Bumper Christmas & New Year Daily Info printed sheet: on display from Tues 19th Dec - Thurs 4th Jan. Deadline 10am, Mon 18th Dec.
Daily Info Christmas bonus: adverts placed in this edition last for two and a half weeks in print and online at no extra charge! Book yours now online or by email.
First issue of 2018: Fri 5th January. Deadline 10am, Thurs 4th Jan. Thereafter, back to normal - i.e. 2 issues per week for Tue & Fri. Deadlines 10am Mon & Thu.
Over Christmas you can continue to place adverts and event listings online via the website as normal. Just click here to place an advert or click here to place an event listing and follow the instructions. You can also email us with requests for box and line adverts - though we may not be able to get back to you with our standard rocket-ship immediacy as we'll be operating a skeleton staff until 3rd Jan. Queries? Email us.
From 1st December Daily Info's fantastic online Advent Calendar will be available for your delight and delirium. This year, it's a Quizzical Christmas with lots of brain teasers, word games and puzzles to keep your mind ticking over during the season's gorging! There'll be a new festive-themed game each day.
Pantos and Christmas shows
The Wind in the Willows - Fri 8th Dec - Sat 30th Dec
The Mill Arts Centre, Banbury, Spiceball Park, Banbury, OX16 5QE
A mad-cap, fun, heartwarming and generally bonkers adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s classic tale of the beauty of friendship and nature from Creation Theatre and Cherwell Theatre Company.
Sleeping Beauty - Wed 15th Nov - Sun 14th Jan
Chipping Norton Theatre, 2 Spring Street, Chipping Norton OX7 5NL
Heaps of jokes, oodles of fantastic original tunes and a good dash of British History combine to make this a Sleeping Beauty like no other.
Morgan and West: A (Sort Of) Christmas Carol Magic Show - Tues 5th Dec - Sun 24th Dec
Pegasus Theatre, Magdalen Road, Oxford OX4 1RE
The world’s most distinguished duo of time-travelling magicians Morgan & West present Charles Dickens’ timeless classic A Christmas Carol.
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King - Fri 8th Dec - Sat 30th Dec
Cornerstone Arts Centre, 25 Station Road Didcot OX11 7NE
Festive show brought to life with new songs and music, performed live by actor musicians.
The Borrowers - Thurs 16th Dec - Sun 31st Dec
The Watermill Theatre, Newbury, Bagnor, Newbury, (20m south of Oxford) RG20 8AE
A big-hearted adventure story full of magical live music, join the Borrowers for an action-packed Christmas treat!
Aladdin and the Magical Lamp - Sat 16th - Fri 22nd Dec
Jacqueline Du Pré Music Building, St Hilda's College, Cowley Place, Oxford OX4 1DY
Genie-us entertainment, puppetry, clowning and original songs. Perfect for 2-7 years old.
There are far too many carols, Christmas services and festive gigs to list on this page. Here are some handy links to lengthy lists of merriment:
- Christmas Services
- Christmas Markets and Fairs
- Alternative Xmas Knees-Ups
- New Years Eve events
The Royal Mail's recommended last posting dates for Christmas are as follows:
Within the UK
2nd Class: Wed 20th December
1st Class: Thurs 21st December
Parcelforce Worldwide express48: Wed 20th December
Parcelforce Worldwide express24: Thurs 21st December
Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed: Fri 22nd December
For more details, which show you when you should post your Christmas presents abroad (the usual answer is “last Tuesday” - it pays to be prepared!), see the Royal Mail website.
Some Post Offices are open later than expected in the run-up to Christmas, and some open at weekends when they'd usually be closed, but there isn't a hard and fast rule. You can search for your local Post Offices using the Royal Mail's Branch Finder and find your nearest branch with extended hours.
Limited services will be available over the Christmas period, as usual. The Oxford Bus Company have route specific timetables (available from their Christmas information page) detailing changes to their usual timetables and last bus times for all city routes from Christmas Eve to the 2nd January 2018.
On Christmas Day, an hourly coach service will operate to and from Heathrow and Gatwick airport.
Stagecoach offer a similar festive timetable on their Christmas and New Years page. Christmas Eve will see earlier last bus times, while the Oxford Tube runs hourly on Christmas Day, as well as the 1 service from Pegasus Road towards the city centre and back again.
If your festive bus isn't available, you may require alternative transport. The highest rate, rate 3, applies to all taxi fares from Christmas Eve at 8pm to 6am on 27th December. This rate is also in use from 8pm on New Year's Eve to 6am on the 2nd January 2018. See our Oxford Taxi Services page for a list of local numbers.
On Christmas Eve there will be reduced services, with most significant alterations after 6pm. For journey planning we recommend the Trainline website, which offers quick and simple timetable searching for your intended journey.
24 hour petrol stations over the Christmas and New Year period include:
BP Woodstock Connect
A40 Woodstock Road
BP MRH Cowley Service St
44-56 Oxford Road, Cowley
BP MRH Eynsham
Saturday 23rd December: 9am-9pm
Christmas Eve: 11am-5pm
Christmas Day: Closed
Boxing Day: 9am-7pm
Wednesday 27th December: 9am-9pm
New Year's Day: 11am-5pm
Clarendon CentreSaturday 23rd December: 9am-8pm
Christmas Eve: 11am-4pm
Christmas Day: Closed
Boxing Day: 9am-6pm
Wednesday 27th December: 9am-7pm
New Year's Eve: 11am-5pm
New Year's Day: 11am-5pm
Bicester Village Outlet
Thursday 21st December: 9am-11pm
Friday 22nd December: 9am-9pm
Saturday 23rd December: 9am-9pm
Christmas Eve: 9am-7pm
Christmas Day: Closed
Boxing Day: 7am-9pm
Wednesday 27th December: 9am-9pm
New Year's Eve: 9am-7pm
Christmas Eve: 8am-6pm
Christmas Day: Closed
Boxing Day: 8am-6pm
Wednesday 27th December: 10am-4pm
New Year's Eve: 8am-6pm
New Year's Day: Closed
Place At The Table
Special Big Christmas Lunch at Rose Hill Community Centre on Thursday 14th December from 12-2.30pm: hot food, a Christmas gift and a fantastic atmosphere! So if you're in need of company and a hot meal this December, please do come - you will be very, very welcome.
Oxford Food Bank Christmas Lunch
The Oxford Food Bank is organising a community Christmas Day lunch, with food donated by local supermarkets. It’s not just for those who have used their services, or those who might otherwise be alone for Christmas – it’s for everyone who fancies some festive cheer! Head along for food, music and family fun at the King’s Centre, Osney, OX2 0ES from 12.30pm until 4pm on Christmas day. Transport can be arranged if you need it. Contact Christmas@oxfordfoodbank.org to book the meal and/or transport. Here's what they got up to last year!
Community Christmas Dinner
EOCA are providing a Community Christmas Dinner at the East Oxford Community Centre. This is open for anyone in the area on Christmas Day from 12 noon. If you have dietary needs it's suggested that you book your place in advance. Free Please book on 07501887753 orby email email@example.com
The increasingly popular Nordmann has thickish dark green needles, and is non-drop. Blue and White Spruce have very pretty, thick, blunt needles but tend to shed them a little. Scots Pine holds its needles well, and its strong branches can cope with heavy decorations. Lodge Pole Pine is similar to Scots Pine. Small Fraser Firs can be bought potted, rather than cut, meaning they don't shed and have a rather pleasant fruity smell. Norway Spruce, while the most satisfyingly traditional-looking of all, is a dedicated shedder. This helpful guide on the Gardener's World website suggests a multitude of tips for reducing the chance of 95% of your tree's needles ending up in the vacuum cleaner a week before Christmas Day.
Where to buy
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, OX20 1PP
Nordmann Firs (£30-£105) and Norway and Serbian Spruces from 3-9ft (£18-£90). Potted trees and stands are also available. 7 days a week from the Flagstaff gate (Wednesday-Sunday) from 9.30am-5pm.
Chiltern View Nursery, Wendover Rd, Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury, HP22 5GX
Non-drop trees available from £20-£30 plus pop-up Ralph's Pizza will be serving a slice while you choose! Mon-Sat: 9am-5pm; Sun: 10am-4pm.
Farmer Gow's, Fernham Road, Longcot, nr. Faringdon, SN7 7PR
In Farmer Gow's Christmas tree barn (where the trees are stored away from the rain) you can make your purchase into an experience by warming up by the wood-burning stove with a cup of hot chocolate before you choose your tree. Locally grown, freshly cut Nordmann Fir, Norway Spruce, Koreanna Fir, Lasiocarpa Fir, Serbian Spruce & Blue Spruce. Pot-grown Norway Spruces and Nordmann Firs. Trees from £17 upwards. Mistletoe and handmade wreaths also available. Daily: 10am-5pm.
Flash in the Pan, 43 Oakthorpe Road, Summertown, OX2 7BD
/223a Banbury Road, OX2 7HS behind Oxfam
Ethically-sourced non-drop Nordmann Firs with a donation from every purchase going to the Migrant Centre London. Prices vary according to tree sizes and shapes. On 9th-10th and 16th-17th December only.
The Garden, 99-100 Covered Market, OX1 3DY
(01865) 240709 & 79 London Road, Headington, OX3 9AA (01865) firstname.lastname@example.org
4ft-9ft Nordmann Firs, from £40-£150. Same day delivery is possible. They can also make Christmas table decorations to order.
Covered Market: Mon-Sat: 8am-5pm; Sun: 10am-4pm. Headington: Mon-Fri: 8am-5pm; Sat: 8am-3pm.
Freshly cut Nordmann Fir trees pedaled to your door by poet Steve Larkin who also supplies bespoke poems and Christmassy accessories. £30-£65 and delivery is guaranteed a day either side of your preferred date.
Oxford Sea Cadets, Donnington Bridge, off Meadow Lane, OX4 4BJ
All proceeds go to the Oxford Sea Cadets. Various trees and sizes.
Daily from 3rd December: 8am-late.
The Tree Barn, Greenfield Farm, Christmas Common, Watlington, OX49 5HG
Small family business selling a wide variety of trees mostly grown on their farm. Cut trees available from 26th November. Pot Grown trees also available from end of November.
Shop open from 4th Nov until 3pm on Sun 24th Dec.
Daily: 9am-5.30pm & late night on Thu until 7.30pm.
Waterperry Gardens, nr. Wheatley, OX33 1JZ
Nordmann Firs, Norway Spruces and Serbians (1m-5m from £20-£150).
10am-5pm 7 days a week.
For information about recycling your Christmas Tree, see Oxford City Council's Christmas Recycling page, which also includes info on what to do with extra recyclable goods (wrapping paper, anyone?).
If you've had one burnt turkey too many, you may be considering abandoning your traditional home-cooked Christmas dinner for a more, er, professional affair. Booking in advance will be a necessity, of course, especially for larger groups. Some places also charge a deposit. We know of the following eateries serving lunch on the day:
Fancy a more communal Christmas Dinner? Check out our Volunteering at Christmas section!
Our techie's Really Fabulous Mulled Wine
After a few hours staring at a string of code, you need something to take the edge off life. [I know I could do with a drink.]
Take 1 orange, 1 lemon and 1 lime (if you have it) or whatever citrus fruit you have lying about.
Peel large peels of citrus skin with a vegetable peeler (or a knife - a zester will produce thin strands which you may feel compelled to strain out later).
Place in pan, on medium heat. You can put the peel in the pan as it heats up, so long as you're careful not to let it get too hot while you add the next ingredients. A bit of pre-toasting has a nice effect, though.
Add 100 grams of the darkest sugar you can find. Likewise, can be on the heat, if you're careful.
Squeeze the orange into the pan.
Add enough red wine to cover the sugar and the peel.
Make it BOIL. You want to reduce this down to a sticky thick dark syrup.
While you are making it boil (immediately) add 1 cinamon stick, 3 cloves, 1 bay leaf, loads or grated nutmeg, 1 cardamom pod and half a vanilla pod, split down the middle (if you have one - makes a nice flavour though).
Continue to make it BOIL stiring carefully to ensure complete sugery dissolution and lack of sticking and burning.
Before you made it boil, preferably ensure that the sugar is dissolved. Making it boil will help with this in most circumstances.
Once it's thick and sticky (about 5 mins depending on the ferocity of your saucepan and heating), turn the heat down and add 1 star anise (fennel seed works well too, though is a bit bitty in the glass) and add the rest of the bottle of wine.
Heat gently until it's warmed through. Balance the heat of the mull with the amount of alcohol you're willing to loose. Those in fear of having inhaled most of the booze while heating (it's rather nice, and no doubt good for the nostrils), do add brandy or dark rum at this point. (Though that does make the mull a little harsher - the finer balance is to be found in the unadulterated, carefully heated version. YMMV).
Serve in something heat-proof (or be daring) immediately.
A non-alcoholic alternative to your usual seasonal mulled beverage, this bottle is based on a traditional recipe made by Benedictine monks no less and contains all sorts of wild and wonderful herbs and spices. The office tee-totaller gave this 9/10 for its sheer proximity to mulled booze, and others felt similarly until asked to consider its resemblance to warm cola. Available from Holland and Barrett (£3.19), Uhuru (Cowley Rd), etc.
Ingredients: half a lemon, tablespoon of honey, shot of whisky per person.
- Squeeze lemon into a cup
- Add boiling water, melt the honey in it
- (Stop here if you don't want the whisky, or) add whisky and drink
Slow, loving version
- Grate some root ginger into a saucepan, about 1tbsp per person
- Add however many cups of water you want, dark brown sugar to taste, an orange (or an apple) stuck with cloves
- Bring to the boil once, then simmer for about 15 minutes
- Drain into cups and add whisky and the juice of half a lemon for each person
A useful tip if you have a disastrous toddy-making enterprise: you can salvage a cup of it for a very cold person by adding a slosh of Rochester's ginger wine (available from Holland and Barrett).
Every year huge amounts of money gets spent in the name of Christmas. Use your consumer power for good, by making sure that money goes, as much as possible, to local, small-scale, organic, fair trade and/or sustainable producers. Farmers' Markets are great for meat, veg, bread, conserves etc.
Buying second-hand is also a good eco choice. Oxford's full of brilliant charity shops, not least our own home-grown chain of Oxfam shops.
And for the hard-line anti-consumerists (and who amongst us doesn't occasionally feel like one of those around this time of year?) there's the option of a buy-nothing Christmas. This could involve getting gifts from swap-shops or perhaps thinking differently about what a present might be. Here is a site with a few suggestions.
If you really want to give presents but your friends and family already have everything they could possibly need, then perhaps you could help out the Oxford Gatehouse, a charity offering food, shelter and company to the city's homeless population. To find out how to make donations of food, time and money, click here.
Oxford City Council also asks us to remember that "wrapping paper, Christmas cards, champagne and sherry bottles, mincemeat and cranberry sauce jars and foil from the turkey can all be placed in the blue recycling bin". Also it's worth noting that waste collection from the week of 25th Dec will be one day later with normal collections resuming in the week of 1st Jan.
And for tasty recipes that might help avoid some food waste this festive season, visit england.lovefoodhatewaste.com/recipes.The Roald Dahl Museum Cracking New Year's Eve show for the family at 12, 1.30 and 3pm with Auntie Julie.
As you might expect, advance booking is a must for most venues unless otherwise stated. We know of the following events around town and further afield bringing you into 2018 in style:
The Bear and Ragged Staff, 28 Appleton Road, Cumnor, OX2 9QH
Dinner followed by music from Hippy Haze and dancing in the bar till the small hours. Dinner is £70pp and includes 5-course tasting menu and a glass of Prosecoo. To book, call 01865 862329 or email email@example.com NYE menu
The Bridge, 6-9 Hythe Bridge Street, OX1 2EW
Black and Gold Party with Bottega gold with three dancefloors. £8 super early bird tickets, £10 early bird, £12 advance, £15 on the door. VIP table packages for groups available from £21.50 per person. More details and booking
The Bullingdon, 162 Cowley Road
Cowley Road's New Year's Eve Festival fest. Dutty Moonshine Big Band, Zaia Soundsystem and Skylarkin Soundsystem and friends. Dress code: best festival wear! £20 plus booking fee.
The Cellar, Frewin Court, off Cornmarket
Representing the Cellar's five favourite underground genres - UKG, Bassline, Grime, Jungle and DnB - are D-Ninety, Naughty Nathm Effi Brooks, Charris and D-Ranged. 10pm-4am, £5 early bird, £8 advance, more on the door. More details and booking
Crazy Bear, Stadhampton, Bear Lane, Stadhampton, OX44 7UR
New Year's Eve party. Champagne reception, English and Thai banquet, burlesque, magic, live music from Fast and Frank from Fun Lovin' Criminals, DJ and dancing. 7pm-2am, £95 per person. To book, call 01865 890714 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Eynsham Hall Check in 2.30pm, check out midday 1st January 2017. Afternoon tea served from 2.30pm, seated 4-course dinner and disco in the evening, accommodation in either a cottage or lodge bedroom, and New Year's Day brunch. £155 pp for a standard room, £185pp for a main hall room. To book, call 01993 885200. More details and booking.
The Fishes, North Hinksey Village, OX2 0NA
Dinner (which is currently SOLD OUT but you can ring up on the day just in case) at 8pm is £55 including 4-courses, a disco, a glass of bubbly at midnight and a bacon sarnie for the journey home. Alternatively, bar tickets (which are not sold out) are £10 per head for a bar meal and also include a glass of bubbly and a bacon sarnie for the journey home. To book, call 01865 249796. Menu
The Fleece Hotel and Brasserie, 11 Church Street, Witney, OX28 4AZ
NYE party with DJ and party food, 7pm till late! Tickets £25, including a buffet and a glass of bubbly. To book, call 01993 892270.
Tap Social Movement,
Oxford's best DJ duo, Kwassa Kwassa will be playing at the taproom all night long. 7.30pm, bar open till 1am. £5 in advance, £7 limited on the doot tickets. To book, call 01865 510930 or visit website.
The Isis Farmhouse, Haystacks Corner The Towing Path Iffley Lock OX4 4EL
Founded by Oxford musician James Bell in order to provide a traditional English music session to complement Oxford's thriving Irish, Breton and Scandi nights, the 'Bastard' English Sessions are a friendly, inclusive space where anyone can play anything and be listened to with respect, and where drinking, irreverent humour and a little dancing add to the general atmosphere of good feeling. 8pm, free! More details.
The Red Lion Marston
Masquerade Party: A Night to Remember. Best dressed comp and disco. Free entry. To book your ticket, ring 01865 247761
The Rickety Press,
Vice City: 80s Party Town. 80s cocktails, music and dress code. £10 earlybird, £15 standard, limited space, arrive early to avoid disappointment. Live music, drinks until late.More details
The Varsity Club,
Victoria Arms, Old Marston
Prohibition Party. Live band, cocktails in teapots, roulette table and silent movies. £8 per person, tables from £30 per person. To book, call 01865 248777.
3-course meal from 7pm at £25 followed by free disco at 9pm. To book for the meal, call 01865 241382.
Victoria Arms, Old Marston