Stop. I know what you’re thinking. The Christmas cheer, we all used to have as kids, has disintegrated into essay writing overload. ‘Fancy going for a coffee?’ my friends say whilst I wonder if needing to write FOURTEEN THOUSAND words over the Christmas break is a good enough excuse to not go. The Christmas period can be difficult for us master’s students: how do you manage getting time off with friends and loved ones, holding down a job AND writing and researching?! Frankly, I’m still trying to figure it out – I’ll keep you updated if I have a lightbulb moment. If like me you’ll be spending 90% of the festive season in the postgrad hub panic writing, you’ll be glad to know I’ve found the best things to do in the local area for your precious 10% off…
1. Get yourself to the Postgrad Christmas Party
If you’re on campus on 13th December, jingle all the way to the Atrium in the SU for the postgrad Christmas party from 6pm. Tickets are only £2.50 if bought in advance which is super cheap considering they have mince pies, mulled wine, and (wait for it)…REINDEER RODEO! This is a must! There’s also table quizzes and brain-teasers in case you’re powering through your essays and need that extra challenge.
2. Head to FarGo
Fargo Village is just about my favourite little spot in Coventry. Named so because it’s tucked away on Far Gosford street, about a 10-minute walk from the city centre. It’s a little creative district filled with independent shops, cafés and restaurants. They often have events going on in the evenings and weekends – one of which is a Christmas film screening of ELF on 16th December at 1pm. If you’re like me and scream SANTAAAA à la Will Ferrell at any opportunity in advent, then this one is a must. Tickets start from £5 too so it’s definitely student budget friendly.
3. Eat your heart out with a Christmas Dinner!
If you’ve got in the festive mood after the Christmas Party, then the Dirty Duck has got a Christmas Meal lined up on 19th December from 12-3. It’s £5 for 2 courses or £6 for 3 – a bargain for a starter, turkey and all the trimmings AND dessert. Even better, it saves the hassle of the post-Christmas-dinner washing up! You’ve got to pre-book, so put it in your diary and get ready for a food feast.
4. Check out the Birmingham Christmas Market
If you want to venture a little further afield, why not head to the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market? It’s festive vibes all around, and even better, it’s right next to New Street station so very easy to get to if you come by train. The markets are running until December 23rd so you’ve got plenty of time to go. They can get busy in the evenings and at weekends, but they’re definitely still worth a visit. Hot chocolate and mulled wine galore, filled with lots of little trinkets and fab present ideas, they’re great to just wander around and soak up the charm.
If you want to do something more worthwhile this Christmas break, there’s plenty of volunteering opportunities in the local area. Last year I volunteered at Coventry Open Christmas, a shelter open 24/7 in Christmas week for the homeless and vulnerable. Shifts are as little as four hours long and you can help cook and serve food, help clients choose their clothing, pack up toiletry parcels or just have a chat. I can certainly vouch for the fact that the organisers do an amazing job running everything. They’re on the lookout for donations of clothes, bedding and cash in order to keep going so even if you can’t volunteer you can always help in other ways.
6. Panto Time!
If your essays are getting too much and you need some festive cheer, there’s nothing like heading to a pantomime. The Belgrade Theatre in Coventry has got Sleeping Beauty on until 5th January. They’ve got discounted tickets for students so it’s well worth the money. There are loads of restaurants in Coventry, and late night shopping every Wednesday before Christmas so it’s the perfect excuse to make an evening out of it!
For the rest of the time when you’re busy typing away on campus, make sure you check the Warwick Retail and the SU outlet Christmas opening hours: there’s nothing worse than walking to Curiositea for a little procrastinate over a chai latte to find out it’s closed (heartbreak I tell you, heartbreak).