Christmas Shopping
Christmas markets offer an alternative to usual high street shopping.

It's Christmas shopping time again! It is that time of the year when promotions and offers rule everywhere. If you are confused about choosing that perfect Christmas gift or bored with that high street shopping, have a look at the following alternatives.

For each individual's demand, depending on his lavish or frugal buy, here are some of the destinations one can explore away from the usual high street shopping for your Christmas needs in London.

Traditional Christmas Market at Southbank Centre (November 18 - December 24)

Southbank Christmas market, located between the Southbank Centre and The London Eye along Queen's Walk, would be there for the fourth consecutive year in 2011. It gives a lot of choices for you with handmade gifts, warming food and drink during your Christmas shopping.

One can get everything from amber and silver jewellery, Christmas tree ornaments, hand tatted laces, wooden toys, handmade soaps and ceramics etc from the 60 wooden chalets lining the banks of the Thames.

For the taste buds, there would be a variety of German food and drink available at the South Bank Christmas market. One can dig in to bratwurst sausage, gingerbread hearts, roasted almonds or a warm crepe, all washed down with a glass of Glühwein, a German style mulled wine.

The carousel would be the most sought after for the little ones. Children can go on the merry-go-round and gallop past the wooden chalets, against the backdrop of the River Thames and the Houses of Parliament.

Traditional Christmas markets at South Bank are open between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Friday. The market would be open at 10 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. on weekends.

The festive concerts and shows include a special rendition of Handel's Messiah at the Royal Festival Hall.

Traditional German Christmas Market (November 19 to January 3)

The traditional German Christmas market at Hyde Park would be coming up with Winter Wonderland for 2011 and are expected to be even bigger and better than that in last year. Apart from the dazzling activities and rides, Winter WonderLand would be offering an exceptional shopping experience for the Londoners.

There would be stalls ranging from the traditional to the quirky and include items such as hand crafted wooden and tin toys, delicate glass Christmas tree ornaments, candles in all shapes and sizes, handmade ceramics and jewellery, along with many other items, offering shopping for all in a magical winter atmosphere.

For the foodies, there would be seasonal culinary specialities, including Bratwurst and a German hog roast stall, roasted nuts, gingerbread hearts, confectionary and crepes in the stalls. The entire German Christmas market would be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., except on December 25.

Duckie Christmas Market (December 10, 2011- December, 30, 2011)

The Duckie Christmas market at Barbican Centre would be transformed into an indie gift market showcasing cult craftspeople, underground artisans, DIY designers, thrifty retro hawkers and community arts curios. The Barbican bazaar offers a range of stalls offering housewares, clothes, jewellery, artwork, speciality foods and cards. There would be workshops, pop-up performances and seasonal bonhomie for an alternative to the regular high street shopping.