Another year, another December outing to London and some more memories to add to our family scrapbook.
I wrote last year about the joy of building our own family Christmas traditions. Yesterday the five of us made our now annual pre-Christmas pilgrimage into London with my folks – three generations of Liew family seeing in the festive season our way.
There’s nothing particularly special about what we do. But it’s what we do – and that’s what makes it special to us.
The routine is now well set. We take the tube into London. (That in itself is cause for much excitement both for Kara and for the boys, who have pretty much memorised the entire tube network.)
We started with a dim sum lunch in Chinatown, with the added theatre of selecting dishes from trolleys that circulate the restaurant.
We were all several pounds heavier by the time we left the restaurant, so lunch was followed by a gentle amble down to Leicester Square to take in the Christmas fun fair. Isaac and Kara joined me for a ride on the Ferris wheel, which affords a great view both of the London skyline and of the Odeon cinema which is currently showing a small, little-known film you probably haven’t heard of.
And the kids’ Uncle Peter further cemented his super-cool status by winning them a giant soft toy dog – it’s almost as big as Toby – at one of the fairground stalls.
Of course, no day in London would be complete without taking in this year’s Norwegian spruce in Trafalgar Square. (And an opportunity for the kids to climb all over the base of Nelson’s column.)
After a quick coffee stop that happily coincided with a torrential shower, we finished off the day with a ride on the top deck of a double-decker bus – a perfect vantage point for short sightseers – to take in this year’s Christmas lights on Regent Street and Oxford Street.
Actually, that wasn’t quite it. After alighting at Marble Arch, we strolled back towards Bond Street tube station and stumbled upon the new Tesla showroom, which is showcasing their plug-in electric Model S.
For the boys in particular – these are the boys who know every episode of Top Gear inside and out – this was like Christmas and birthdays all rolled into one. But even Kara enjoyed clambering inside the car with them. All I can say is that the sales advisor on hand had the patience of a saint as they examined every detail of the car’s interior. Although I think Toby may have put his name down on the waiting list for one. I’ll have to check my credit card for any suspicious outgoings.
And that was it for a tiring but immensely satisfying day that provided me with a much-needed injection of festive spirit. Every year we seem to further build the tradition of our pre-Christmas trip while adding something a little different to it as the kids get that little bit older and able to cope with more. I wonder what else we will have added to our Christmas traditions this time next year.
What family Christmas traditions do you have?