Let’s face it, after 2020’s shambolic festive season, this Christmas will be a year like no other.
Everything is ramped up this year; Christmas vibes are everywhere, there are more joyful TV ads than one can count, and the number of food chains launching festive-inspired treats has skyrocketed.
On top of this, all the Christmas markets are promising to deliver the ultimate festival affair to make up for last year’s nightmare.
I was desperate to start my Christmas celebrations early, and I don’t care if it’s November. This was my ultimate guilty pleasure.
So to kick things off, I decided to head down to Oxford Street and attend my first festive market of the year.
You might not have heard about this one, but the Selfridges Christmas Market is back again for its second year in a row.
It launched on Friday, November 5, and guests can register online for free tickets and spend two hours visiting tasty food stalls, cool gifts and (just as importantly) lashings of mulled wine and festive cocktails.
I had spotted the market going viral on TikTok, so it must have been doing something right to gain so much social attention.
Grabbing my tickets online, I bolted out the door on a chilly Thursday afternoon.
I was teeming with excitement…what could go wrong?
The answer was almost everything.
Firstly, the queue made the festive market look busier than it actually was.
However, I quickly realised that most people were just walking in and hadn’t even bothered to register online.
Once I got into the market area, I was completely lost for words – It was a single, empty street.
Having been to some impressive Christmas markets in Edinburgh and Cardiff in years gone by, this was such a huge letdown.
It was like being in an abandoned retail car park during a zombie apocalypse.
There were roughly eight or nine food trucks lining the road, with a giant Helter Skelter shoved into one of the sides.
If the ride wasn’t there, you would not believe this was a Christmas market at all.
There were also some bog-standard fairy lights that looked as though they had been hung up by a four-year-old.
To give you an idea of how tiny the market was, I wondered how long it would take me to walk around the entire venue.
Drum roll… it took me one minute.
In a desperate attempt to make my visit worth it, I went to try some of the food stalls.
There was one pop-up that caught my eye, looking somewhat abandoned and unloved with no customers.
With the words ‘Hot Dogs’ sprawled across the van, I was delighted to see that the menu was 100per cent vegan.
Two minutes later I was handed a hotdog packed with everything a food lover could dream of.
Gherkins, crispy onions, French mustard, ketchup, lettuce and a meat-free ‘pork’ sausage – I was in heaven.
This slice of paradise lasted just shy of thirty seconds.
In a festive market where people are expected to sit and eat street food, there were no benches or seats to be found.
The thought of milling around with a jumbo hotdog any longer made me fidgety, so I searched for my own spot.
In the end, I had to perch on some concrete steps like a seagull munching on stolen chips.
Despite the hot dog being delightful to eat, this couldn’t take me away from how poorly planned and put together this market was.
What’s even staggering, is that your ticket lasts TWO HOURS.
I had only been there for half an hour and I was already bored, befuddled and most of all blue.
The Helter Skelter did not appeal to anyone unless they were a toddler – and it cost a whopping £5 for two rides.
I saw one child go on the ride during my visit and that perfectly summed up the experience for me.
The Selfridges market had started with such high expectations, but ultimately as time went on I felt like everything had spiralled and descended into a complete downer.
This Christmas, TikTok had well and truly scammed me.
Visiting a good Christmas market this year is essential and, ba humbug, this is not the market you should attend this year.
Food is the only thing actually worth going for here, so I’d advise that you go with a hungry stomach, ready to fill it with delicious treats.
Alas, it was just not the ultra-dreamy festive experience I had hoped for.
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