10 things to get you feeling festive this Christmas

 As the winter nights draw in, frosty breath clouds the air and the streets find themselves amidst a twinkling of lights, it is clear the festive season is upon us. Yet despite the annual hype, with fierce competition for the most magical, heart-warming advert and the snowiest, most endearing shop window, every year I seem to hear the same despondent tone of flat disappointment:

"I just don’t feel Christmassy!?" (Michael McIntyre 2011)



Luckily for myself, festive spirit appears to come naturally, encapsulating my inner child in providing me with all things shiny and an excuse to get excited over the smallest of things – but for those of you who need a little help in harnessing your Christmas cheer this year, here are a few essential activities to get you in the mood and to make this Christmas one to remember…



  1. The German Christmas Market


One of the many wonders of living in Birmingham has to include having the true magic of Christmas brought right to our very doorstep. With around 190 individual stalls, running between the Bullring and the Centenary Square until the 22nd December, the market offers something for everyone with a variety of hot foods, sweet snacks and unique hand-crafted gifts. So whether it’s a classic mustard hot dog, a sugared jam donut or a cold refreshing beverage that you’re craving this season – the German Christmas Market has it all amongst a picturesque setting that is sure to whisk away any Scrooge blues…


  1. Christmas Flicks


Personally, nothing creates a better feeling of festivity than a cosy night in, with the prospect of a classic movie marathon ahead – including Home Alone and Love Actually to name but a few…

But for those of you who need enthusing beyond the comfort of your sofa, December looks set to sprinkle some festive vibes throughout Birmingham’s favourite cinemas.

With the Lord of the Rings gripping trilogy returning to our screens, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is sure to follow the first films success in marking the beginning of the Christmas countdown.


In cinemas December 11th


And if you fancy something a little more light hearted, Tyler Perrys Madea Christmas will most certainly get you laughing…


In cinemas December 13th



  1. Midnight Mass


While some may take their octaves more seriously than others, Midnight Mass is a fantastic chance to enjoy a laugh, a warming glass of fresh mulled wine, free mince pies and the odd Christmas Carol or two…

So do away with any tarnished memories that you may recall in having being dragged along as a mere child and make sure that you see Christmas Eve through in full spirit…

…besides, there’s still time to call in at the pub on the way home.

Midnight Mass: Birmingham Cathedral 24th December 11.30pm



  1. House Christmas Meal


Whether in Halls or a student house this season, there is no better way to get together with friends than with a good old fashioned Christmas Meal.

For those confident in the kitchen, nothing beats a homemade effort. In sharing out the all-important responsibilities, you’ll find an easy way to split the cost of ingredients whilst giving yourself the best possible chance to perfect your area of expertise – whether it’s securing the successful rise of your Yorkshire puddings or getting those roasts to fluffy perfection.

However, if you’re lacking a little faith in your culinary capabilities or simply can’t be doing with the effort, there are plenty of alternative and affordable options available, with Pizza Express offering two festive courses with a twist for just £14.95 – or £19.95 for three…which had me sold on the cinnamon and vanilla dough balls, I shan’t lie.



  1. The Nutcracker


Still not feeling Christmassy? Then head over to the Hippodrome for Sir Peter Wright’s classical production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. For an experience described by critics as ‘unforgettable’ and ‘genuinely festive,’ ticket prices start as low as £16.

But be sure to get your festive fix quick – the production only runs until the 12th December.

Click the link to find out more...http://vimeo.com/30185998



  1. Christmas Tree




A full sense Christmas festivity is simply incomplete without the presence of a tree and so, if you haven’t bought one for your house or flat yet – get one. Not only does the decoration provide you with a golden opportunity to refresh your festive playlist and dust off your old Christmas CD compilations – but once complete, it radiates a festive vibe that is undeniably infectious.

Still not sold? Then think of your purchase as an investment…with 6ft artificial trees on sale at Tesco’s for a student friendly £17.50 – you have no excuse. You will be able to enjoy your tree time and time again – and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a shimmering reel of tinsel and a cracking set of ball balls...

Follow the link below to buy yours now!




  1. Wrap up warm with a Christmas Jumper


A cosy Christmas jumper is just about everybody’s guilty pleasure. And it goes without saying - the louder the better.

So if you’re looking for something that will make you stand out from the crowd this season – take a peak and what Funky Christmas Jumpers have on offer by clicking the link below. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed…




  1. Advent calendar


If you haven’t got one already – nab one quick. Because you’re never too old and nothing counts the Christmas Countdown better than chocolate.


  1. Homemade Mulled Wine



Tasty, festive & easier than you think…

All you need is: A bottle of red wine, 3 tablespoons of sugar, 6 cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 oranges, 2 lemons and 2 tablespoons of either Brandy or Cointreau…

Break your cinnamon stick in half, slice your oranges and lemons & throw all of your ingredients into a large saucepan…

Heat your ingredients to just below boiling point and simmer for about 20 minutes in order to fully infuse the spices – but be careful not to let it boil or the alcohol will evaporate!

And there you have it, your very own fresh mulled wine – it doesn’t get much more easy, nor more festive than that...


  1. Christmas Fab


With the end of term drawing nigh, what better way to celebrate than at the last Fab of 2013. With fancy dress costumes and fairy lights galore, it will be impossible to evade the festive spirit – and even if it isn’t - you’ll be too drunk to care.

As ever, this night is a particular favourite, so make sure you get your tickets quick to avoid disappointment! After all, no one likes a beg on Fab n’ Fresh…