There’s something magical about Christmastime in London. There’s a feeling of anticipation in the air, as if you’re the star of a romantic movie and absolutely anything can happen. Crowds and chaos fade away as the street performers adopt a merry mood and travelers pause to gaze at the holiday window decorations. Walking the streets of London becomes a festive occasion rather than an ordinary task as you pass the extravagantly decorated windows. Even drizzling rain can’t dampen the holiday mood. Keep reading to join me on a virtual tour of the best Christmas windows in London.
Where to find the best Christmas windows in London
Nothing says Christmas like the windows at Harrods. Even the least informed tourist knows that there’s something special about this iconic shop. It’s the epitome of luxury and a special brand of magic. It’s no surprise that Harrods chose to employ the luxe brand Dolce & Gabbana to usher in the Christmas spirit, bringing an Italian flair to London.
Stroll the streets of Knightsbridge to experience a sense of wonder as the enchantment of Christmas takes shape through Harrods windows. Inspired by Sicilian puppet theatre, the world of Dolce & Gabbana comes to life as puppets Domenico and Stefano demonstrate Italian style through dance, food, fragrance and fashion. Puppets DJ and dance at a disco and ride the ferris wheel at the fair. Then, they get down to business to create watches, perfume and perfectly tailored festive fashion.
For over 60 years, Harrods has been a part of Christmas traditions for locals and travelers alike. Shop Christmas World on the second floor to stock up on gifts and decorations, make an appointment with Father Christmas at the Christmas Grotto or mail him a letter at the Toy Kingdom.
The Debenhams Christmas love story, ‘You Shall’ advertisement has 514,059 views at the time of this writing. I’m not going to tell you how many of those views are attributed to me, because it’s embarrassingly high, but this might be even better than a Super Bowl ad.
Debenhams combines the expectancy of Christmas with a fairytale twist, and the results make the romantic in me swoon.
Their Christmas windows carry on the ‘you shall’ theme, with interactive aspects. Touch the handprints on the glass to reveal the makeup color palette or ogle the sparkly shoes that ‘you shall’ receive this Christmas.
Fortnum & Mason
Fortnum & Mason is no stranger to amazing Christmas displays. They’ve been around since 1707 (that’s older than my country!), and have been bringing yuletide joy to shoppers for 310 years. This year’s Fortnum & Mason display, ‘Together We’re Merrier,’ encourages a much-needed sense of banding together with those who are most different from us.
Characters from across the animal kingdom come together at Christmastime through the Fortnum & Mason windows. The Big Bad Wolf serenades musical sheep and the tortoise and the hare share a laugh. The unlikeliest of friends share a meal at a banquet table, proving that at Christmas…anything really can happen. From fanciful blimp rides to a champagne-popping elephant… ‘together we are merrier.’
Forget Santa Claus. This Christmas, Moz the Monster is coming to town! Stroll past the windows to see Moz the Monster in the bubble bath, unsuccessfully hiding under the bed, and popping out of the closet. Tickle Moz’s feet in an interactive window display to hear the giant monster giggle and kick his feet.
John Lewis’ £7 million campaign, directed by Oscar-winning director, Michel Gondry, features a remake of The Beatles’ Golden Slumbers. As you’d expect from the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind director, it’s an incredible production.
As an adult, the Moz the Monster display at John Lewis is cute if a little strange for Christmas. For the hysterical little boy visiting Moz the Monster’s house on the 4th floor, I’m wondering how many sleepless nights the cute Christmas display will inflict.
Selfridges’ Christmas windows can best be described as Jennifer Garner’s 13 Going on 30 magazine spread meets Woodstock. The ‘With Love From’ campaign aims to “celebrate the diversity, creativity and eccentricity that make our capital great.” To do that, Selfridges created a parade atmosphere featuring traditional (and not so traditional) characters from the U.K.
One window in particular is decorated with 5,000 brussels sprouts, including a man decked out in a brussels sprouts suit. It makes for a great photo… but not sure I’d want him next to me at a Christmas dinner! It took over 100 people eight days of working around the clock to dress the window displays at Selfridges and no detail is missed!
The brass band isn’t confined to Selfridges’ windows… be sure to pop inside the store, as they’ve promised bands making appearances throughout the holiday season. The second set of windows will be displayed on November 27, promising even more creative Christmas scenes. And… get excited, y’all… from that day until December 16, glitter cannons will release confetti every single day!! Talk about a sparkly Christmas season!
Nothing says festive season like glittery faces… and Harvey Nichols has me wishing it was appropriate to bring back the face glitter of my childhood. The Harvey Nichols windows encapsulate a New Years vibe and the rainbow of colors and rotating disco balls made me want to bust a move right there on the street.
Be sure to pay attention to the details… Harvey Nichols sure did! Each of the 620 mannequins has a manicure!
As I’m headed back to summertime in Australia, I’m so thankful for the festive shops of London that got me in the holiday mood. Which shop do you think has the best Christmas windows in London?