Light a Hanukkah candle website is online > Updated

Posted On December 14, 2009

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Please Note > this post has been moved to our Festive Spirit blog and you can access it along with many other related posts at >


Exmoor, UK, prepares for Christmas

Festive cheer will be in plentiful supply over Exmoor, UK, during the first two weekends of December as the local villagers at Dulverton and Dunster prepare for Christmas with two special events.

Dulverton by Starlight: Sunday 2 December > Amongst the many Christmas activities taking place between 12noon and 7pm at Dulverton by Starlight on Sunday, 2 December will be carol singing and street entertainment as well as a chance to enjoy some hot mince pies and buy gifts for family and friends from the local shops. Santa Claus will be making a visit bringing gifts for the children and there will carol singing around the sparkling Christmas tree in the town square.

For further information about Dulverton by Starlight visit

Dunster by Candlelight: Friday 7 – Saturday 8 December > At Dunster by Candlelight on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 December the remarkably preserved medieval village turns it’s back on the present and lights its streets with candles. At 5.30pm there is a Lantern Lighting Procession with traditional pipe and drum music and stilt walkers in amazing costumes who put up the lanterns. It continues through the village until all the lanterns have been lit.

Throughout both evenings until around 9.30pm there will be a variety of street entertainment with carol singers, Morris dancers, samba drums, Rattlebox Theatre, creepy crawly handling with Exmoor Zoo in the newly restored Tithe Barn; a march by Sutton Household, hand bell ringers and a brass band plus carol singing and concerts in the Parish Church. Dunster’s shops will be open for Christmas shopping while the local restaurants, inns and charity stalls will provide refreshments.

Admission is free but there is a small charge for the park and ride service since there is no parking in Dunster for the evening. Visitors will also be able to arrive at Dunster by Candlelight on a special Christmas train operated by the West Somerset Steam Railway, which runs from Bishop’s Lydeard, near Taunton to Minehead but pre-booking is essential.

For further details about Dunster by Candlelight visit

Details about other places to visit on Exmoor and accommodation suggestions can be found on

Two cities > one great Christmas experience

Combine the capital of Copenhagen with Sweden’s third largest city, Malmö, for a true Scandinavian pre-Christmas experience. Copenhagen is especially wonderful at Christmas time and the historic city of Malmö in Sweden is another great Yuletide attraction.

Thanks to the Öresund Bridge which majestically links the two countries, it’s never been easier to enjoy the delights of being part of a Danish and Swedish build up to Christmas. With a convenient rail-link the cities are just 35 minutes apart.

COPENHAGEN > In Copenhagen, serious shoppers head for Ströget, northern Europe’s longest pedestrian shopping street. From mid November onwards, shopkeepers try to outdo each other in creating the most attractive window displays. Many look for exclusive designs or perhaps special quality decorations for the Christmas tree, if so, head straight for Illums Bolighus, a centre for Danish and international design. Next door at Amagertorv Square stands the Royal Copenhagen flagship shore, a wonderful 17th century building filled with fine porcelain, crystal and collectable Christmas plates as well has Georg Jensen silverware.

Royal Copenhagen is also famous for its display of Christmas tables. They have a different theme each year and are decorated with the best of Royal Copenhagen finery. Be prepared to queue for this annual visual highlight!

Another must do, is a visit to the annual Christmas Market at Tivoli Gardens. Tivoli Gardens is the most popular attraction in Denmark, and this time of the year they put on a fabulous display of the best illuminated trees you will ever see in Europe. Some sixty stalls sell Danish handicrafts, seasonal foods and gifts. The market is this year will open on 16 November.

MALMÖ > Just over the Öresund Bridge, Malmö is another great place for shopping. The big department store, Hansakompaniet, is the place to go when in need of inspiration for last-minute Christmas gifts. Here you’ll find trendy clothes, restaurants, beauty products and household goods. Then move on to Saluhallen, at the picturesque Lilla Torg Square, a true mecca for gourmets with several small shops selling tea, chocolates and seasonal delicacies. There are several copy bars and restaurants surrounding Lilla Square, where locals and visitors alike meet up for a traditional warm ‘glogg’. From 25 November the City of Malmö puts on its Christmas market, attracting more and more visitors each year.

A good time to be in Malmö is on the 13th December for Lucia! This tradition takes place each year on the 13th of December, when Lucia, ‘The Queen of Light’ wearing candles in hair, together with her attendants, travel through the city in a horse drawn carriages up to the Stortorget Square where locals will have gathered to sing traditional carols and watch the official crowning of Lucia.

Getting there > With flight times around two hours you can be there in no time at all. SAS Scandinavian Airlines operate regular direct services out of London Heathrow and City airports, Dublin, Aberdeen, Manchester and Birmingham. For latest offers

For further information go to

London’s Christmas village > Maritime Greenwich

Posted On September 29, 2007

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Maritime Greenwich, London’s Christmas Village, has an exciting programme of festive activities, exhibitions and events running through December into New Year 2008.

This beautiful corner of south east London will take on a special festive atmosphere with open-air ice skating, shopping, twinkling fairy lights and decorations, a giant Christmas tree and visit by Santa Claus and his helpers. Visitors will be able to soak up the unique ambiance and join in a variety of events.

Festivities will kick off with the Switch On of Greenwich Market’s Christmas lights on Friday, 30 November with a huge programme of family entertainment running from 3-7pm. Father Christmas will be there from 3pm and the lights will be turned on at 5pm by the cast of Greenwich Theatre’s pantomime ‘Dick Whittington’.

The famous, indoor Greenwich market,, is home to a quirky collection of interesting and unusual shops. In addition from Thursday, 6 December there will be a special Christmas Market trading everyday until 7pm right up to Christmas Eve. Festive shopping in Greenwich Town Centre is also a breath of fresh air for those tired with the lack of choice offered by crowded, cloned high streets across the country. The historic town is packed with unique shopping opportunities stretching from Royal Hill to Creek Road. Many of the restaurants and bars will also be offering special Christmas party menus.

Greenwich Ice Rink > The Greenwich ice rink,, will be open from Saturday, 8 December to Sunday, 13 January (10am – 10pm) in the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College. This year the CaféIce, serving hot chocolate, mulled wine and mince pies, will be re-sited in the colonnades giving skaters uninterrupted views across the Thames to Canary Wharf in one direction and Queen’s House and the Royal Observatory in the other. Other events at the College will include a Christmas evening concert with supper in the beautiful Painted Hall and a family festive craft workshop,

The Greenwich Theatre annual pantomime production of ‘Dick Whittington’ will run from Tuesday, 4 December to Saturday, 5 January with Andrew Pollard writing the script and joining the cast as the dame, returning after his record-breaking success in ‘Sleeping Beauty’ last year. The show will be packed with comedy, magic, music and adventure entertaining an audience across all ages,

Mince Pounds > Maritime Greenwich will also have its own currency, Mince Pounds, available during the festive season. Every time visitors spend £10 in a local shop or market displaying a Mince Pound sign, they will receive one Mince Pound, which can be put towards either tickets to the pantomime, skating at the ice rink or a visit to the new Peter Harrison Planetarium.

Maritime Greenwich’s many attractions will be open to visitors over the festive period including the Chapel and Painted Hall within the Old Royal Naval College; the National Maritime Museum, which also takes in the Queen’s House, Royal Observatory with its new Time and Space Galleries and the Peter Harrison Planetarium; the Fan Museum, St Alfege Church and Wernher Collection at the Ranger’s House.

This year also marks the tenth anniversary since the centre of Greenwich was awarded World Heritage Site status for its architectural, scientific, maritime and royal associations.

Christmas events at Maritime Greenwich will vary from day to day; for full details and to check Christmas opening times for local attractions and accommodation suggestions visit Local information can also be found on

Maritime Greenwich is easily reached via the Docklands Light Railway alighting at Cutty Sark, or by main line train from four central London stations, namely Charing Cross, Cannon Street, Waterloo East and London Bridge. Alternatively there are several bus services coming through Greenwich or visitors can arrive by passenger boat at Greenwich Pier.

VIP Christmas shopping day in London

Posted On September 27, 2007

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Car-free shopping day, London, December 1st

London’s main shopping streets are set to open up for pedestrians again this December for annual VIP Christmas shopping day. However, in this instance VIP stands for Very Important Pedestrian, as those on foot will take precedence during the event.

The shopping meccas of Oxford Street and Regent Street will be completely closed to cars on December 1st, so that shoppers can stock up for Christmas. London’s West End is one of the most famous shopping areas in the world and routinely sees crowds of over 40 million drawn to it every holiday season.

Last year’s VIP Christmas shopping was a massive success, with thousands taking advantage of not having to dodge automobiles to do their shopping. And many of the 600 stores on the West End chose to keep their doors open until 9 pm in order to maximize the number of customers they saw.

If planning on hitting the VIP shopping day, the opulent Chesterfield Mayfair hotel is the best place to stay.

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Christmas Spirit in Geneva

International Christmas Market, Geneva, November – December 2007

Those looking to take a pre-Christmas break this year may wish to head to Geneva, home to a Christmas market throughout November and December.

Situated on the Place de la Fusterie, the market gives visitors the chance to find some unique and interesting gifts to take home to their loved ones. Locally-made arts and crafts are on display, while other quirky antiques and items from around the world will be available to buy. Food, drink and other entertainment stalls will line the streets, presenting tourists, some of whom will be staying in the Hotel d’Angleterre, with a variety of entertaining pursuits.

Another attraction in Geneva this festive season is the Christmas Tree Festival, an art event which celebrates the customs surrounding the traditional December decoration. This is an annual event and it perennially prompts a widespread bout of creativity, as local artists find new ways to express the spirit of Christmas.

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Christmas art installations in Geneva

Posted On September 27, 2007

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Christmas Tree Festival > November 2007 – January 2008

Christmas-time is treated in a traditional and stylish manner in Switzerland, and this is typified by the International Christmas Tree Festival which takes place each year in Geneva. Between November and January, an array of trees and sculptures created from the designs of famous international artists are displayed throughout the city.

Across Switzerland’s second largest city, dozens of artistically decorated Christmas trees are displayed, some made to specific themes and some adorned with ribbons and artistic lighting effects. The trees are selected by a jury, according to events guide What’s On When, with the top 23 trees being exhibited around Geneva. Known as the art of the trees to locals, the installations can be found around Place St-Gervais, Place de Chevelu, Place de l’Ile and areas near to the river.

If the November weather gets too chilly, head to the Hotel d’Angleterre to warm up and enjoy a Christmassy view of the snow-capped Swiss Alps across Lake Geneva.

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