A Merry Christmas on a Budget

It’s now December and that means dissertation and essay deadlines are just around the corner – but so is Christmas. It’s that time to play those famous and beloved tunes, eat copious amounts of turkey, chocolate and Christmas pudding and create that great Christmassy feeling with lots of decorations. What’s more, this Christmassy feeling can be created at university and on a budget.


One of the best parts of Christmas is to decorate the place with snowflakes, tinsel and figurines of Santa Claus, elves and Frosty the Snowman. Decorations can be expensive but all is not lost. Pound Land, the biggest single-price retailer in Europe, has everything needed to decorate the home – wreaths, novelty figures, window stickers and even a 60cm Christmas tree all for £1 each. Take a couple of hours out from revision, dissertation and essay writing, switch on those Christmas classics – Slade’s Merry Christmas Everybody is a must – and create a Winter Wonderland or Santa’s workshop with your friends.

And for the creative minds, download the app Pinterest on your phone or tablet and browse the various ways you can create your own decorations from scratch. Those empty vodka bottles may be useful after all.

Christmas at university would not be complete without attempting to cook a Christmas dinner. Team up with the flat or house next door, split the costs, share stoves and ovens and a university Christmas dinner may just be successful. Head on down to Iceland where you can pick up a turkey breast joint that serves ten to twelve people for just £10 – that’s a quid each between ten people – or for the more ambitious, Asda is selling a large turkey crown for £8. After that, it’s just potatoes, parsnips, stuffing, pigs in blankets and vegetables to sort out. There are tons of easy recipes online so cooking Christmas dinner should be successful and effortless – Channel 4’s ‘quick and easy Christmas dinner menu’ is a good place to start.

Christmas is the time for giving and what better way to start than organising Secret Santa among your house or flat? It may seem like a lot of work but it’s very simple – everyone involved picks a name from a hat, set a price limit of, say, £5 and let your imagination fly. Have a look in Gifted, a shop located on the first floor in Castle Mall, for silly, fun, cute and just plain awesome gifts for a low price. Then exchange those Secret Santa presents over Christmas dinner and enjoy the silliness and fun that follows.

For those musically talented people – and those who just want to make some noise – get a group of people together and head out Christmas carolling. It’s that time to sing Jingle Bells, Away in a Manger and all those treasured carols we sang every year at school. To really put on a show, find someone who can play a musical instrument, dress up all Christmassy – Santa hats, elf ears and reindeer antlers would be acceptable – and wander around the Golden Triangle and campus to spread that Christmas cheer. To top it all off, head down to the Norwich Cathedral in the centre of town for a night of carol singing on 5 December.

With a bit of saving, ingeunity and help from your friends, Christmas cheer doesn’t have to be something that is only reserved for when you get home. You can spread the holiday spirit right here at university.

Merry Christmas everyone, and remember – don’t forget the mistletoe!


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August 2021
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The University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper. Concrete is in print and online.

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