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Merry Oxmas!

Written by Eleanor Sanger, posted on Friday, November 24, 2017

Christmas tree in Peckwater QuadI know, I know, it's barely even the end of November, but we're already talking about Christmas. Trees are going up all over Oxford, the Christmas lights have been turned on, and we might possibly have even started getting out the mince pies and mulled wine (by which we mean definitely). But actually, a lot of this can be put down to ‘Oxmas’, which takes place on 25th November and which makes the last few weeks of term feel rather Christmassy.

Because the Oxford term is so short – Michaelmas 2017 finishes on 2nd December – most students, especially undergrads, won’t actually be here for most of December, meaning that you’d miss out on most of the build up to Christmas. Which would be a shame, because Oxford at Christmas is pretty magical, even without snow, as the city definitely lends itself to frosty mornings, wintry sunsets and general Christmas prettiness.

Christmas tree in the HallTo get around this, we have Oxmas a month early on 25th November, although celebrations tend to take place throughout the last two weeks of full term. Each college will have its own Oxmas celebrations, including the putting up of Christmas trees (ours went up on 23rd November, and the lights on the big tree in Peck will be switched on on the 28th – yay!) in colleges, departments and the Bodleian, plus the main one on Broad Street. It’s pretty fun spying these trees on your travels around Oxford and comparing them all (unfavourably, of course) to the one in your own college. You might even find other decorations popping up elsewhere as well, so keep an eye out!

Another thing to look forward to around this time of term is Christmas dinner! This will take place in your college Hall, and you might even have a few dates to choose from so that everyone can get in. It’ll definitely put you in a festive mood, as you’ll most likely be able to enjoy a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings, Christmas pudding, and of course, crackers. It’s a great way for you to get all your college friends together and celebrate Christmas in style before the end of term. You may also have other meals to look forward to – graduate students will probably have meals with their research group and wider department, and you might want to get a few friends together and either attempt to cook one yourself (good luck), or go out to one of Oxford’s many eateries. Eat, drink, and be merry – it’s Oxmas!

Christ Church Cathedral ChoirCollege chapels will also put on some fairly early carol services for you to enjoy before you leave, including Advent carol services and your more traditional kind of carol service where you can belt out ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’ and all your other festive favourites. Whether you’re religious or not, college carol services are another good way of enjoying some Christmas cheer with the rest of college, and, as they quite often take place on nearly the last night of term, it’ll also give you a nice send off as you leave for the Christmas vacation.

Outside college, you might also find yourself at themed club nights or BOPs (always interesting in terms of what people can come up with for Christmas fancy dress), and there are plenty of other Christmassy events in Oxford, such as Christmas markets. It really is the most wonderful time of the year – once you’ve handed your last essay in, anyway.