The Christmas season is well and truly upon us and, yet, stuck in a country with whose Christmas traditions I am unfamiliar, I’m finding it a little difficult to get into the festive mood. The truth is, it’s family and friends who make the Christmas season what it is, and I have a thousand or so mile separating me from mine. I imagine that, for those of you who have deadlines looming and pre-Christmas assessments around the corner, festive cheer may also be lacking, so here are a few tips on how to fully immerse yourself in the pre-Christmas season.
- Films and Music
Wherever you are and whatever you have going on, there is always time to indulge in a few of your Christmas favourites, whether that’s creating a Christmas playlist to listen to as you work (I have the Pogues playing as I type this) or setting aside a rainy Sunday afternoon for a movie marathon. These are Christmas traditions that you can keep up easily, whether you do so alone or invite some friends over to join you. We all have that film or song that instantly puts us in the Christmas mood, so this is an easy fix to chase away the bah-humbug blues!
- Christmas Events
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, both the University of Leicester and the town as a whole organise a host of Christmas events, from Christmas markets to Christmas themed nights out. Find yourself a programme of these events, grab a friend and get immersed in the festive cheer surrounding you. If you haven’t already, check out this link for more information. For me, the main event in Salamanca is this Thursday, as students from all over Spain gather for Nochevieja Universitaria. This is a student inspired event that serves as a pre-New Year’s Eve party, initially designed so the students here could celebrate with their friends before heading home for the holidays.
Let’s be honest, the food is typically the star of the show in the run up to Christmas! A particular low point for me this month was realising that I wouldn’t be able to have a mince pie until the 21st, as Spain doesn’t seem to have discovered this delicacy yet. That doesn’t, however, mean that I haven’t been indulging in a few festive treats anyway! With all the cafes here offering special Christmas prices on chocolate caliente y churros and the shops being piled high with bars of turrón, I have yet again been exploring the Spanish culture in my favourite fashion, through its food! For those of you still in England, set aside a few of the pennies rolling around in the bottom of your bank accounts and splurge on some festive treats!
- Make plans
With the term nearly over, everyone is preparing to head home for the three-week Christmas break. Three weeks during which you won’t see your uni friends. So, before you leave, organise a few festive activities with your friends and flatmates. I have already suggested a Christmas-themed movie marathon, but the possibilities are endless! Do a Secret Santa or organise a pre-Christmas meal (you can never have too many pigs-in-blankets)! For me, these good-byes are slightly more final than three weeks, as I’m heading to France after Christmas to start the second half of my year abroad, so I will be making the most of my final weekend here and heading to Toledo with a friend!
So, there you have it! Four easy to do activities to get you into the Christmas spirit! As always, your comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated. Be sure to have a mince pie for me!