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X days ’til Christmas

Ah yes, November. The clocks have gone forward, Halloween has been and gone and, according to TikTok, Mariah Carey has officially begun her annual ‘defrost’. She has thawed early this year, I am told, due to the catastrophic effects of climate change.

But whilst the dulcet tones of ‘All I Want For Christmas’ now saturating my FYP are escapable by a single swipe, there is an unavoidable sense that the Christmas season is already upon us: festive lights are up on the High Street, and John Lewis has released the teaser for their Christmas ad. The short length of Oxford terms makes this realisation something of an assault to the senses: ‘but we only just got here!’ you cry into your gingerbread latte from Pret. Yes – we did. But the Mariah Carey train stops for no one in its quest for total Christmas domination.

It’s true, it’s hard to feel all that Christmassy when the build-up to the Christmas season promises not much more than a continuation of the same pressures and stresses – but now with tinsel. Whilst friends at other unis have had their half terms – sorry, “reading weeks” – and can return to work with a newfound festive spring in their step, I’m left with the sense that all these preparations are a bit premature. Enjoying the lead-up to Christmas sadly doesn’t gel too well with unrelenting deadlines and reading lists, and there is a distinct sense of nostalgia for those long-gone primary school days of spelling tests being replaced with Home Alone screenings. This feeling is compounded for anyone involved with music, who will know all too well the specific sort of dread that looms at the thought of regurgitating the same tired tunes for 30 consecutive days each year; just hearing a snippet of ‘The Fairytale of New York’ playing out of a car window is enough to send any seasoned festive performer into a mild state of shock. 

But it’s not all sour eggnog and soggy mince pies: Oxmas, just a few weeks away, offers a small beacon of hope, as does the Varsity Ski Trip for all those looking to welcome in the festive season with a broken collarbone. And with the promise of the Black Friday sales coming, maybe a light sprinkling of Christmas is just what we need to get us through the bleak mid-term blues. There is definitely also something exciting about strolling the Rad Cam bundled in knitwear,something very “dark academia” about it all. And even for those, like me, for whom Christmas does not hold personal religious significance, it’s still possible to look forward to the cosy nights in and catch-ups with family and friends from home: a time for some good old Yuletide human connection. Isn’t the lead up to Christmas meant to be the best bit anyway?

It’s clear that the early arrival of the Christmas season holds excitement for many, so to all those stress-free students: have at it – the fun starts now! But I – like many other Oxford students – have just a few more essay-shaped hills to climb before I can really get into the festive spirit. 

So, Mariah (the recently thawed) now that you mention it, there is just one thing I need: any chance you fancy trying your hand at some Old English poetry analysis? 

Image credit: Torsten Dettlaff via Pexels.

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