I’m not sure about you, but I spend the whole year looking forward to Christmas time. For me, it’s the time of year for family and friends, for letting the stresses of the year fade, and for reconnecting with the things that make life worth living. Of course, the copious amount of mulled wine and mince pies doesn’t hurt either.

If you live in the UK, you get a sudden feeling around this time of year. One day it’s just another cold, crisp autumn morning then the next you have that wonderful revelation – it’s nearly Christmas time! That’s why we’ve put together our top ten ways that you know that Christmas is on its way. Do they give you that Christmassy feeling too?

The Christmas lights are switched on in London

This is the big one. Every year, London is lit up with an incredible display of Christmas decorations and lights. When the switch is flipped in the big city, everyone knows its time to start thinking about presents and decorations once again. Carnaby, Oxford Street, and Leicester Square are the best places to check out the illuminations.

Mince pies appear in the supermarkets

You may not have heard of this quintessentially British Christmas treat, but I couldn’t imagine a holiday without them. The little crumbly cakes are filled with what we like to call mincemeat – but it’s not really meat at all! In fact, it’s a blend of dried fruit and spices in a gooey mixture. They’re 100% vegetarian and 110% delicious.

It gets cold. Really cold.

Autumn can get pretty chilly in the UK, but there’s a different flavor to air when Christmas is on its way. The weather turns from a crisp cold to a penetrating, icy blue freeze. Time to get the log fire burning.

The shops start playing Christmas music WAY too early

But we love it. It just wouldn’t be Christmas time without the classic tunes we all know and love. When they start to play we all get ready to rock around the Christmas tree, like it or not.

Everybody is sick

Yup. You just know that you’re going to end up catching that cold that’s going around the office. When the seasons change nobody escapes the snuffles.

The ice rinks appear

This is a quiet London tradition, but it’s around this time that the temporary ice rinks crop up in all the most stunning locations around the city. Check out the Kensington and Canary Wharf rinks for a magical skating experience.

The Coca-Cola advert comes on TV

This one has been around since most of us were kids. When you see those red Coca-Cola trucks rolling through the snowy lanes, you know it’s time to bake the Christmas cake.

Everyone goes to see the department store windows

London’s most opulent department stores are famous for their lavish displays around this time of year. In fact, many Londoners take a trip in to Regent Street simply to take a look at the wonderful displays built by professional designers. Check out Liberty, Fortnum and Mason, Harrods, and Harvey Nichols for some of this year’s best designs.

The German Christmas markets arrive

Even though Britain has many great Christmas traditions, we’re not above stealing them from other countries too! Christmas markets are the perfect excuse to binge on mulled wine after work and find those extra-special Christmas gifts for the family. They always make use smile.

If you spot 3 or more of these little pointers on your trip to the UK, you can tell that we’re all getting ready for the 25th. To experience the best of London during the winter time take a look at our special London walking tours. Wrap up warm though!