Why I channel my inner Grinch and love to hate being in Edinburgh at Christmas time
It’s the most overrated time of the year
This week, whilst stalking people on Spotify at the library (hands down the best form of procrastination) I saw my worst fears had been cemented, my good friends are indeed beginning to listen to Christmas music. Don’t get me wrong, I adore watching the Muppet’s Christmas Carol and Nativity and getting pissed from mulled wine. But, I still find it hard not to be filled with dread at this prolonged period of enforced festivity.
I’m going to launch straight away into the Princes Street Christmas Market, and why you won’t be finding me there this winter. First of all, I’m celiac, so I haven’t found a single stall that sells any food I can eat. But, even if I wasn’t allergic to every German delicacy, I also don’t have £18 to spend on a Bratwurst and a pint.
It feels like there’s nothing else to do at the market besides buying overpriced vaguely German things. If you do however want to fork out for a hot chocolate or a strudel, expect giant queues. The whole place is so crowded it can feel quite claustrophobic and, if you go in a big group, there’s no way you’ll all be able to stay together.
It truly baffles me that people travel from so far away to visit the market, and, even worse, pretend to enjoy it. I know many locals feel the same. When meeting a friend at the Grassmarket last December, the proprietor remarked how quiet her cafe was during December, because everyone flocks to the market instead of to her cafe.
It’s not just the Christmas market that is busy and overwhelming over this period. During December, you are pretty much unable to walk down Princes Street. As someone who hates it there anyway (let’s face it, Lidl Nicolson Street and Princes Street have the same unhinged chaotic energy), having four weeks where you are unable to go to Boots, is just annoying. Shuffling, lost tourists are a bane on Edinburgh students pretty much all year, but this reaches its peak during December when exam stress exacerbates the general unstoppable rage I feel towards them.
The cold and dark of Edinburgh in winter is just too harsh for some tinsel to distract me. When you can see your breath while lying in bed and have to wipe the condensation off the window every single morning, I start to think Mary and Joseph actually got a decent deal with that barn at the inn.
Also, why does Christmas start in mid-November here? Teviot has ridiculously already started with their Christmas events. I genuinely envy you if you can sustain enthusiasm for Christmas for six weeks straight. Why can’t we just do what Hugh Grant does in Love Actually and start getting excited about it with only four weeks to go?
Overall, northern European cities only go ham at Christmas because one, it’s a massive money spinner, and two, it’s so cold and dark people need a distraction. Edinburgh is no exception, in fact, we embody this. Unfortunately, no amount of overpriced hot chocolate will warm me up to the fact that Edinburgh essentially morphs into a hellscape for the month of December.
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