Bumper Christmas & New Year Daily Info printed sheet: on display from Tues 18th Dec - Thurs 3rd Jan. Deadline 10am, Mon 17th 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 2019: Fri 4th January. Deadline 10am, Thurs 3rd 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. Challenge yourself this year with our Christmas Conundrums Calendar, packed with puzzles and prizes, as well as recipes, stories and charitable links, all to a soundtrack of Christmas music from Oxford college choirs.
Pantos and Christmas shows
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:
- Carol Concerts
- Christmas Services
- Festive films
- Christmas Markets, Fairs and Art/Craft Exhibitions
- 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: Tue 18th December
1st Class: Thu 20th December
Parcelforce Worldwide express48: Thu 20th December
Parcelforce Worldwide express24: Fri 21st December
Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed: Sat 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.
Pedal and Post
Urban Delivery is changing. Choose Oxford's Eco delivery services. We have the largest Cargo bike fleet which are fast, reliable, cost effective and deliver come rain or shine. If it's a planned delivery or a last minute request, we'll always do our best to help.
Open on Monday 24th, normal hours
Closed Tuesday 25th
Closed Wednesday 26th
Closed Thursday 27th
Closed Friday the 28th
Open Monday 31st, normal hours
Closed Tuesday 1st
Then back to normal hours across 2019!
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.
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 National Rail 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
BP Cherwell Drive
Shell, London Road
Shell, Peartree Roundabout
Oxfordshire County Library
Christmas Eve: 9am-1pm
Christmas Day: Closed
Boxing Day: Closed
Thursday 27th to New Year's Eve: 9am-5pm
New Year's Day: Closed
Christmas Eve: 9am-5pm
Christmas Day: Closed
Boxing Day: 9am-6pm
Thursday 27th & Friday 28th December: 10am-8pm
New Year's Eve: 10am-5pm
New Year's Day: 10am-5pm
Mon 24th December 9am-5pm
Tues 25th December Closed
Wed 26th December 9am-7pm
Thurs 27th December 9am-7pm
Fri 28th December 9am-7pm
Sat 29th December 9am-7pm
Sun 30th December 11am-5pm
Mon 31st December 9am-5pm
Tues 1st January Closed
Wed 2nd January 9am-7pm
Bicester Village Outlet
Christmas Eve: 9am-7pm
Christmas Day: Closed
Boxing Day: 7am-9pm
Thursday 27th to Saturday 29th December: 9am-9pm
Sunday 30th December: 10am-7pm
New Year's Eve: 9am-7pm
New Year's Day: 10am-8pm
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
Want to give something back this Christmas season? Have a look at Daily Info's charity page for a list of the charities we're supporting this year. You can find a volunteering opportunity, stock up on your charity Christmas cards, or find a place to donate those unwanted Christmas socks.
Crisis Oxford are looking for volunteers over the Christmas period. If you're a keen chef or a handy hairdresser, get in touch and see how you can help. You can also sponsor a place at Crisis for Christmas, and help someone get out of homelessness.
Oxford Food Bank collect unwanted food from supermarkets and pass it on to over 80 charities around Oxfordshire. This year they are looking for voluntary entertainers for their Christmas Day meal.
Aspire Oxfordshire have launched their No Place Like Home Christmas Appeal, to help people at risk of homelessness stay in their homes over Christmas, and help those already on the streets to find safe accommodation and get into employment. They're aiming to raise £8500 - can you help them get there?
The Castle Tavern are running their Help the Homeless! Twelve Days of Christmas Project between 6th and 16th December. They're taking donations of health and hygiene items - take some along to the pub, and perhaps have a festive drink while you're there!
You can also donate to the Christmas Match Fund with Oxford Poverty Action Trust and Oxfordshire Community Foundation. OCF are offering to match all new donations to OxPAT from 10 December 2018 to 6 January 2019 - and gift aid applies, so your donation can be worth even more!
Community Christmas are committed to making sure that no elderly person is alone for Christmas (unless they want to be!) There are several Christmas lunches being held around Oxfordshire, many of which still need volunteers.
Oxonvolunteers are a great resource for finding short- or long-term volunteering opportunities.
If your New Year's resolution is to get more active or be more creative, why not become a session coach with KEEN? KEEN run workshops and events for children with disabilities, so whether you're good at sports, art or acting, you'll find your niche here.
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 or Serbian Spruces from 3-9ft (£18-£90). Potted trees and stands are also available. Collect from the Flagstaff gate (Thursday-Sunday) from 10.30am-4.30pm.
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. Delivery available from Abingdon to Witney. 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 ‘Khora Legal Support’, Athens, which provides essential free legal information and support to refugees in Greece. Prices vary according to tree sizes and shapes. 2nd - 23rd December, 10am to 6pm.
The Garden, 99-100 Covered Market, OX1 3DY
(01865) 240709 & 79 London Road, Headington, OX3 9AA (01865) firstname.lastname@example.org
4ft-10ft Nordmann Firs, from £40-£200. 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.
Oxford Eden To order email email@example.com
Oxford Edens are selling premium quality Nordmann Firs and they will donate money from every Christmas tree sold to Tackley School or Heyford Park Free School PTAs from each tree sold.
For more information visit the Oxford Edens website
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 24th November. Pot Grown trees also available from end of November.
Shop open from 4th Nov until 12 noon on Sun 24th Dec.
Daily: 9am-5.30pm & late night on Thu until 7.30pm.
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?
East Oxford Community Centre, 44b Princes Street, OX4 1HU are running a free Christmas lunch on the big day, 1-4pm, for everyone who wants to come along. Invite a friend or neighbour, and book your place at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oxford Food Bank will be hosting a free Festive Feast at the Kings Centre, Osney Mead, OX2 0ES between 12.30 and 4pm. Guests wanting transport need to contact email@example.com or phone 07535 314716.
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 stirring carefully to ensure complete sugary 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 lose. 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, check out our guide on Vintage, Charity & Fair Trade shops for some inspiration.
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 two days 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.
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: