Credit: Stan Rosenberg

Merry Oxmas!

– Rachel Sakrisson –

Michaelmas Term, 2017


For a native Floridian, the weeks preceding Christmas in any other climate than the Tropics are something straight out of a picture book. The Christmas decorations that bedeck South Florida often inspire grins of irony instead of grins of excitement as snowmen and reindeer are frequently juxtaposed by healthy green grass and palm trees. However, as I prepared for my term at Oxford, I looked forward to Christmas in a place that has the weather to make front-yard snowmen plausible.

Because Michaelmas term ends just December is beginning, the students and faculty of Oxford have invented Oxmas (celebrated on November 25), which ensures that everyone is able to enjoy Christmas festivities before returning home for the holidays. It is precisely what one would expect and more. In the weeks preceding Oxmas, the Christmas lights brighten Cornmarket Street, carols are sung at the Sheldonian Theatre, and dozens of minced pies and cups of mulled wine are consumed. This festive atmosphere made studying for my Shakespeare and French translation tutorials at the Bodleian an even more enjoyable experience. After long days of reading and writing, I would leave the library and walk into the courtyard where the Bodleian’s Christmas tree would be twinkling and I would explore one of the Christmas markets.

For the residents at the Vines, only snow could make our Oxmas experience complete, but we had been told at the beginning of term Oxford very rarely gets snow in December. However, on my last day in Oxford, I awoke to slamming doors and screaming outside my window—“It’s snowing!” Light flakes were falling to the ground and, by the next morning, Oxford would be blanketed in snow. The snowy landscape ensured that our final day of Vines community filled with a pancake breakfast and several movies was similarly blanketed in Christmas cheer.

Overall, the Oxmas festivities enhanced my academic experience and ensured that Michaelmas term 2017 will remain a strong memory for many years to come. As I finish my English degree at Palm Beach Atlantic University and look back on my undergraduate degree, Christmastime in Oxford with my fellow SCIO students stands out—not only because of the winter temperatures—but because spending the holidays in the city of dreaming spires is an experience you can’t find anywhere else.

Rachel, MT17