Ghosts, whiches, cobwebs and dust everywhere. Literally. When Halloween approaches not only the United States (where the „Halloween-Hype“ first started to weave its webs in peoples‘ heads), starts to go crazy about this one particular day. London strongly competes with the nation overseas not only regarding trick’or’treaters but also – and especially – Halloween ornaments. The shops decorate each bit of space with spiders, pumpkins and anything that would remind a potential shopper that it is highly important to do the same, therefore to buy that stuff. But what does a declared Halloween-muffle, just like me, find best about the hype? Right. When it‘s over. Because then – above all here in London, the capital of England and, simultaneously, of Christmas decorations – all vampires, zombies and black cats can make their way right back into the basements and make space for lots of lights, glitter and the anticipation for three particular days. Yes, it finally is time for Christmas.
Right on time, in the wee hours of the 1st November, not only all kinds of shops, but also restaurants and pubs seem to be incapable of holding back their anticipation for the upcoming holiday season and delight themselves in glittering ornaments.
But shop owners aren’t the only ones who gear up their display windows; some students are emulating retail and hanging up the one or other christmas tree ball, tinsel or mistle toe. Looks good and makes the not-so-cosy student accommodation a little more cosy. As to say, a win-win situation. Additionally, a nice way to keep down homesickness and focus on rather urgent things, such as the inescapable test-season, which is unstoppable heading for us.
Not only us students are gradually getting ready for the merry time, but also the town itself is shaping up and boasting with all it has to offer: from a silvery shining London Eye, that inevitably catches your sight as soon as you exit Waterloo Station to an all-over sparkling Oxford Street which leads you right through Christmas-shopping with dangling umbrellas, presents, globes and even peacock-feathers. Everyone seems to be dwelling in a Winter Wonderland rather than in the real world, which vividly unfolds all its pre-christmas-madness. Actually, when you suddenly find yourself trapped between a swarm of gabbling, constantly selfie-taking tourists and a totally stressed out English Businessman who struggles coming up with an appropriate idea for at least one present, in the middle of an already overcrowded shop, you start doubting that christmas is supposed to be all about love. Capitalism at its finest – and all you can do is either to flow with it or to spread lots of pre-christmas joy yourself. Latter could be accomplished by a nice stroll through the notorious Hyde Park or, if you fancy some elegance, through “the garden of Her Majesty”, the Green Park (where, admittedly, solitude and seclusion have to wait since the Buckingham Palace happens to be in its direct vicinity, therefore hordes of tourists might appear).
Despite all of glitter, sparkle and “Merry Holidays”-wishes, there is something we need to face: The Semester is slowly but steadily approaching its end and so does the time we have to prepare for tests, writing project papers and other submissions. We all probably still have an echo in our heads saying “Don’t stress yourself just yet!” and “It’s still ages until you ought to worry about the papers!”. But – surprise, surprise – all of a sudden, the time arrived that leaves us startled and swearing that “in the next semester, I’ll start learning sooner!”. Thank god, we have something to look forward to: Christmas!