The festive fun might just be beginning with the start of December, but Oxmas is actually already over…. But what is Oxmas, you ask? Oxmas is Oxford’s version of celebrating Christmas much, much earlier than everyone else. The vast majority of students move out of their accommodations during the first few days of December (I’ll be on a plane flying home as you read this), meaning that there would hardly be any time for Christmas festivities if they waited until November was over to celebrate. Thus, Oxmas was born!
Without Thanksgiving, there is nothing creating a clear distinction between when you should and shouldn’t start getting in the Christmas spirit. Decorations around the city began going up around the middle of November, with shops playing Christmas music and Christmas markets popping up on the weekends. (There was even a Christmas tree at our Thanksgiving dinner…) There were too many Christmas parties, socials, dinners, and other events to possibly count. I actually went to two carol services– two more than I had ever been to in my life before. Everyone is genuinely, unironically festive despite the fact that all of this happened before it was even December.
Celebrating Christmas so early may feel strange to some people, but I loved it. I’m one of those people who starts listening to Josh Groban’s Christmas album the minute the clock strikes November 1st, so Oxmas was an incredibly welcome surprise. What I didn’t anticipate was how disoriented it makes you feel. Every time I left one of these events I felt as though Christmas was right around the corner, like it was December 20th and I just had a few more days to wait… until I realized that, in actuality, it was still November. But that means that I get SO MUCH extra Christmas fun this year!
One of the best Christmas events I attended was the Christmas formal dinner at Mansfield College. The hall was beautifully decorated and the food was absolutely delicious. Being served turkey, vegetables, and potatoes reminded me a lot of Thanksgiving (albeit without squash and stuffing, the best parts). I had also never done Christmas crackers before, so I was pretty surprised and a bit confused when we all popped open the crackers and put on shiny paper crowns. There was a moment during dinner when the feeling of being at some sort of real-life Hogwarts just hit me– how can this place be so amazing?!
Christmas remains my favorite holiday, but Oxmas has definitely jumped to the top section of the list! Now that I’ve celebrated Christmas for about two weeks, I’m ready to go back home and continue on for another month. I wish I could celebrate Oxmas every year!
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Have you ever been in Oxmas during Christmastime? How early do you start celebrating Christmas? What is your favorite Christmas tradition? Let me know in the comments section below!