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PEOPLE OF THE CITY: Pretty Little London

Andrea and Sara from online guide Pretty Little London share their favourite parts of the festive season


What epitomises Christmas in London for you?

Andrea: For us, Christmas in London definitely starts with the Christmas lights switch-on. That is when you can really feel the festive vibes in the city and the people starting to get on with their Christmas shopping. Then, of course, the drop in temperature and the days getting shorter and shorter is clearly a hint that the festive season is approaching.


What’s your earliest Christmas memory?

Sara: I can really say that December was my favourite month of the year when I was a child, even more than my birthday! A big Christmas lunch that would last until 5pm, my cousin and I helping our grandmother to make tortellini, and all of us unwrapping gifts together are memories that I have since forever.


What smells and tastes do you associate with the festive period?

Andrea: Since moving to London my association with smells and tastes and Christmas has changed slightly. Now, as soon as I smell mulled wine and cinnamon in the air I start putting my Christmas jumper on. I really think there is nothing nicer than gingerbread, fresh pine and hot chocolate to put you straight into a festive mood. We also really love to light scented candles in the house to fill the air with festivity and make the atmosphere really cosy.


Do you prefer Christmas pudding, Christmas cake or a chocolate yule log?

Sara: Yule log, definitely! Can’t resist a bit of chocolate and buttercream… this is the season to indulge, after all, and what better way to do it than with a Christmassy dessert?


What’s your Christmas gift-wrapping style?

Sara: I really like simple but elegant wrapping papers with creamy or silver tones and plain patterns. I also add a little something, such as a cute Christmas sticker or a bow, to personalise the gift. As long as it looks good under our Christmas tree and matches the colours of the decorations I am here for it.


Do you have any special, unique or unconventional Christmas traditions?

Sara: Not entirely sure if this is unconventional but we start decorating the house and putting up our Christmas tree on 8 December – the day of the Immaculate Conception. It’s an Italian tradition that sticks around for us here in London even after all these years. Also, we really like to eat some panettone or pandoro – traditional Italian Christmas desserts that really put us in the festive spirit.


Do you own a Christmas jumper?

Andrea: Oh I do, absolutely. I mean, who doesn’t? This year I bought one with a snowman that lights up and sings Christmas songs at the press of a button… don’t judge me.


What’s your favourite Christmas film?

Sara: I would go for a classic on this one. I really love Home Alone or Elf, which really reminds me of my childhood and so many good memories. I also cannot resist romantic comedies such as The Holiday (possibly my absolute favourite, I mean who doesn’t want to live in that cottage!) and Love Actually.


Do you have a favourite Christmas song?

Sara: Michael Bublé plays on repeat in our house as soon as December arrives. Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Dean Martin must be our favourite.


What signifies the start of the festive season for you?

Andrea: It means making an effort to appreciate what we have, but it is also an occasion to show to the people we love that we care about them. It means enjoying the little things in life, such as a crispy sunny morning, the smell of hot chocolate and mulled wine, walking around the festive streets twinkling with Christmas lights thinking about the perfect gift for your loved ones.


What do you think is the best way to help others at Christmas?

Sara: Making everyone feel loved and less lonely. It really is important, especially during the festivities to make everyone feel included even with the smallest gestures – an invite to dinner, a smile to a stranger down the street or a little gift to someone that didn’t expect to receive any.


Pretty Little London is an online guide to the best and most exclusive things to do in London;