This year will be my 14th Christmas with my other half James who is a born and bred Geordie. During the festive season we try and divide our time between Rochdale (where I’m originally from) and Newcastle so we can see all our family and friends.
I love going home but I have to admit that Christmases in the North East have a special kind of magic about them, the Geordies have lots of festive traditions that I now fully embrace! If I wasn’t already lucky enough to live here, I would probably find myself travelling to Newcastle for a winter break.
These are the things that I think it wouldn’t be a Geordie Christmas without…
Huge crowds gathered on Northumberland Street on Friday 3rd November, just as they have done every year for generations, to watch the unveiling of the traditional Fenwick Christmas window. The event seems to get bigger and better every year as the luxury department store has a reputation for wowing us with their festive display… watch the grand reveal of 2017’s window below:
As you can see, this year’s theme is ‘With Love from Paddington’ and as well as entertaining the passers by on Northumberland Street, the much loved character can be found throughout the store too; the lifts are emblazoned with his cute little face and there’s even a pop up cafe serving marmalade sandwiches!
For the last few years, my favourite local cinema has added several screenings of the Christmas classic ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ to their December listings. James and I have made a habit of watching it in the opulent surroundings of the art deco classic screen on our first day off of the festive season and it never fails to make me feel all warm and Christmassy!
This might seem like an odd one to include but I’ve honestly never seen a bunch of adults more excited than on the release day of the Greggs Festive Bake – the guys in my office went wild for them! They are now so popular that national newspapers report on them, there are even facebook fan pages dedicated to the pastry delight and as Greggs was born in Newcastle I think the Geordies have always been the company’s biggest fans!
It’s basically a Christmas dinner in a pasty so I can see the appeal, but I still fondly remember the Brie and Cranberry version from a few years ago, they were much tastier in my opinion, what ever happened to those?
Ice skating is such a fun festive activity and it’s not just for kids! The outdoor rink at Newcastle’s Centre For Life is a wonderful addition to the city from early November until February and I highly recommend it as a great way to blow off the cobwebs. We never had anything like this where I grew up so I intend to make the most of it now I live so close by.
There are hundreds of fabulous local artisan producers in the North East, from the Northumberland Cheese Company to Wylam Brewery and from Chainbridge Honey Farm to Davenports Chocolates and Durham Gin.
The Fenwick Food Hall stocks many of these luxury products plus loads more and I think they make wonderful gifts. I recently picked up a special Alnwick Rum Christmas pudding from Fenwick which I can’t wait to send to someone special.
For more inspiration check out my A-Z of North East Food & Drink.
There are several pantos to choose from in Newcastle but the Theatre Royal is hands down my favourite! The venue definitely makes it feel special, it’s one of the most beautiful buildings in Newcastle!
You can read my full review of this year’s show ‘Peter Pan’ HERE. It’s on till 21st January so still plenty of time to catch a show if you can find available seats.
It’s world renowned that people from Newcastle LOVE to party, so obviously in my quest to become an honorary Geordie I have often attempted to give the locals a run for their money in the city’s bars. You can read about some of my nights out in Newcastle HERE and HERE.
So, as you can see, Newcastle is a fantastic place to spend the festive season (or any season for that matter)! Other events that James and I have enjoyed at this time of year include concerts at The Sage Gateshead and Newcastle City Hall, festive afternoon tea at Jesmond Dene House, a night out with a difference at Enchanted Parks and sipping Mulled Wine at Hadrian’s Tipi.
I’d love to know what your festive traditions are? You can tell me in the comments below.