. The Celtic priests would cut the mistletoe that grew on the oak tree and offer it as blessings.

2 | The Yule Log

The Druids also started a tradition with the Yule log. They thought that the sun stood still for 12 days during winter. During this time, they would lit the yule log, to conquer the darkness and to banish all evil, so good luck will come in the next year.

December 31 — New Year’s Eve

As it is the last day of the year, many sees the year out with celebrations and welcoming the new year with parties, singing, dancing, fireworks, champagne and good wishes. As the clock strikes midnight, people link their arms with each other and sing “Auld Lang Syne” — a song that reminds them of old and new friends.

Auld Lang Syne is from an old Scottish dialect and is translated to mean as “times gone by.” The song is associated with Robert Burns and is believed to be written in 1700s.

It is customary to stay up late to see the year out. There is also the tradition to open the primary door of the house at the last stroke of midnight to allow the old year out and the new year in.

Superstitions and Lores of December

December Superstitions

“The child born on Christmas Day will have a special fortune”

“Wearing new shoes on Christmas day will bring bad luck”

“Good luck will come to the home where a fire is kept burning throughout the Christmas season”

December weather lores and sayings

“A clear star-filled sky on Christmas Eve will bring good crops in the summer”

“Snow on Christmas means Easter will be green”

“If Christmas day be bright and clear;
There’ll be two winters in the year.”


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December Quotes

Enjoy December moments with these beautiful quotes:

“Remember This December, That love weighs more than gold.” — Josephine Daskam Bacon

“December’s wintery breath is already clouding the pond, frosting the pane, obscuring summer’s memory….” — John Geddes

“There’s something super special about December.” — Charmaine J. Forde


December birthstone

The gemstone for December is Turquoise. It is regarded a love charm, symbol of good fortune and success. It is believed to bestow the wearer a relaxed mind, calm, and balanced mind as well as protection from harm.

Turquoise is opaque with a blue-green colour. Bluer stones are considered more valuable.

Zircon and Tanzanite are also considered to be December birthstones.

December birth flower

December’s flowers are the Holly and the Narcissus, both symbolising Hope.

The Holly is a symbol for domestic happiness, representing luck, fertility and truth.

December plant

A popular plant at Christmas brighten-up any room! December plant is the Poinsettia. Also known as the Christmas Star, the Aztecs believed it to be a symbol of purity. It represents good cheer, success and celebration also.

All about Christmas …

If you are Christmas crazy as I am, you may enjoy these posts:

Christmas highlights in London | Timeless Travel Steps | Timeless Travel Culture History
32 best Christmas song lyrics for festive Instagram posts
75 Christmas Captions & Puns to Grow Instagram during the holiday season
42 Christmas movie captions
Best Christmas Lights in London
London's Christmas Lights | An Unmissable Festive Cheer
quirky things to do at Christmas
Christmas markets in London

What to look forward to from TTS

I shall be catching-up with friends I hadn’t caught-up with since two Christmas’ ago (we all know what happened last Chrsitmas!) and doing all the things I usually do at Christmas – shopping, movies, baking, planning, my yummy Christmas cake, red wine, Baileys & ice, maybe some port, reading and just chill!

I very much look forward to 2022 and am excited what it may hold for TTS as it goes/grows from strength to strength which would not be possible without your support. I am grateful for the time each of you take to read, to comment, to get in touch and share my stories with family, friends and on social media. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL THAT YOU DO TO SUPPORT TIMELESS TRAVEL STEPS and I.

TTS returns with new publication in January. Stay tuned.


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Finally …

While I love all things Christmas, and as a Christian, I am thankful for a blessed year. I am also mindful that 2021 has not been a ‘good’ year for many, challenging normalcy as we know it.

Some of us have lost loved ones, and Christmas will not be the same without them. Losses comes in many forms, not just in the passing of our dearly beloved, but also separation and break-ups. While missing someone we love is one of the hardest emotions to overcome, we must take the time we need to heal our sorrow. Take all the time we need, there is no need to hurry. We are, our “best friend” we could count on. Slowly, and surely we press on with courage, for whatever the future holds, we must trust, believe, move forwards and upwards, knowing that we are not alone and are watched over from above.

As we look to the new year, hold on to what is good. Treasure those beautiful memories. Let go of what is bad. Embrace travel — it always has answers even in silence.

We will be okay.

Georgina xoxo


Wishing ALL our family, friends, patrons, supporters and readers a “Very Special & Merry Christmas 2021” and if you do not celebrate Christmas, enjoy the “Very best of Winter Holidays with family & friends.” Have an awesome New Year’s Eve, wherever you are on our beautiful Earth.

TTS Team


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presently DEcember 2021
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presently December 2021

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Winter tales, celebrations and Auld Lang Syne - Find out what the month of December is all about via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/Winter tales, celebrations and Auld Lang Syne - Find out what the month of December is all about via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/

Christmas in London — Magical Markets, Dazzling lights and Fairytale Ice Rink

Christmas in London- Magical Markets, Dazzling lights and Fairytale Ice Rink

Christmas in London is special, magical and for me, it is the most wonderful time of the year. It is the time of year where Christmas Markets pop up with the best and unique gift ideas for your loved ones, the aroma of spiced infused mulled wine beckons you to try even if you do not want to! The mince pies and roasted chestnuts have their special appeal too. Streets of London glow with more lights than usual that it almost seems like walking through a magical fairyland.

Added to this, the festive vibes that comes along with ice skating rinks accompanied by Christmas songs and hot chocolate with marshmallow topped. Without a doubt, you will also find some of the best decorated Christmas trees in London. There is no place more magical than London.

If you are looking for some festive fun and cheer this year at Christmas, come over to London and experience Christmas in London. London will not disappoint. Here is a list of places you can visit during this festive season.

Christmas in London

Christmas in London | Magical Christmas Markets

1 | Christmas Markets at London’s Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, London. November 19th 2021- January 3rd 2022 [Opens 10.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. daily except Christmas Day]

One of the biggest Christmas Markets in London is Winter Wonderland although it is more like the biggest fun fair in London at Christmas!. It draws thousands of visitors, both near and far for an experience of the largest outdoor ice rink, festive food stalls and the many different rides, roller coasters and ferris wheel. There is an IceBar that serves unique festive cocktails,. The one attraction which I would highly recommend is the Santa Land, an enchanting experience for both young and old. Don’t forget to walk around the stalls for some beautiful handcrafted gifts.

Entry is FREE but attractions and activities are not. For some attractions, prior booking is recommended.

For more information on Winter Wonderland, check their official website here.

2 | Leicester Square Christmas Market

Leicester Square Christmas Market, London: November 12, 2021 to January 3, 2022 [Opens: 12.00 p.m – 10.00 p.m Mon – Fri
10.00 a.m – 10.00 p.m Sat-Sun

The Leicester Square Christmas Market is very much in the heart of London, in theatre land and just a stone’s throw from China Town. It is in the most vibrant part of the City of London. This market is rather small compared to Winter Wonderland but the festive vibes are very present. You will find plenty of food stalls, handcrafted bespoke gifts stalls, festive ornaments and variety shows. In fact, I feel more “at home” here because it has more of a traditional feel than any of the other Christmas Markets in London. The stalls are authentic Bavarian-style wooden huts and this, for me adds to the warmth of the Christmas cheer.

Entrance is FREE. Santa’s Grotto is £11.50 (2020) and the Cabaret Shows are ticketed. For more information on Leicester Square Christmas Market, check their official website here.

3 | Covent Garden Christmas Markets

Covent Garden Christmas Markets, London. November 9, 2021 to January 3, 2022.

Covent Garden is one of the most popular shopping destinations in London at anytime of the year. It is unique because it is one place where you will find highend fashion names alongside market traders, all offering a very special shopping experience. Over 200 stores and each offer their own speciality. There is a wide range of unique handmade crafts and goods, from jewellery and prints to watercolours, soaps and sweet treats – all presenting a perfect opportunity to shop under one roof for that special gift at Christmas for your friends and family.

Christmas is especially beautiful at the Apple Market (don’t forget to look up) when the Christmas decorations go up. With large silver baubles and mistletoe along with carol singing and aroma of food, Covent Garden exudes unbeatable festive vibes making it a magical haven and an instagrammable hotspot! For more information on Covent Garden, check their official website here.

Recommended tour: Christmas in London Walking Tour

Recommended read: Learn more about Greenwich Market and the beautiful town of Greenwich in Greenwich – 45 Experiences and more in 1 Day


Christmas in London – Dazzling Christmas Lights Display

Experience the magic of Christmas in London and be dazzled by some of the amazing Christmas Lights Display which will have you in awe. The lights display are a must-see event and the following should top any list.

1 | Oxford Street Christmas Lights Display, London

Christmas is definitely here in London when you are in Oxford Street. You will be amazed at the seasonal window displays lining up the infamous shopping street in the world.

The lights at Oxford Street are spectacular. The display features LED light curtains, made up of sparkling lights draped over the length of the shopping street. The Street is lit up until early January, be sure not to miss it.

Recommended read: London’s Christmas Lights | An Unmissable Festive Cheer

2 | Carnaby Street Christmas Lights Display | Christmas in London

Carnaby Street Christmas lights display is unique each year, displaying a message that is current and close to the hearts and minds of people.

In 2019, it was a quirky underwater theme. Carnaby teamed-up with ocean conservation charity Project 0 for this sustainable display. The display featured bubble-blowing whale, glittering underwater creatures such as giant clusters of jellyfish and 200 illuminated vampire squid – all made using recycled and reusable materials.

In 2020, Carnaby teamed up with Choose Love to bring a message of Love & Unity, brightening up the fashionable street with uplifting messages in pink neon lights.

Yet another display of neon lights comes to Carnaby in 2021. This time it is in the form of over 600 fluttering butterflies representing transformation, change and hope.

Christmas lights at Carnaby in 2021 is scheduled for November 4.

3 | Regent Street / Piccadilly Christmas Lights Display, London

The glorious and amazing golden angels over Regent Street

London's Christmas Lights

…adding that glittering sparkle to our festive shopping.

This is one street in London that must be visited to experience the magical Christmas that is often associated with London.

Pro tip: Best to visit later in the evening after shopping hours when it is less crowded. Between 9 p.m. and midnight is ideal.

Recommended tour: Christmas in London | Christmas Lights Bus Tour


Recommended read on Christmas Lights in London:

Best Christmas Lights in London
London's Christmas Lights | An Unmissable Festive Cheer

London’s Fabulous Ice Skating Rinks at Christmas

The festive season not only brings magical markets and dazzling lights into play but also some of London’s finest ice-skating rinks bounce into business. Ice skating is one of London’s winter traditions. Not everyone is Torville and Dean, and you don’t have to know how to slide and glide. You can get your skates on and inch your way on the handrail at one of these fabulous ice skating rinks in London that has the loveliest of backdrops I have seen. It all comes together with the music, the dazzling lights and round and round the Christmas tree. Here are two of the best Ice Rinks for an unmissable Christmas in London experience.

1 | Somerset House Ice Rink | Christmas in London

This is the most iconic of London’s ice rink and comes complete with a 40ft Christmas tree, specially curated decorations, delicious food and drink along with contemporary music. A spectacular experience for everyone when celebrating Christmas in London.

Somerset House Ice Rink. Strand, WC2R 1LA. Nearest station: Temple. [Open from November 17, 2021 to January 16, 2022]. Adult tickets start from £11.00

2 | London’s Natural History Museum at Christmas

The Ice Rink at the Natural History Museum is one of the most enchanting of ice rinks in London. There is a 30ft tree, beautifully decorated with dazzling twinkling lights right in the centre. Benugo’s Cafe serves up hot chocolate, cream teas, prosecco and cake. There is a viewing platform providing a glimpse of all the sparkling action below.

2021 is the FINAL year of the ice rink at Natural History Museum. If you haven’t experienced it, get your skates on!

Natural History Museum, London. Cromwell Road, Kensington, SW7 5BD. Nearest station: South Kensington. [Open from 11:00 a.m – 10:00 p.m. | October 22, 2021 to January 16, 2022 . Adult tickets start from £12.65; Children £8.80

3 | Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink


More on Christmas

Christmas in London
Christmas markets in London

Finally …

Have you visited London at Christmas? Share your experiences and you may inspire other readers. If you haven’t, was this post valuable to you in planning your visits to London during the Christmas festive season? If so, please let me know in comments below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Recommendations for timeless experiences

For incredible and timeless travel experiences in London, I would highly recommend joining a tour. You will be guided to experience the best highlights as well as some of the hidden gems accompanied by the many tales of Christmas. Here is a list of all the magical experiences to get into:

1 | London Christmas Lights bus tour

2 | London Christmas Walking Tour

3 | London by Night Sightseeing on the Open-Top bus tour

4 | Afternoon Tea Bus Tour in London

5 | Christmas Lights tour in a London’s Black Cab

6 | London Christmas Lights Bike Tour

More timeless experiences…

7 | London’s Festive Sights and Christmas Lights

8 | Personal Travel and Photographer in London

9 | River Thames City Highlights Cruise

10 | London Vintage Bus, Thames Cruise and Fish & Chips at a Traditional London Pub

No Christmas is complete without a visit to the extraordinary magical scene of Harry Potter, especially so for Harry Potter fans:

11 | Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio Tour & Transfers

12 | Harry Potter Guided Walking Tour in London


Recommended read: 7 Key benefits of the London Pass


From a personal point, I recommend suppliers and brands that I personally use and am happy with. These recommendations are shared to enhance your experiences when travelling. If you find the articles valuable and recommendations helpful, use the links embedded to book your accommodations and activities. I earn a commission from qualified bookings at no cost to you at all. Your support helps to keep the blog going, and as always I appreciate your continued support.

Have an awesome time this Christmas

Georgina xx

Updated October 27, 2021

Timeless Christmas in London

Travelling to London



Places to Stay in London




Please check with event organisers directly via links provided for opening times, prices and ways to book your time slot. This article was initially published in December 2019 and last updated on October 27, 2021. Whatever you do, always have fun and enjoy Christmas in London.


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Christmas in London — Magical Markets, Dazzling lights and Fairytale Ice Rink first published at timelesstravelsteps.com Last update October 20, 2021

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An easy guide to the best magical markets, dazzling lights and fairytale ice rinks. 

London Travel Guide
A Resource for Mature Adventurers via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/An easy guide to the best magical markets, dazzling lights and fairytale ice rinks. 

London Travel Guide
A Resource for Mature Adventurers via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/
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