As Christmas approaches once again, people are gripped by the usual mixture of warm anticipation and sheer panic. Christmas Day itself is always a time for celebration and family get-togethers and the subsequent days leading up to New Year’s Eve are an opportunity for restful recovery and socialising with friends and relatives. The problem is in getting from here to there without getting too stressed out. This is particularly applicable to the fairer sex as they seem to be the ones lumbered with most of the work.
Considerate husbands and partners can help by either doing more of the work themselves and / or arranging a short break away from it all in either November or early in December. The beauty of the latter is that this time of year is classed as low season and there are some really tempting deals on offer from well- appointed hotels which have every facility on hand including swimming pools and relaxing spa treatment rooms.
Having someone else take care of the cooking, cleaning and bed-making somehow makes Christmas shopping less of a strain and can actually make the exercise an enjoyable experience. Those taking such a pre-Xmas break in the Oxford area will find all the big name shops that they are likely to need together with the unique seasonal ambiance of the City of Spires.
The Christmas atmosphere in Oxford is brought vividly to life in the city on Friday November 23rd when the Christmas Light Night is staged. Centred on the famous lantern procession this evening event features light, dance, art, live music and performance, all thrown together with a generous helping of festive cheer. Oxford’s museums, Castle Quarter, Town Hall and Museum of Oxford, theatres and galleries throw open their doors to the public for one-off late night viewings of their exhibitions and displays enhanced by special performances.
This kicks off the build-up to Christmas in style and sets the tone for what visitors can expect during the run-up to the big day itself. 2012’s events include the ever popular Christmas choral concert at Christchurch Cathedral on Friday 14th and Thursday 20th of December at 8pm. Recent readers of Christmas writing at this perennial favourite include Jeremy Irons and Robert Hardy and it is a closely guarded secret which star is booked for this year.
For a complete contrast, it is well worth making the short journey to Blenheim Palace, arguably Britain’s finest. This year from 10th November – 14th December (Wednesday to Sunday inclusive) the Palace will be decorated in a very special theme telling the Christmas story of the Three Kings.
Visitors to the Palace will be able to follow the journey of the Three Kings through the State Rooms decorated in glittering gold and festooned in silk. Two magnificent Christmas trees will stand in splendour in the Great Hall, surrounded by palm trees in pots bejewelled in the colours of the Far East. From the balcony above the Great Hall, the Star of Bethlehem will shine out to guide the Three Kings on their way. Baubles and crystals on lush ribbons, shining golden leaves, clusters of peacock feathers and striking turquoise and emerald green marabou fans will provide an exotic welcome to the Palace.