Now that we’re past all the Christmas and New Year celebrations, I feel like it’s time to give some tips and tricks on how to really get into the Christmas spirit in Durham. Whether it’s a winter ball, a trip to what seems to be Father Christmas’ favourite holiday location (AKA the beautiful city of York) or some carol singing, England really knows how to get you in the mood for mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and German bratwurst.
The first event that really got me in the mood for Christmas, was the Durham City’s Christmas Lights Switch On, which was on the 30th of November. The warm feeling of people coming together on the market square, combined with the smell of some very yummy food, really sets the mood for Christmas. While a subtle arrangement of levers and pulleys set angels and holy figures on a flight over the market, Christmas music accompanied the narration of the event. This all cumulated in leading the apotheosis of the evening: The switch-on of the lights decorating the big Christmas tree!
The sighting of the first Christmas lights irrefutably induces in me the craving for mulled wine and German bratwurst. These necessities, however, appeared absent from the Durham Christmas scene.
Luckily a few weeks later I went on a trip to York with the Theology Society where we went to visit York Minster and afterwards we strolled around the Christmas market. I definitely recommend visiting York in December, as the city seemed to be tailored to this holiday season. The city has a few Christmas shops that are open all year round and the Christmas market is to die for. It was there that my quest for foreign sausages and heated alcohol was fulfilled. I must say these taste better in an actual German Christmas market, but likewise, the consumption of tea and scones will always be best when indulged in the UK.
Other events that really made me look forward to the 25th of December were the Stephenson Winter Nutcracker Ball, a Christmas party with other international students, the Durham Christian union carol service, and the Durham City’s Nativity Play.
Colleges all over Durham really splash out when it comes to organising a ball. Although at first, I found the prices for these balls a bit expensive as I’m not used to spending a lot of money on student events in my home country, I really think it’s worth going to one or two of these fancy dress balls. They often include a drink on arrival, a three-course meal and some fun surprises during the meal and the subsequent party. Considering that you get to be a part of this typical English tradition of going to a ball, and considering all the things you get to enjoy, it really is worth the expense!
Durham also spoils its citizens and students with lots of carol singing. Be it during the nativity play, where live donkeys and camels accompanied the consort (BIG FAN!), or during a service as exquisite as the cathedral in which it was hosted, the carol singers always knew to hit that festive note. The fact that such typically British carol singing events are open to all, regardless of religious orientation, reflects the atmosphere of openness and celebration that pervaded the Durham air.
With all the fun I had, I almost forgot about my formative deadlines. Despite struggling with the notion of formatives, I duly arrived at the following conclusion: A formative essay is an essay that will be graded, without contributing to the final grade. It helps form the students by providing feedback and guidance while allowing the student the freedom to play with the novel concepts he or she is attaining. While I was reluctant at first to slave away for an assignment which would not count, I did feel that the work I put into my formative bolstered the confidence I will doubtlessly need when writing my summatives during the Epiphany Term.
Tot de volgende!
Are pet camels a thing? 🐪
Beautiful York 😍
Celebrating the season to be jolly with Linda (unicorn accessories are accepted all year
round) 🦄🎄 + cheering for my friend Mirjam who was singing in the choir 🎤🌟
🍴❄️Winter Nutcracker Ball – Stephenson College❄️🍾