What epitomises Christmas in London for you?
Christmas in London is all about the festive spirit. The opportunity to unwind from a busy year, catch up with family and friends and not to mention an obligatory trip to Winter Wonderland, the Christmas markets and attending the black-tie events.
What’s your earliest Christmas memory?
There is a running story about me in the family, which seems to come up every Christmas. When I was younger, in the lead up to Christmas I used to come home from school and put on Home Alone every day without fail. It’s one of my earliest memories, probably because I am reminded of it every year but also because it was in the era of the VHS!
What smells and tastes do you associate with the festive period?
Cinnamon, cloves, candles, mulled wine, mince pies and turkey.
Do you prefer Christmas pudding, Christmas cake or a chocolate yule log?
It’ll be a chocolate yule log for me!
What’s on your Christmas list to give and/or to receive, from The Royal Exchange?
I’m notoriously last minute with my gifts but there are a few boutiques I turn to from The Royal Exchange. Aspinal of London, Fortnum & Mason, Smythson, Tateossian and Tiffany & Co. are a few that I usually gift from. As for receiving, where do I start? Perhaps something from Omega, Montblanc or Church’s?
What’s your Christmas gift-wrapping style?
Make the gift special, and keep the wrapping simple!
Do you have any special, unique or unconventional Christmas traditions?
For a number of years now my dad, brother and I host a pre-Christmas dinner and drinks evening – usually falling on the 23 or 24 December. It is an opportunity to get our friends together and enjoy an evening over good food and one too many drinks! We haven’t got a plan in the diary for this year, but I’m hoping that all comes together in the coming weeks.
Do you have a Christmas jumper?
I do indeed, I’ve had one particular one for years, however I have been gifted one this year so it might be time for a change…
What’s your favourite Christmas film?
Well it has to be Home Alone. If I could have more than one, I will add Elf and Nativity! to that.
Do you have a favourite Christmas song?
There are a fair few but it has to be Wham! Last Christmas.
What signifies the start of the festive season for you?
Dusting off the Tuxedo to attend the black-tie events really signifies the start of the festive season – it’s a great time to catch up with everyone and enjoy the festive spirit.
What do you think is the best way to help others at Christmastime?
Recently I worked with a charity called Food For All, which help provide 2,000 hot meals a day to those experiencing food poverty in London. I spent a morning helping them to prepare meals – it really puts life into perspective. Helping others at Christmastime can come in the form of giving your time and efforts to those who require it. It can also be a small gesture to make someone smile and help make life easier. What may seem like a small act of generosity from your end can mean a lot to those on the receiving end.
Gurj Sohanpal is the founder of men’s fashion and lifestyle blog, Singh Gentry. Working in finance in the City by day, Gurj launched Singh Gentry to inspire men and women around the world to have the confidence to express themselves through the clothes they wear; singhgentry.com