17 December 2013

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

Birmingham, its beginning to look at lot like Christmas! This time last year I experienced the glamour of New York City's festive charms but this year I have been loving Birmingham's festive Christmas delights to the fullest! From the Centenary Square wheel, to the formidable Frankfurt Christmas Market I've been spoiled for choice! Who needs the Rockefeller, Brum?!

The Frankfurt Christmas Market came to Birmingham once again this November for the festive season. It's my last Market this year, so I went all out this season! I always say that when the market comes to town the festive season can truly begin in Birmingham. I'm planning to visit Berlin in 2014 so I wanted to get the best of the market this year to be acquainted with a slice of German culture. Upon my visit this year I indulged by enjoying a Bratwurst hot dog and I bought a Birmingham themed cookie, which took me about a week to eat fully. Ironically, the market opened on the 14th of November this year, which happened to be my 23rd birthday. To get the best of the market I chose to visit in the week for the weekend's have been crazy busy, but it's definitely worth the crowd for the atmosphere is great! Aside from the mayhem I love the Frankfurt Christmas Market in Birmingham. Yes, Berlin is calling me!

Last Saturday afternoon I decided to breakaway from my studying to take a walk around Birmingham's city centre to begin the festive season as the last semester has been bedlam, plagued with deadlines and presentations. I would like to say that with the dark nights drawing in before 5pm I saw it as a benefit to be proactive by taking some Xmas snaps. The Christmas Market was buzzing with all types of people enjoying their Gl├╝hwein and German Beer during that ice cold December night. It's interesting to see that most of England's cities are embracing the German Market during the festive season, but Birmingham reigns supreme! I must admit I love to people watch so it was a great opportunity to see people enjoying themselves, might I add that some of the market-goers were speaking Turkish and French! Birmingham has definitely been attracting people from across the continent to enjoy the Frankfurt Christmas Market. Brum, I loved it but it was so packed! 

Through the festive period the Mailbox always looks charming. I might be a penniless student but I love that place! As of recent the adjoining Cube complex has flourished with the opening of new restaurants and existing eateries that have relocated from the Mailbox to make way for its 2015 redevelopment. As I walked along Wharfside Street I could hear several languages, for Birmingham is a very multi-cultural city but the Turkish speakers that I heard took me back to sunny Turkey! Captured to the right is Christmas at the Malibox, the largest Christmas tree made an appearance in November in-preparation for the festive season to commence. Bearing in mind that it was a Saturday night whilst I was out experiencing my Birmingham Christmas evening I did notice more of a hubbub of people enjoying themselves, its a time like that when I wished I wasn't a poor student! You know I love you Birmingham!

Christmas is a time when people just shop and shop, that's how it looks this season but when you don't have any money it doesn't have that appeal. I've probably already mentioned in my previous blogs that Christmas coming is my last in Birmingham as a student. Looking at the here and now I'm prepared for this year to signify the last of my serious Christmas's at home in England so I'm excited to enjoy the whole rounded experience. Spending the time away from England for the Christmas season it opened my eyes to how Christmas is spent. I went to  Los Angeles for Christmas, I learnt that Americans don't say 'Happy Christmas' its more like 'Seasons Greetings' its always good to recognise that people do things different in other countries. Birmingham gets a bad rep most of the time, I have to say that this Christmas the city lights made all the main points of interest shine fine. Oh, Birmingham is great for now but I'm buzzing to spend a Christmas somewhere new!

Dressed in all of his finery is the Bull who guards the Bullring shopping complex. It's great to see this part of Birmingham's flagship shopping centre all dolled up for the big day. Birmingham has become one of England's fashion capital's for this time of year brings incomprehensible amounts of shoppers to buy their fill of Christmas presents. Going from Macy's on 34th Street in NYC to Birmingham's Bullring has been a contrasting experience for sure, but there's nothing that beats Birmingham's retail delights. My Christmas shopping this year has been non-existent but I did treat myself in November for my birthday for it would be inhumane to not treat oneself. Le sigh! Those darker afternoons come in handy from time to time! I love the Bull for it always makes an effort during the seasons and always makes the perfect holiday snap for Birmingham's growing number of international visitors. Let's go!

Whatever the budget Birmingham has something for everyone, let's be honest the smile on someone's face on Chrismas morning is priceless! I always make a point of having a browse through Selfridges as I'm a sucker for their high-end products, I need a job! If I could write my dream Christmas list from Selfridges I would choose a range of items from Paperchase, I just adore the stationary and pens that are sold just by the food court. Taking the escalator up to the Men's wear I would ask St. Nick for some BOY clothes and a few high-end t-shirts by Vivienne Westwood. Lastly, I would love to have some beauty products from the cosmetic section as I always like to look good. As I made my way around the luxury of Selfridges I enjoyed my Mocha Frappuccino with the feeling of Christmas all round me, the busy bodies passed making their frantic pre-Christmas purchases, I finally felt Christmassy! We all want to be Material Girls, so a little luxury every now and then doesn't hurt? No B!

I missed the festive season last year for I spent Christmas in New York and New Jersey, so I have really appreciated seeing the Christmas magic that Birmingham has offered so far this year. This festive season in Birmingham has surpassed my previous Christmas experiences for the Wheel has come to town, overlooking the Library of Birmingham that recently opened in September of this year. Birmingham's got talent for the view from the raised gardens at the Library always gives the best night-time view over Birmingham. I'm no Torvil and Dean so I only watch the ice skaters as I pass the ICC to and from university on a daily basis. The ice rink is a great addition to Centenary Square for it was quite a bore to put up with the partitions and workings of the developing library and the REP Theatre, everything looked fantastic under the December moonlight! I'm excited for the big day on the 25th! 

So I say! Let's keep this short, well I never do a good job at that when I blog. Make Birmingham your new shopping destination during Christmas period? I'm always learning something new about my student city, getting to grips with the new developments that this city has been going through so let's go! The streets might be packed with busy shoppers making their way around the Bullring and the other shopping spots but its all about doing your own thing, I try not worry about that when I went about my business that December night. Birmingham is changing, I won't be spending Christmas here next year but I'll return in a few years to see if things change, from what has been developed in Birmingham its not looking too bad, only joking its going good. The Christmas lights will be shining bright for the next couple of weeks so we can still enjoy the atmosphere about in the city of Birmingham. I need to stop going on about Birmingham, I'll say what I want! It's Christmas!

Birmingham . . . It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

Joseph Harrison

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