Hi, my name is Serena, I am a 2nd year English student at Mansfield College and I’m here to ramble about my favourite time of the year in Oxford - especially as someone who now has three Christmas jumpers - Oxmas.
Here at Oxford the first term of the year ends a long time before Christmas, almost a whole month before, so by the time we return to university in January the Christmas season is pretty much over. Luckily, at some point people realised that only doing the Christmassy things like present-giving and carol-singing once we leave Oxford isn’t enough, since it would mean missing out on celebrating Christmas with a whole group of friends - and thus, Oxmas was born. Yes, it’s true - us Oxford students really get to have the most magical time of the year twice! Oxmas is also great because by the time you get near to the end of term your motivation dwindles at least a little bit because your mind remembers that it’s almost time to go home again, so Oxmas is the perfect thing to get us all through to the end.
The two main Oxmas events that I attended this year were the Mansfield Christmas Carol Service and the Mansfield Christmas dinner and though both were at my college, other colleges would have had their own respective versions of both of these events. The carol service in the college chapel is a mix of traditional sing-along carols, less-well-known carols sung beautifully by the official college chapel choir and Christmas-themed readings; it is something that anyone can enjoy whether they are especially religious or not. This year I was asked to write a Christmas poem for the service and was honoured to read it in front of a packed hall and contribute to the Oxmas spirit. The Christmas dinner I was especially looking forward to since I missed out on it last year. The dinner was a completely free formal dinner with three courses and took place in the main college hall, which was charmingly decorated for Christmas with Christmas tree shaped napkins and Christmas crackers, with a fun dress-code of Christmas jumpers. Sitting at the dinner, chatting about non-academic things, eating delicious food, while wearing my reindeer Christmas jumper, surrounded by my friends here was a great way to end the last week of term, and felt like a goodbye before we were due to leave Oxford a few days later.
The other great Oxmas thing that I did with my group of friends is a Secret Santa, after a successful and very memorable group present opening last year. As a well-known lover of ketchup I was pleased with my ‘I put ketchup on my ketchup’ t-shirt and will be wearing it a lot next term. Present choosing, buying and giving is something that I really enjoy and so formed enjoyable procrastination material for the last week of term. I’m already looking forward to Secret Santa, and Oxmas generally, next year and will definitely be turning up next September with even more Christmas jumpers.