Whilst some of the more well-known streets in London are currently awned with more than one million LED lights, making headlines as the first time all ten major streets in London were lit at the same time, across London, some slightly more humble displays of Christmas cheer can be seen lighting up the night. 


In Hampstead, some charming yet simple twinkle lights have been strung up in a zig-zag fashion on two quiet side streets. Their non-intrusive, subtle nature add to the picturesque, calming atmosphere, the antithesis to the brilliant, eye-capturing larger displays found in the city centre or Kenwood house. When asked, a 17-year-old who has lived in Hampstead since birth expressed that the lights instilled in her a “keen sense of pride in her community”. 


For many, these lights will be a physical representation of exactly how far our city has come since this time last year when the country was forced into its second national Lockdown by the pandemic. Last year at this time, we were compelled to retreat into the stifling safety of our homes. This painful yet necessary sacrifice resulted in many of us losing out on our customary festive traditions. Whilst at the time, this may have been seen as insignificant and the least of everyone’s worries amid a particularly lethal second wave of Covid-19, we are now reminded of all that we have lost in the past year. The memories we could have made and the joy of which we were robbed.


Therefore, now, in the tentative safety of our vaccine and social distancing guarded lives, I invite you to join me in revelling in the beauty of quaint, side-street Christmas lights, the likes of which last year we would not have dreamt of seeing. I often find that the experience is particularly enjoyable when one’s hands are wrapped around a steaming cup of hot chocolate.