‘it’s the most wonderful time of the year…’

‘I really like Christmas,
It’s sentimental I know,
But I just really like it.’

And so begins my favourite secular Christmas song (written by the genius that is Tim Minchin). I don’t know about you, but it really does feel like the most wonderful time of the year to me.

This last week UEA has been getting their festive funk on; we’ve had Christmas markets, carols in the cathedral, and cartloads of festive spirit (really stretching to keep the alliteration going there).

In the Hive (part of the Student Union) we had a Christmas market full of stalls belonging to UEA students and graduates, [Mum, stop reading here or it might spoil your Christmas present] there were all sorts of stalls- from handmade steampunk jewellery, to luscious soaps, to vintage tea sets, quite literally something to everyone’s tastes.

Photo used with kind permission from Deli Soaps (I bought a couple and they smell divine)

Photo used with kind permission from Deli Soaps
(I bought a couple and they smell divine)

Photo used with kind permission of Deli Soaps

Photo used with kind permission from Deli Soaps (In fact they smell so good that, although I bought them as presents, I might be keeping one…shh)

We also had this wonderful gentlemen and his stall making the campus square smell amazing (I may have had a tip off that he will be back in the summer selling ice creams which I’m quite excited about. Life is about the small pleasures).

click for a larger image

click for a larger image

That evening there was the Christian Union’s annual ‘Carols in the Cathedral’ service, which was a fantastic opportunity to see Norwich Cathedral for free, and to tumblr_ng68mlqKom1qm67xwo7_1280indulge in a spot of rusty singing (Fun game: Play spot the ex-choir singers, we’re the ones who automatically go into the descant and subsequently look mortified when no one else does).

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I mean it’s nice, but it’s no Salisbury Cathedral…

Finally, Dragon Hall (a medieval merchant’s hall on Kings Street) played host to a delightful little market, full of all the kinds of things you don’t need but want anyway. All the ‘merchants’ were dressed in full medieval costume, albeit some looked less enthusiastic about it than others, and I learned all about medieval alternatives to modern skin care products. There has been an unfortunate inclination in recent years to view medieval Europeans as somehow stupid, unclean people who never washed in their lives – well this simply isn’t true. If you had no running taps and had to heat all your washing water over the fire, would you bother with filling a whole bath? I think not. But they had their own versions of deodorant and toothbrushes, I even tried the clay moisturiser – and you know what, I think I prefer it to the oily creams we use today.

(for more information have a read of the lady below’s website)

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The gentlemen who gave the sermon during the carol service this week described Christmas as belonging to dark places, I’m sure he was thinking more along the lines of ‘the shadow of the valley of death’, Jesus Light of the World etc, but it did get me thinking. Christmas, for those of us living in the northern hemisphere, is quite literally the darkest time of the year, for students it’s when our bank balances are running low and a deluge of deadlines await us. It’s also around the time that we start getting our first marked essays back and, whilst I’ve been lucky/done well so far, I’ve seen a fair few despondent faces. I think that it’s important to remember that Christmas is not only a light in the darkness, but a promise of better days to come. After the equinox on the 21st, the days will start getting longer and soon spring shall be sprung upon us. So my plan, and my recommendation, is to recuperate over the Christmas holiday, have a Lucozade, and prepare for a Robert Downey Jr. style comeback.

Merry Christmas, Everyone x

Jarrolds, Norwich

Jarrolds, Norwich

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