Autumn is turning slowly into winter. British villages, towns and cities are being decorated with lights and pine trees, in some places Nativity Scenes are being arranged, and a lot of houses are already glowing with lights and Christmas baubles. ‘Jingle bells, jingle bells…’, ‘Let it snow…’, ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas…’ – these are just a few of many tunes coming out of shops and getting stuck in every passerby’s mind. It is not long to wait until Christmas celebrations come into full swing. The festive mood takes over the whole country, and schools are no exception.

It is very common for schools to organise their very own Christmas fairs – children from a range of age groups across the school, school staff and parents are involved. School Christmas fair might be missing mulled wine tasting sessions, but they do have Santa’s Grotto, lots of stalls and fun activities run by senior school pupils as well as parent and staff volunteers, carol singing and lots of festive cheer. A lot of things sold at fairs are handmade by students themselves: such events encourage children to develop their craft skills.

As a part of winter festivities, Millfield School in Somerset, Bedford School in Bedfordshire and many other independent schools and universities across the UK host Christmas Balls. To make things even more exciting, events are frequently themed, such as 1920-s or Victorian Christmas Ball, with beautiful gowns and live music. Raffle tickets are usually sold at such events to raise funds for the hosting school or university, or a chosen charity.

In view of upcoming celebrations, schools usually offer Christmas lunch with a special menu and traditional Christmas crackers, first introduced by London sweet maker Tom Smith in 1845-1850. It is yet another great opportunity for international students to learn about English history and traditions. However, not everyone is lucky enough to celebrate Christmas in beautiful surroundings with friends, as the famous song reminds, ‘Christmas is a time for giving…’ So, a lot of university students are encouraged to volunteer at various ‘Christmas Dinner for the Homeless’ events across the country.

Once formal celebrations and activities are over, day students and boarders will have an opportunity to spend time with families and friends during the long-awaited end of term holidays. No matter which religion they belong to, everyone will find something to enjoy this Christmas.

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