It’s the most wonderful time of the year…celebrating Christmas at Lancaster in 2020

by Catherine Brabin

Catherine in a Christmas jumper
Me in my Christmas Jumper!

Feeling festive

Hello! It’s a new academic year, which means a whole host of new content from me, and I couldn’t be more excited. To start us off, I want to talk about Christmas at uni, which is incidentally my favourite time of year. While this festive season feels different to any other, I am the living proof that there is still plenty of fun to be had. Here are all my ideas for getting into the Christmas spirit, on and off campus.

Fake it till you make it

Recreating Christmas with my flatmates is a tradition that started in first year and has been carried into my second. It doesn’t matter where you’re living; some decorations, a gift swap, and attempting to cook a roast with your group will definitely leave you feeling merry and bright (be prepared for more Christmas clichés). After the year we’ve all had, me and my housemates felt we deserved to go overboard, so the fairy lights, tubs of Celebrations, and spiced apple Febreze were out from about the first week of November. We also decided to do a house Secret Santa, and planned to share our presents after we’d finished our home-made roast on our last weekend in Lancaster.

I love Secret Santa because it’s a cost-effective way of gift giving, and you can pick something truly meaningful as your focus is only on one person. We set a budget of £10, but you could go higher or lower depending on what suits everyone. As is typical for me, I ran into trouble. I had just got my delivery and was telling my housemates that everything was under control, when I walked into the kitchen and saw the exact same mug as the one I’d ordered sitting on the sideboard. My Secret Santa luckily loved the chocolates and mindfulness cards that I eventually settled for, but take this as a reminder to check that your flatmates don’t already have what you’re planning to buy them! (I was gifted a lovely set of luxury hot chocolates that I’m saving for closer to Christmas – thanks Tasha!)

Flat christmas gifts
Our flat christmas gifts

The food...!

When it came to our roast, my house went on a group trip to Sainsbury’s and Aldi to get the essentials and then split the cost between us. We didn’t set a price limit or try particularly hard to get the best deals, but if you’re savvier than us then you certainly could. When our fake Christmas rolled around, we had the full works: every Christmas themed snack or beverage you can think of was most likely on our table. At the start of the year we all contributed towards a Chrome Cast, which means we can link our phones to the TV and watch virtually anything. I’d definitely recommend doing this – you could even just use your laptop - as we were able to get into the spirit with a mix of Christmas films while we got cooking. We might have got our timings tragically wrong and ended up eating three hours later than planned, but the food was delicious and the atmosphere was so warm and cosy that it truly felt like Christmas Day.

roast dinners
Our flat roast dinner

What else is happening on campus?

The LUSU events calendar is a great place to start if you’re looking to take part in some university led festivities. Your college will also most likely have seasonal offers available, for instance, I’m a County girl and was able to grab a hot Christmas sandwich for only £1 at the Marketplace last week. Keep checking those emails!

The Take 2 Cinema at Bowland Main has been hosting numerous Netflix screenings, where you and your household can sit back with some snacks and enjoy a Christmas film. The last showing was on the 6th of December and just happened to be my favourite Christmas film – Nativity! I believe their next showing is going to be Love Actually, but keep up to date on the LUSU and Take 2 Facebook pages.

Green Lancaster are also hosting an online event teaching you to make sustainable Christmas crafts. The event is at 1pm on the 11th of December, and includes making eco decorations, Christmas crackers, and cards. Here’s the link for more info on upcoming events

Christmas Wishes

So, hopefully this blog has given you some ideas on how you can celebrate with your household this Christmas, on and off campus. Please stay safe and have a lovely time over the holidays, however you’re spending them. I can’t wait to see what 2021 brings!

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