The grand reveal of the St Pancras tree has taken place, and as always, there’s a distinctly festive feel to the whole affair that allows us to forget about the stresses of daily life, just for a moment. This year, they’ve once again gone for the wonderfully unconventional approach. Though it’s still being referred to as a Christmas tree, it might be fair to say it’s more of a Christmas bookshelf (still resembling the shape of a tree, of course!).
Every year, St. Pancras partners up with an outside friend to give us a different tree, and this year’s effort comes in collaboration with Hatchard Books (who actually also come from the inside of the station this time), which will certainly speak to anyone who’s nearly missed their scheduled train while browsing through deals on their next read. Now, they’ll nearly miss it because they’re too busy gawking at this gorgeous Christmas tree.
Over the Christmas season, visitors can spend the festive season taking part in a world-first event: sitting inside the St. Pancras International tree. They’ve treated us with a beautiful set of eight cubby holes to curl up in and get lost underneath the winding staircases. Plus, if you’re lacking a book, or already finished your novel on the commute, you can even take a seat and play a give minute excerpt from an audiobook thanks to Penguin Books—the words of Charles Dickens, Beatrix Potter, Zadie Smith, Michael Morporgo and many others can lift you on a cold winter’s eve.
The tree aims to help people appreciate the magic of literature just as much as the magic of the festive season—reading a copy of A Christmas Carol underneath the St. Pancras tree would probably put you under that very spell. It’s 12-feet tall, comprised of 270 shelves and boasts 3,800 different books; with works including the Dickens classic as well as C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe spiralling up into the sky and completing the most bookish of saplings.
It’s backed up by data this year, too. St Pancras have recognised that ‘BookTok’ (a term for TikTok videos on books, duh!) and other social media trends have suggested that young people’s reading habits are on the up, with estimations of a 25% rise. Hatchards stepping in to help with this year’s station decoration encourages a break from screens and a nod towards the joy of getting lost in your favourite novels.
Luke Taylor, Retail Director at Hatchards said: “Whether we are young or old, books offer an escape from the hurly-burly bustle of the modern world that no other medium can compete with; and there are few better ways to enjoy a good read than whistling through the countryside on a train!
“We are delighted to be partnering with St. Pancras International to bring this joy to the many station visitors, allowing people to escape, relax and enjoy literature for a few moments with the station tree. What a start to the festive season!”
Read more about Hatchards, the name of London’s oldest bookshop, here, and catch the St. Pancras International tree throughout the festive season. Check out the St. Pancras International and Hatchards websites to find out more.
Also published on Medium.