Starting to celebrate Christmas in November may seem too early to most, but since term at Oxford ends at the beginning of December and all of us are home over the Christmas period, Brasenose celebrate Oxmas on the 25th of November!
Some of us take the tradition more seriously than others – my friends and I for example go all out and buy advent calendars for November to feel extra Christmassy (the excuse for more chocolate doesn’t hurt either…). Oxmas festivities usually span the whole final week of term, which is exciting because work tends to be winding down and the college’s many events allow us all to come together to celebrate the Christmas season.
Brasenose chapel hosted an optional nearly midnight mass on ‘Oxmas Eve’ – a service with carols, candles and Christmas jumpers that is a lovely way to get into the festive spirit with everyone else in college. On the morning of the 25th, the student committee hosted an Oxmas morning celebration where students could come to eat mince pies, listen to Christmas music and watch Love Actually – this was preceded by my friends and I gathering in my room in pyjamas to exchange our secret Santa presents! A few friends and I later decided to take advantage of the fact we have big kitchens in Frewin (our second-year accommodation annexe, just a few minutes’ walk from college) and make festive cookies and a student version of a Christmas dinner – stuffing, Yorkshire puddings, the lot - and somehow, we didn’t burn anything in the process!
The main highlight of Oxmas week is the Christmas dinner. Everyone usually turns up dressed in their Christmas jumpers and enjoys a sit-down three-course meal complete with stuffing, pigs in blankets, Christmas pudding and crackers! At the end of dinner there’s usually a few renditions of We Wish You a Merry Christmas and/or The Twelve Days of Christmas, with everyone in the hall getting involved and singing along together.
Then on the Wednesday, we got dressed up for the yearly Oxmas Ball, held in one of Brasenose’s favourite party destinations: Freud’s in Jericho. This was a brilliant night complete with cocktails, a photobooth, live acts, student DJs and a chance to catch up with those we might have seen less of over the course of a busy eight weeks.
The best way to end the term – and a long-running Brasenose tradition – is the Christmas pantomime, written every year by the 2nd year English students and held in the hall. This year it was loosely based on Alice in Wonderland, and was packed full of inside jokes retelling funny characters and events that have occurred in the college over the past year.
Oxmas is a lovely tradition that is really just about celebrating the festive season with our closest friends before we go home to celebrate the actual Christmas. It’s one of my highlights of the whole year, and I think the effort that everyone in college makes to don our best Christmas jumpers (the official Oxmas uniform!) and celebrate together as one big Brasenose family is the thing that makes it so special.
by Angharad Morgan (Second Year Biology student - from Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera, Neath, South Wales)