Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas at Oxford

Now fair warning, dear reader, if you are an American like myself the following post may come as a blow to the very soul. For this is a post about the Christmas Fair at Oxford… an event that occurred THREE WEEKS BEFORE THANKSGIVING. 


Now, I know, I know, since Thanksgiving isn't a holiday in the UK, why should they care whether their christmas festival is before or after that (in my mind, at least) sacred cut-off between autumn and 'the holidays?' But really, isn't having a Christmas market in the FIRST WEEK OF NOVEMBER a little excessive??! The ridiculousness of that scheduling just made me all the more thankful for Thanksgiving in the US, which (attempts) to keep the holiday madness at least contained into a one-month block of bacchanalean consumerism, as opposed to the two-month onslaught in the UK that begins before Halloween.

(Oxford Christmas lights went up 1 Nov - but at least they're pretty!) 

But I digress.

A few weeks ago, my friends and I took an evening to explore the Oxford Christmas Market, a street fair that shuts down all of St Giles' for one weekend in November. We'd all had somewhat mediocre weekends up until that point--a wash of work, stress, and nights out gone slightly awry--but the fair worked pretty much instantly to turn the mood around.

I've been to a few Christmas markets before, and there's something just intangibly wonderful about them: the crisp air mediated by a piping cup of mulled wine, the festively decorated stalls selling baubles, and the carny-like food (which, I can't lie, I adore).

 (Bubbles and mulled cider! I think I was more excited about this than my friends were, haha)

 (Swings, my favorite carnival ride by far)

 (There were also some live performances, including this guy who performed French spoken word in a tweet jacket while being backed up by an old dude playing a bass clarinet. All right then.)


The Oxford market is certainly not the biggest or the most extravagant I've ever seen, but dang it was cute. We rode the swings, stuffed our faces with churros and samosas, and drank cup after cup of mulled cider as we wandered up and down the midway. It was a great break from the stress of the work week, and (and I say this through gritted teeth, given my deeply ingrained hatred of pre-T-day Christmas shenanigans) a great way to get into the Christmas spirit.

But now that it's actually December, bring it on! I've been blasting Christmas music and am off to buy presents and an ugly Christmas sweater (jumper?) as we speak. It's the best time of the year.


SprinklerBandit said...

I love the swings!! Have you ever gone skydiving? It is seriously the best swings ride experience EVER.

L.Williams said...

That looks like so much fun!

Tracy said...

omg if the Christmas mayhem started Nov. 1 I would seriously have to buy a cave and hibernate!!

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