The Christmas countdown in a year like no other

This year the countdown to Christmas is going to feel very different! Here’s what I’ll be doing in 2020 to enjoy the festive season.

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Christmas at Stourhead

Christmas illuminations seem to have been particularly popular this year. Just in the area around Bristol I’ve seen adverts for illuminations at Westonbirt Arboretum, Longleat and Stourhead. I think I first received an email about the Christmas at Stourhead illuminations back in June – long before I’d begun to even start thinking about Christmas. However, it was instantly something I was interested in. I’d never been to a light installation before and it sounded like it would be a fun thing to do so we found a free weekend and booked our tickets.

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A festive day out at Bath Christmas Market

The best part of the festive season, for me, is Christmas Markets. With the smell of mulled spices and caramelised nuts in the air, and stalls adorned with unique Christmas decorations, there’s nothing that captures the spirit of Christmas better for me. My first experience of a ‘proper’ European Christmas market was when I was 12, and I can still remember the feeling of enchantment on my first evening. I get a similar feeling when I go to markets now, although I usually have a better idea of what to expect. Although I have a list of European markets a mile long that I’d like to visit, this year we stuck closer to home and decided to check out what festive delights Bath has to offer.

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

In fact, it’s less than a week until Christmas and I’m beginning to wonder where the year has gone. Whilst there is still time to reflect on the whole year, I’ve actually been thinking recently about what I’ve been doing over the last few weeks. Whilst the shops may start preparing for Christmas from September (which is far too soon), this year I’ve actually managed to have a whole host of Christmassy activities lined up in the lead up to the day itself. Even discounting a magical trip to Cologne Christmas markets, there’s plenty I’ve done which has made the whole season feel festive, rather than just one day.

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Continental Christmas Markets

I love Christmas markets. The food, the decorations, the gifts on offer… the whole atmosphere is wonderful. There is nothing quite like being wrapped up against the cold weather, enjoying mulled wine under a giant Christmas tree. Christmas markets in the UK have taken off in a big way, and it seems like almost every town has a fair or market in the lead up to Christmas, but they quite often promise more than they deliver. If you want a proper Christmas market, something that you will cherish the memory of for longer than the drive back home, I would urge you to go abroad.

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