Santa's coming and it's time to get merry so put your Elf ears on and enjoy the best that Sheffield has to offer!
As a Sheffield graduate, chatting to some pals from uni we have all reached a common consensus - we never made the most of Christmas. Don't get me wrong, we excelled in some areas and those little nuggets I am going to share but we also took these limited years for granted. So, here I also include some things we wish we had focussed on, visited or embraced during our student years - some pearls of wisdom!
1. Make a Kitty Fund and Go Wild in Aldi
This is one thing me and my pals absolutely nailed every year without fail, the ten of us put £10 into a food and booze fund and hit Aldi. Can you imagine parading the isles willy-nilly with a £100 fund to blow?!
It's no surprise how much tat you can bung in a trolley with that amount of dollar! We prioritised booze - many a bottle of £2.50 red wine which we would warm in a massive vat with oranges and cinnamon... to make an industrial amount of DIY mulled wine.
We would next bung in crackers (Christmas and Jacobs) along with a strange concoction of foods which, for each of us, represented Christmas. Sharing all of our traditions together ultimately resulted in every type of potato under the sun being served!
We then sealed ourselves in the house, played Spotify's very best of bog-standard Christmas carols, ate, drank and played charades, until one by one we were all merrier than merry, ready to pop and snoring on the sofas.
Gather your nearest and dearest and plan a date for your very own supermarket sweep followed by a home lock in!
2. A Drive-in Cinema of Christmas Classics!
That's right, Sb12 entertainment is hosting a Christmas drive-in this year from Friday 14th through to Sunday 16th December. A Jam-packed weekend with all of your favourite Christmas classics including the likes of The Grinch and Love Actually.
To make things even better, a car service is provided... I’m not talking MOT folks; I’m talking sweets to the seats!
So crank those seats back and enjoy sitting under the stars watching an enlarged Hugh Grant jiggle his stuff!
3. Peddler Night Market
A great evening for those of you who have mates that are 'too skint' to do anything. Hold your excuses ladies and gents, this is free entry, and you can show up and enjoy the live music and performances for free! If that doesn't tempt them, maybe offer a Nutella crepe or craft cider incentive to your more penniless pals!
Feel the magic in the air with the lit up streets and silky brassy tones, whilst watching some brave woman swallow, blow and fling fire in every direction, a site worth seeing, I assure you.
The Christmas special is 2nd / 3rd December, go ahead and invest your time to local traders and a community of festive spirit!
4. A Boozy Stroll in the Peaks
If you're like me and think the idea of a nice stroll in the peaks sounds all well and good in theory but when you’re out in the arse-end of nowhere you think… I should have known better, then perhaps a little alcohol incentive into the mix is for you! Certainly, for me to exercise, I need a constant reward waiting for me every couple of kilometres, and what better than a pint and a pie!
This is easily doable for those without cars, you can hop on the bus from Sheffield to Hathersage and if you need a bit of Dutch courage to get you started, there is a wealth of traditional pubs right from the go! Following that, you can have a light pootle through to Castleton where The George Hotel awaits for your well-earned pit stop! Your beer jacket should be on by now and you should feel ready to blaze the final part of the trail to Edale, where The Old Nags Head is waiting to congratulate you on your boozy marathon. Now, feeling sloshed and merry all you need to do is hop on the train at Edale and shimmy off at Sheffield!
What are you waiting for?! Grab your thick Ski socks and your walking boots (or in the case of us millennials, the Timberlands) and blaze that trail in the crisp, frosty sunshine!
5. Sheffield City Light Switch On
A monumental moment for those of you avidly awaiting the advent countdown, as when that button is pressed, it’s official, Christmas is here and is being celebrated with events throughout the whole city centre! Stroll through the Christmas markets, grab yourself a bratwurst sausage and a mulled wine and maybe even a Disaronno candle for your aunty Susan from the stall that appears to have every flavour under the moon!
Every man and his dog get together in the heart of the city to spread cheer and positivity, which your purses and wallets will be delighted to hear costs a big fat nothing! So take an afternoon off from the madness of deadlines to soak in the local culture and crackin’ vibes, a therapeutic necessity this time of year when feeling bogged down with work and fighting the festive FOMO.
6. Get your Prit-Stick out for The Christmas Festive Factory
Think about this for a second, if someone in your life thought about something that is unique to you and made you a quirky keepsake, how amazing would that be?! Surely that is way more heart-warming than a scarf from Primark which you have dashed from aisle to aisle for the sake of finding something?!
The Christmas festive factory at Western Park Museum is hosting these craft sessions for a suggested £2 donation, which if you’re ballsy enough and have no shame… you can attend for free!
Even if the outcome is a felt fairy bauble that looks like it has been digested by a cat rather than crafted by the gods, as I said guys, it is honestly the thought that counts (or in the worst case scenario, it can get a few giggles!)
7. Bonkers Bingo Bouncing Bauble Special!
I’m sure you’re familiar with the new generation of bingo, where the balls appear to have been on steroids, bouncing up the walls! Well, this Christmas Mecca Bingo is hosting a bonkers bouncing bauble special on 20th December in Chesterfield, which I can imagine is going to be nothing short of wild!
So if you are one of those mad heads, where civilised crafts just won’t cut the mustard, grab your team and get rowdy with 5 shots too many. Who knows, you may even win BIG, or small… every little helps after all!
8. Chatsworth House & Christmas Markets
If you are looking for something tasteful to take your parents to, this is it! There is something about the mix of old listed buildings and cheese stalls that makes the middle-aged melt at your feet!
A festive delight, with over 100 stalls, you'll be spoiled for choice to find something for your Secret Santa, a stocking filler or perhaps a lil’ something to treat yo’self just because we all deserve a pamper (all the time).
To top it off, there is plenty of yummy foods to sample, and what student isn’t a sucker for a gourmet burger or churros? You're guaranteed to feel a warm gooey sense of bliss!
9. Quest for Rudolph in Big Moor!
Oh yes, I said it, and I meant it. Fill your flask with coffee or mulled wine if you’re feeling frisky and head for the hills of Big Moor! Here in the Derbyshire Dales, you can witness Britain’s largest mammal, the Red Deer, in one of their only wild herds, a growing population that were likely cheeky escapees from Chatsworth Park. Imagine it now, their silhouettes arising over the top of the moorlands as the sun sets - not a bad setting, some may even say quite idyllic!
10. Christmas Cocktails by the Fire at Inc. Rooftop Bar
Just because the nights are getting shorter and colder (god, don’t we know it), that’s no excuse not to hit a rooftop bar when Inc bar is pulling out all the stops to make sure you’re sitting comfortably in front of a fire, with a hot water bottle and a festive Christmas cocktail! They will not disappoint with their cocktail line up, with concoctions infused with ginger, clementine, cinnamon and all the Christmassy aromas! Enjoy the view of the city lights whilst slurping the night away!
A Final Thought…
A little reminder: the magic of uni doesn’t last forever, so try to say yes every now and again. As when it is all over and done with, you won’t look back fondly over that report you spent way too long not working effectively on, you will think of that time your pal inhaled gravy and sprayed it out of their nose all over you!