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The University of Leicester’s free student newspaper @uolripple Issue Seven

Semester One

Christmas Special Edition

Festive Special Edition

Image by Usman Bin Omar

The Ripple wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! In this issue...

Gift Ideas

What’s On

Festive Food and Drinks

New Year



Edited by Sarah O’Rourke

Merry Exec-mas! by Harry Wells As the nights grow colder and the end of term draws closer, even the Students’ Union dares to start thinking about Christmas, it seems. This year, as well as the Union’s general Christmas campaign, each of your

Executive and Liberation Officers are going to use one of the twelve days of Christmas to talk about one of their key goals for the year, under the tagline “All I want for Christmas is...” On each of the days, the relevant officer will run an event on campus, publicise their mini-cam-

paign via the Union website and hopefully get as many students involved as possible in spreading some holiday happiness. At The Ripple, we know the main thing about the twelve days of Christmas that excites you will be the countdown to going back home for free food and the endless waves of cheap drinks nightclubs will offer you at their Christmas events, but read on, you might find these new ideas come in fairly close to the top of your list! Although the campaign has not been officially published yet, The Ripple can reveal an exclusive preview of the things to come. Anastasia Mamaeva, International Officer, is using her Christmas cheer to make sure that international students staying in Leicester for the holidays feel as welcome as possible. “We’re going to put on events over the break for international students and make sure that we liaise with faith groups and the wider international community in the city so that nobody feels left out. It can be difficult being away from your

Leicester clocktower at Christmas time. Image by Flikr user ash-brown.

Editor’s Note by Samuel Osborne Editor-In-Chief Following a short hiatus, we’re pleased to bring you this very special Christmas issue of The Ripple! A Festive Issue In this paper we’ve got some great articles designed to get you into the Christmas mood! There’s a delightful Christmas Lists page covering songs, films, games and Christmas markets - I was especially pleased to discover Rage Against The Machine amongst other Classic Christmas Songs! Though I was heartbroken to be reminded of the film The Snowman, which made me cry as a child... Our What’s On section caters for those staying in Leicester over the holiday and we’ve got a page of Christmas related Food and Drink, with a Features section looking at Hanukkah and Christmas charity. Rounding the issue off we’ve got a page dedicated to New Year’s


This Week’s Team

Puzzling Developments

Editor & Designer: Emily Gussin

A few weeks ago, I received a message on my Facebook wall, which told me that my friends had noticed this newspaper was “lacking in certain form of intellectual quizzery”. These friends then offered, very kindly, to produce some of the puzzles that adorn the back page of this festive issue. If this proves popular, we’re considering including this as a regular feature in the future... Until Next Year... I’d like to thank all our contributors and readers so far, hopefully you’ve enjoyed this year’s Ripple and are looking forward to reading it again next year. See you in 2014!

Write for us... If you have an idea for an article or would just like to be assigned articles, please email the section editor relevant to your idea or tastes. For general enquiries email:

family at Christmas, especially if you’re studying here from somewhere on the other side of the globe, but we want to show that any member of the Union can still have a great time.” President Dan Flatt will be asking for plenty of vegetables for his Christmas dinner, courtesy of the Union’s new Green Impact project. “We’re setting up a sustainable vegetable plot in conjunction with the University’s Environment Team and their volunteers, and hopefully that will lead to the café on site selling produce grown right next to it, and freshly prepared by trained students and staff. I think it’s a bit late to get the brussels sprouts grown on time, but maybe next year we’ll have them ready!” Distance Learner Officer, Harry Wells, is going to take the rare opportunity presented by Christmas to connect with students around the world and spread Christmas spirit from Leicester to Lapland and back. “I’ve got distance learners ready to send photos of their Christmas celebrations with seasons greetings to students here in Leicester, from countries like the USA, France,

and Germany”, Harry says. “That way I can use my day to show students in the Union how Christmas is celebrated by their colleagues abroad, put up some nice pictures, and hopefully start up some pen-pal relationships between students here on campus and students abroad! Who doesn’t want a pen-pal for Christmas?” Education Officer Michael Rubin has entered the holidays with only your studies in mind and will be telling Santa that all he wants for Christmas is… personalised feedback on each of your exam manuscripts. He says that “students shouldn’t just get a number on a piece of paper. I want text feedback on all examinations so you know where you went wrong and how to improve for next time.” Sean Kelly-Walsh, Engagement Officer, is tying the holiday into his priority campaign to get a better deal for students with Arriva, so cheaper bus fares are at the top of his Christmas list. “The Union has worked hard to get rid of hidden course costs. The next target is exorbitant bus fares. Students are practically forced to buy a bus pass in their first year and are therefore forced to pay extor-

tionate prices. We as a Union need to fight for a better deal for students and that is what we are doing. Plus, with the money you save, you can do next year’s Christmas shopping!” As well as this, the rest of the team and the four new Liberation Officers will be running a campaign on their days; the details of which haven’t yet been finalised. There are even rumours that the Union will be running giveaways linked to each of the twelve days in order to help promote them, which undoubtedly means free sprouts and marked exam papers! And hopefully a few more interesting prizes too. Unfortunately, these are all the details we have right now, but with seven more Executive & Liberation Officers yet to outline their campaigns there will undoubtedly be plenty more exciting news to come. On top of this, the Union will be asking students what they want for Christmas by giving them the chance to suggest new products for Union shops to stock! What more could you want for your holiday celebrations? Your Executive Team wishes you a very merry Christmas, and a happy New Year!

12 Days Editor: Sarah O’Rourke What’s On Editor: Nikki Skinner Christmas Lists Editor: Emily Boneham Gifts Editor: Samantha Blundell Food & Drink Editor: Katie Masters Features Editor: Karina Maduro

Students’ Union Executive Team

Design Assistant: Inga Siugzdinyte Editorial Executives Editor-in-Chief: Samuel Osborne Deputy Editor: Alexander French Operations Team Secretary: Mel Agnew Advertising and Marketing: Lauren Swain Print and Distribution: Hollie Brookes Online Development: Vicki Clarke Events: Olivia Milizia President Christopher Everett

Students’ Union Executive Team with newly-elected Liberation Officers







Subject to licence.



Edited by Nikki Skinner

Get Festive in Leicester This December by Mona O’Brien It’s that time of the year again, sleigh bells are ringing, chestnuts are being roasted and stockings are getting ready to be hung up. Also tempera-

tures are falling rather rapidly and students are piling on the layers faster than Santa can get from Tokyo to Turin. To be fair, winter is usually not very conducive to leaving your dressing gown or your house (even if it is as cold in there as it is outside!) However, there are several very good reasons that you should put the coat on and brave it this winter! There’s nothing like a bit of festive cheer and general winter jollity to warm the cockles of your heart (though I’m afraid I can’t make any promises regarding your extremities). The first injections of festive cheer have already been delivered; as some of you probably already know the Christmas lights have been switched on in Leicester and, of course, the ob-

ligatory Christmas tree is looking lovely by the clock tower too. Why not take a break some evening and go for a walk to see them? (Accompanied by a hot chocolate perhaps?) And there’s lots and lots more to

quite shopped-out yet, on the December 9th there will be the All We Want for Christmas Arts & Craft Fair at Pedestrian Arts featuring more talented local artists with handmade gifts, mulled wine and mince pies. Or why not treat yourself to an early Frohe Weihnachten? Birmingham, which is twinned with the city of Frankfurt, has its very own genuine German Christmas Market. On now until December 22nd, it is packed full of great gift ideas and scrummy German treats. If you can, it is usually better (less busy) to go during the week!

Are you looking for something a bit more creative? Try your hand at some personalised Christmas cards, tags and decorations using all sorts of different techniques at Wygston’s House (LE1 5LD) for a Christmas Creations Workshop on December 7th (£15). Getting crafty is always a great way to give something personal at Christmas, especially if first semester at university has seen your funds starting to significantly dwindle!

Everyone loves a good Christmas tale, and on December 12th Dr Jane Mackay will be doing Literature at Lunchtime at De Montfort Hall with Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. If you fancy something a bit spooky then perhaps Spirits of Christmas with a few seasonal ghost tales at the Guildhall

come too! Gifts Image by flickr user Valters Krontals

Food If you’re looking for something yummy, both the vegetable shops on Queen’s Road as well as many of the stalls in the market are now stocking chestnuts (you can roast them in the oven instead of the traditional fire to make a nice study snack) and other festive favourites. Meanwhile, on December 5th there will be a Farmers Market at Gallowtree Gate. Crafts

Comedy If laughs are what you’re looking for, then head down to Just the Tonic, where they will be showcasing a special programme of ‘Christmas Comedy’, from November 30th to December 21st. The line-up includes a mixture of well-known comics from the circuit as well as some upand-coming artists, all of which

Story Telling

Image by DeviantArt user LilyWyte

If you’re having the annual panic about what to get Mum, Dad, siblings, Granny and the dog then Leicester has plenty of creative offerings to help you get them something really special. On December 1st there is the Clarendon Park Christmas Fair, with 50 stalls, lots of local producers and crafters as well as some music and a lovely community atmosphere. Then on December 7th Makers’ Mart will be taking up residence in the Curve with a contemporary craft fair. And on the same day the Guildhall will also be hosting a craft fair, as will St Martin’s Square. Then if you’re not

day December 2nd at 7.30pm,

Image by flickr user Φίλιππος(Phill)

£5 (including refreshments and programme) also at Leicester Cathedral. Pantomime What Christmas celebrations would be complete without a traditional Christmas pantomime?! Leicester has a number on offer at favourite venues, but we will be sure to head to Curve for their production of Little Red Ridding Hood. Running from December 11th to January 4th, there is plenty of time to catch this adaptation of the much loved childhood classic by Olivier award winning writer Mike Kenny. Tickets cost £12. Traditional Celebrations

Image by flickr user gazedd

on December 20th is for you. Music and Carols There is a lot going on musically with a plethora of concerts and choir recitals throughout the next two months. Just two of these are the Leicester Cathedral Advent Carol Service on December 1st at 3pm and LOROS Carol Service, Mon-

Would you like to go back in time for Christmas? Well you’ve got two chances this year! A Traditional Christmas will be taking place at Belgrave Hall and Gardens on December 14th and will include Victorian dancers and a magical lantern show. Or if you’d like to go even further back in time there will be a Medieval Christmas at the Guildhall on December 22nd.

Paul McCaffrey, appearing at Just the Tonic December 11th-13th

are sure provide a laugh in this great venue with lots of christmassy atmosphere. Theatre If you’re wanting to add a bit of seduction, scandal and showbiz to your Chirstmas, then head to Curve, which will be showcasing a new prodcution of Tony Award-winning musical Chicago, running from November 29th to January 18th. This West End favourite is sleek, glamorous and will be sure to out a smile on your face. Tickets start at £21. Or perhaps enter our competition to see the production completely free! So don’t be a Scrooge this winter - grab a few friends, go and do something and get involved with a bit of the festive cheer to get you through the cold winter with a smile on your face!

Win Tickets for Chicago at Curve! We’ve teamed up with Curve to offer the chance for 3 lucky readers to win a pair of tickets to see their production of Tony Award-winning musical Chicago on 23 Dec at 7.30pm. Set in 1920s Chicago, this sleek, sexy show tells the story of scintillating sinners Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly, their crimes of passion and their outrageous

pursuit of fame and celebrity. But murder, adultery and corruption are no match for their manipulative, smooth talking lawyer, Billy Flynn. He’ll razzle dazzle us ‘til we’re begging for more! With musical favourites including ‘All That Jazz’, ‘Cell Block Tango’ and ‘Razzle Dazzle’, Chicago is a magnificent Broadway

and West End classic. Now this spectacular production, directed by Paul Kerryson, is set to take Leicester by storm! To enter the competition, simply email and title your email Chicago Competition by Wednesday 11th December. Winners will be notified directly by email.



Edited by Emily Boneham

Classic Christmas Songs Christmas Markets The greatest Christmas tunes, as selected by Peter Gilbert

Emily Boneham gives her pick of Britain’s festive marketplaces

The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl – ‘Fairytale of New York’ Surely the easiest choice ever made? No explanation needed, move on.

Birmingham’s Frankfurt Market November 14th-December 22nd

Mariah Carey – ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ This is definitely the most danceable of all Christmas tunes. If you ever needed a track to get your grandma grooving after one too many glasses of port, then this would be it.

sion. I mean, who wants Dizzee Rascal rapping in a Christmas song?!

stinct? Pull out the air trombone and parp along to the track. It’s okay, we’ve all been there.

Rage Against The Machine – ‘Killing in the Name’ Not really a Christmas song, but it’s a really good song that got the Christmas number one! Every family loves the warm and cosy lyrics that are ‘F**k you, I won’t do what you tell me!’ Oh wait, no they don’t.

John Lennon & Yoko Ono – ‘Happy Christmas (War is Over)’ This is a beautiful track by one of the best musicians ever to have lived. Period. The Darkness – ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)’ Released in 2003, this song didn’t make the Christmas number one spot. I bet you can’t name the song that actually got top spot that year!

Image by flickr user Fionn Kidney Image by flickr user KWSW

Wizzard – ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’ One for the kids, even if the frontman looks slightly creepy… Band Aid – ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ By Band Aid, I mean the original all-star line-up and not the rip-off that was the 2004 ver-

Slade – ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ This is probably the most famous of all Christmas songs. IIITTT’S CCCHHHRRRIIISSST T TMMMAAASSS!!! Ahem, sorry about that. I don’t know what came over me… Jona Mathis – ‘Stop The Cavalry’ It’s Christmas day. This song comes on. What’s the natural in-

Festive Films by Peter Sayce

A good film is as much a part of the modern Christmas tradition as carving the turkey or wearing cringe-worthy woolly jumpers. So when the presents have been unwrapped and the crackers pulled, sit back and watch one of these festive favourites!

The Muppet Christmas Carol A unique take on the quintessential Christmas story; with light-hearted fun, catchy songs and a surprisingly dark undertone, this is fun for the whole family.

Rise of the Guardians Jack Frost, Santa Claus and other mythological figures unite against a terrifying foe that wants to destroy all the goodness in the world. Much less corny than you would believe, this is good, clean, heart warming fun. Die Hard An essential addition to this list, but this ultimate action film is really nothing more than the story of one man trying to reconcile with his wife, who must first overcome a few obstacles. With a hail of gunfire. And explosives. Miracle on 34th Street Richard Attenborough excels in his role as the kindly and mysterious Kris Kringle. Though this version is a remake, it is probably more accessible for modern viewers, while not distracting from its core message of Christmas goodwill.

Spanning over Victoria Street, New Street, Centenary Square and Chamberlain Square, Birmingham has been twinned with Frankfurt for over 40 years. With reindeer, handmade gifts and traditional Gluhwein, there’s something for everybody! Within easy reach by train from Leicester station and for under £20, Birmingham Frankfurt market could be the perfect break from those pesky deadlines.

snuggly knitwear or your own bottle of Yorkshire punch, Lincoln market has something for everyone! For just under £20 for a Leicester to Lincoln return train journey, you can’t go wrong. Edinburgh Epiphany November 22nd-January 5th Not one but three Christmas markets will fill Edinburgh’s streets this year; a Scottish market, a children’s market and a European market! Edinburgh is packed with Christmas treats,

including a fir tree maze to get lost in for those who want to embrace their inner child and a performance of Bing crosby’s classic, ‘White Christmas’ ( Don’t get too excited ... at £166.50 return, the cost of train tickets will likely leave you with no spending money! All prices are taken from using a student railcard and are likely change depending on the date and time of travel.

Lincoln Christmas Market 5th-8th December Image by flickr user ruleof2thirds

Shakin’ Stevens – ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ I like watching the Top Of The Pops video for this, just for the rather bizarre hip action. They don’t call him Shakin’ Stevens for nothing…

With over 250 stalls in the medieval square, Lincoln market is steeped in 2000 years of history. The Norman castle and gothic Cathedral provide the perfect backdrop for that last-minute Christmas shopping dash. Whether you’re looking for some tasty German sausage,

Image by Flickr user Byronv2

Stocking-Filler Games Monty Python’s Life of Brian This hilarious comedy crosses the line several times, but is guaranteed to clear up any post-Christmas dinner blues. Love, Actually A modern classic of love and the true meaning of Christmas. Take a sip of sherry whenever you see a famous British actor. The Greatest Store in the World A little known gem about a homeless family who move into a department store for Christmas. Despite the undeniable festive spirit and acting talent in this film, its biggest draw is an S Club 7 cameo halfway through. It’s a Wonderful Life The fantastic story of hope and redemption at Christmas that is often imitated, but never surpassed. A classic. The Snowman Simple, timeless and elegant. Christmas joy for everyone.

Home Alone Combining festive cheer, slapstick comedy, and mild child abuse, this classic captures the Christmas spirit in a way that its many sequels can’t. The Snowman

by Richard Fallon An article of the best Christmas-themed video games would be short and almost entirely tragic, so instead we’ve come up with a list of the games that have made the most people happy upon their unwrapping underneath the spruce – or should have done. And because it’s Christmas and a time for nostalgia, we’re talking childhood here, which means nothing past the sixth-generation consoles. Rather liberally we’ve taken this list to include November and December, and in return quite sternly restricted it to the dates games were released in the UK. No Japan dates and no US. This is when you opened up these games… unless you’re Japanese or American, of course, in which case you’d probably already finished them. Sonic 2 (Mega Drive, 1992) The peak of the franchise with the best music on the Mega Drive, sporting tracks like ‘Chemical Plant Zone’, unforgettable worlds like Chemical Plant Zone, and satisfying challenges – like Chemical Plant Zone. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Playstation, 1997) A platforming masterpiece with astounding spritework, a rocking soundtrack by Michi-

ru Yamane and gameplay that takes the player on a rollercoaster tour of Dracula’s magnificent castle as it had never been seen before. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64, 1998) Quite the game to receive at Christmas. Of all the contenders on this list Shigeru Miyamoto’s Ocarina of Time has easily been referred to as ‘the greatest game of all time’ the most by a wide margin. Soulcalibur (Dreamcast, 1999) Fighting game perfection and one of the greatest arguments

for that tragic voyager- the Dreamcast. It certainly revolutionised the fighting genre and its polish is something we don’t see much of in the world of updates and patches today. Silent Hill 2 (PS2, 2001) The best games are those that take advantage of everything the console is, and I think it’s safe to say that the fuzzy, misty, rusty Silent Hill 2 is more horrifying by far on the fuzzy, misty, rusty PS2 than it ever would have in HD – as was proved by the HD Collection.



Edited by Emily Gussin & Samantha Blundell

A Gift For You, ‘Tis the Season to Wear a Christmas A Gift For Me Jumper! Make a day out together the gift for your loved one this year by Oliver Wright Stuck for what to get one of your loved ones for Christmas this year? Well why not be cheeky and organise an outing that you can go on together. This way, you get to be a touch selfish and spend your money on something that you will enjoy too. Of course, you also get to enjoy quality time together and make the most of the Christmas break.

might want to stretch to a pub lunch too! I recommend Bradgate Park; this idilic area is so close to the city but filled with beautiful scenery and rambling deer, with several great pubs dotted around. Ice Skating

Walk and Pub Why not head out for some fresh air? Trust me you’ll need it after spending all that time cooped up with the relatives – too much time around squabbling siblings, moaning grandparents and opinionated aunties can take its toll. Leicester is surrounded by beautiful countryside which makes it a prime spot for a festive hike. But all that walking can be thirsty work which means you really must make a detour to the pub around halfway through. Potentially, the person you pose this as a gift for might expect a little more money spent on them than the cost of a round so you

be a good laugh but I would advise against alcohol consumption beforehand: the bruise count goes up massively. Afternoon Tea Returning to ideas that involve minimal risk to your physical wellbeing, afternoon tea is something special that doesn’t cost the world. Leicestershire’s Stapleford Park Country House Hotel offer Traditional Afternoon Tea for £19.50 or (if you

by Kelsie Morris

It is that time of year again, where fashion takes a festive turn. We all love a Christmas jumper and they’re a brilliant gift idea. I’ll be wearing mine with a pair of skinny black jeans and heeled boots. Here is my pick of what the high street has to offer. Novelty Knits

er(£50), New Look red Ho Ho Ho (£20),New Look Jolly fluffy jumper (£25), Miss Selfridge Dear Santa Christmas jumper (£28). These chic Christmas jumpers are perfect for those wanting to make a simple but cute Christmas statement.

Image by flickr user fsse8info

Take a short train journey from Leicester and you can find your way to Nottingham’s outdoor ice rink. The ice rink is found in Old Market Square which is always done up in fine festive style to get you feeling Christmassy. Don’t be put off if you’re not a great skater, you’d be surprised how much fun falling over can be! Roller Disco Keeping to ideas that might well end up with you falling flat on your face, it might be an idea to try out a roller disco. Every Tuesday and Friday Midlands Roller Arena puts on a roller disco for a reasonable price. In my experience roller discos can

Traditional fairisle jumpers Top (L-R); Primark (£12), New Look (£27.99). Bottom (L-R); Primark (£12), Asos (£38). Image by flickr user rc!

feel like pushing the boat out) Champagne Afternoon Tea for £31.75. So if you fancy a day out which is not weather dependent, and the person you are buying for would appreciate a quaint English tea in the country, then this could be an option for you. So if you’re struggling for gift ideas, don’t forget that little excursions can be just as fun! They can also leave you with some great memories to treasure for years to come.

Some people love getting presents, fewer enjoy buying them. With student Secret Santa, I can guarantee this will completely invert your views. Receiving gifts will become something to dread whereas picking out the best present for full friend humiliation will fill you with elation. £10 is a reasonable limit with our budgets but this is still a small amount – you must be inventive. Depending on your

ruthlessness, you need to decide the percentage of money you will split between the joke and the actual worthwhile gift.

Simple Jumpers Clockwise; Missguided Holly jumper(£17), River Island grey sequin reindeer (£38), Asos Christmas tree (£30), Primark I love Santa (£12), Topshop knitted sequin present jump-

Some combinations: Everyone has that friend who won’t go anywhere without his flip flops. So even though they’re commonly known to extract anger and ridicule from every other housemate, buying him a new pair will be funny to you, but he will actually love it. Couple them with some beers and a book. Result: Moderately

evil present. Getting some nail polishes, gloves and chocolates seem nice but when overshadowed by a wooden framed, beautifully artistic chart of all the guys your mate has slept with, she’s going to want the floor to open and swallow her up. This can be awkward if other housemates do not know of her conquests. Result: Pretty damn humiliating. Giving your secret santa a beautiful set of drawing pencils and a

Remember December 13th is Annual Christmas Jumper Day in honour of Save the Children, so make sure you’re wearing yours around campus.

The novelty knit is a Christmas classic and these attention grabbing beauties will make you the centre of attention on Christmas Day. If you are looking to go all out, this pastel coloured Christmas tree jumper from New Look lights up!

The‘Perfect’ Secret Santa by Sarah Williams

Clockwise; Boohoo Snowflake

This is the best option for those of you looking for a more timeless traditional Christmas jumper that will look good year after year. The print on this grey Oasis jumper is subtly Christmassy so it will look good all winter long.

Image by flickr user SalFalko

sketch book. Result: Missing the point of the game. So, how to pick the perfect gift. The trick is to listen out to what your friend mentions is something they want. You have to listen carefully because they won’t be directly asking you; the best

jumper (£15), Asos reindeer fairisle jumper (£38), Boohoo Alexia reindeer jumper (£20), Oasis via Asos fairisle jumper (£45).

P.S. ASOS, MissGuided, Miss Selfridge and Boohoo all offer a 10% student discount with a valid NUS card number or a Unidays code.

ones are when they didn’t even realize they’d said it out loud yet. It could be a book, a CD, make-up brushes or even just a bottle opener because they’re lost without one.

them the one direction ‘documentary’ because you found out they love them. Or maybe if you are a truly horrible/brilliant friend (depending on your outlook on friendship) you will steal their phone/laptop when undetected and set up a date with someone you know is a bit too in love with them but they cannot stand.

Another tip, place yourself next to them whenever you sit down. Don’t be afraid to stare at their computer screen – subtly of course! This is a great way to see what they shop for when they know they can’t afford it. As for the humiliation present, this is quite easy. Living together, we create a lengthy list of inside jokes and unfortunate experiences. Simply pick one that you can turn in to a physical gift. You could be tame and buy

At the end of it, when all is wrapped and ready to present, as long as you stick to your guns and can handle the reaction of your friend you are in for a great day. Remember: this year’s presents will be the ultimate influence for next years. Make sure you can handle it.

ACTIVITIES Edited by Alexander French

Here Are a Few of Our Favourite (Christmas) Things!

Presents, roast dinners, carols, Doctor Who… Everyone has their personal favourite Christmas pastime. We asked everyone on The Ripple team to tell us how they like to enjoy the festive season. Here’s what they had to offer - from the sublime to the ridiculous... Samuel: “For me, Christmas serves as a break from University life and the perfect excuse to spend some quality time with both family and friends. Most importantly, it’s a time for eating large meals and drinking copiously while bathing in the warmth of the fire… It’s also a slightly distressing time, as Christmas celebrations are always overshadowed by the oppressive regime of exam revision…” Mel: “I love Christmas Eve because I get to go to London with my parents and watch a play, then we take a lovely stroll along the Thames through the Christmas market. And my dad buys me a burger!”

old.” Samantha: “The best thing about Christmas for me is the look of utter happiness and surprise on my family or close friend’s faces when they open the present I’ve

Image by flickr user Angela Leese

spent months deliberating over.” Katie: “I like to play board games with family - Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit are the favourites - while eating far too much unhealthy, albeit very festive, food!”

stuffing my face with any chocolate going (even Bounty!)” Nikki: “One of the best things about Christmas is staying up drinking my Mum’s amazing hot chocolate on Christmas Eve waiting for midnight- we always watch our favourite Christmas film (Miracle on 34th Street) and then turn all the lights off in our house and light candles and then tell Christmas stories until we can wish each other Merry Christmas officially at midnight! It’s something we’ve done every year without fail since I

er to play board games and get competitive!”

Image by flickr user Ivana Di Carlo

Alexander: “I spend my Christmas listening to Frank Turner’s version of ‘Last Christmas’ on repeat, wailing along to the chorus like I really mean it.”

Alistair: “I like to take advantage of having a free house to let it all hang loose! Being able to leave my room without clothes and get on with day-to-day tasks is a joy, so long as I’m not cooking a super-hot chilli dish, or collecting the post from outside.” Patrick:

Conor: “I enjoy eating a lot of food and relaxing.”

Image by flickr user Bert Kommerij

Christopher: “I like to sit in The Ripple office with a life size cutout of myself and SuBo’s new Christmas album, turning up the volume to hide my lonely tears.”


Image by flickr user Lindsay

was a child.” Sarah: “I enjoy watching marathons of Cheaters!” Image by flickr user Alice Harold

Karina: “I like waiting for midnight to open my presents, because Christmas is the only time of year when it’s acceptable to still act like an over-excited five year

Tejal: “I like to dress up my guinea pigs and eat mince pies!” Jamie: “I tend to lounge on the sofa wearing horrible tacky jumpers

Emily G: “I like to experiment with festive baking. Last year, instead of a chocolate log, I made a cinnamon and pear log. I also made mini-gingerbread houses for my little cousins.”

Festive Forethought Elizabeth Adetula shares her tips on preparing for Christmas With November now over, ‘tis the season to be jolly! As December looms ahead we’re bombarded with adverts, Christmassy store items and decorations, younger siblings waving around their present wish lists, mince pies and of course, advent calendars. As well as that, there are also the lengthy Christmas holidays we get to look forward to as students. Personally, I think the whole festive season is perfect to spend time with family and friends as well as simply staying indoors, nice and cosy, with my feet up watching movies! For many people, preparing for Christmas can be a very daunt-

ing and demanding task. How-

ever for some lucky individuals

Image by flickr user .melanie

Laura: “I enjoy a Baileys breakfast binge!”

“I essentially do whatever it is I normally do, but with more sausages that are inexplicably wrapped in bacon.” Emily B: “I like to get the family togeth-

preparing for the big day is a walk in the park. I tend to buy presents either really last minute or I’m practical (and very cost-efficient) and get presents during the festive season sales for the following year. So, I thought I’d play Santa’s Little Helper and put together a list of some ideas on how to be incredibly… okay, fairly prepared for Christmas. They are in no particular order as I feel they all should be borne in mind for different reasons: 1. Money, money, money…

Image by Wikipedia user Musical Linguist

Image by flickr user Mr & Mrs Stickyfingers

Have a budget. This one might sound very cliché but it is one that we can sometimes forget as we get carried away with both pre and post-Christmas festivities. Remember that you probably still have other, non-Christmas things to spend your money on, so making a budget could save you being broke after all the excitement.

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2. Shop ‘til you drop Presents! Make a list of all the presents you want to buy and consider purchasing them earlier to both beat the rush and make sure you get them before everyone else does! For me, food shopping is the fun bit and it’s never too early to start stocking up that freezer. 3. Party prep If you are throwing any parties consider any items you might need and start looking at prices. You can also keep your eyes peeled for offers as there tend to be many floating around at this time of year. Also, consider letting people know the potential date of your event so they can clear their schedule. 4. Good tidings we bring, to you and your kin… This one is very important as

the holidays give you time to see your loved ones. So, it’s nice to make time for both family and friends to catch up and just chill out from the stresses of uni life. 5. It had to be mentioned: plan for revision This last one is key as it’s so easy to get so deep into the festive spirit that you forget these two words: exams and assignments. Most of us do not forget completely as we are constantly reminded by our peers, tutors and emails, however it is crucial to be prepared for the holiday period. Work out what items you might need to borrow and just set aside some days to do some studying. Boring, I know, but it has to be done. On a happier note, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!



Edited by Katie Masters & Emily Gussin

Leicester’s Top 5 Christmas Dinners

Including a special offer from Nando’s for Ripple readers by Christopher Everett The Ripple gives you a pick of the best Christmas meals in the area this year. With something for everyone, you won’t get sick of turkey by the end of the festive season.

ed Dog’s better-heeled rival, the Marquis Wellington. With proper pub food, all cooked freshly to order, the Marquis is perfect for long dates and dinners.

“The Ripple has negotiated 20% off at Nando’s for students throughout December.”

Pre-drinks primer: the Loaded Dog 144 London Road, LE2 1ED Tel: 0116 254 9356 If you’re looking for a night on the tiles to follow your Christmas engorgement, why not head to the Loaded Dog to cash in on those cheap bar prices. On Sunday, the Dog runs the infamous Quids, where one may purchase bottles of Becks for £1, Smirnoff and mixer for £1.50 and Jagerbombs for just £2. You can preorder two courses for £7.45 (non-refundable deposits of £3 per person) or three courses for just £9.45. One for Mum and Dad: the Marquis Wellington 139 London Road, LE2 1EF 0116 254 0542 If you’ve cash to burn or you’re parents come for a visit, head across the road to the Load-

OFF or a FREE SOFT DRINK for students showing their student cards or this copy of The Ripple at the Granby Street restaurant, Mondays to Thursdays, throughout the month of December!

Tradition on a budget: 1923 Students’ Union

Image by flickr user Lawrence OP

May old acquaintance be forgot?: Nando’s 50 Granby Street, LE1 1DH Tel: 0116 275 8303

1923, the Students’ Union bar and restaurant, is offering a two-course meal for £11.95: with choices such as nut roast, Norfolk turkey, chicken liver pate, sherry trifle and, of course, Christmas pudding with brandy sauce, this is set to be your closest go-to destination for some

winter warmers. Groups of six receive a complimentary bottle of wine (scientists at The Ripple estimate this to be a small glass of wine each) or jug of fruit juice. Options also include one course at £9.95 and three courses at £13.95. Curry for Christmas: Spice Bazzar 326 Welford Road, LE2 6EH Tel: 0116 270 5110 Spice Bazzar is not only a society favourite – it’s our favourite as well! Welford Road’s top curry house offers a set Christmas menu for £10 a head, including popadums, starters, main courses, rice and naan bread. Set in the Clarendon Park end of Welford Road, Spice Bazzar is easily accessible to most students.

Nando’s is a staple of the student diet, and a welcome break from the glut of regular Christmas dinners, with its Peri-Peri chicken and ample vegetarian options offering an irresistible opportunity for happy tummies. What’s more, The Ripple has negotiated a brilliant 20%

Twelve Days:

Festive Beer Review by Patrick Reckitt Christmas is a time of love, happiness, and profligate eating and drinking. After all, ‘Eat, Drink, And Be Merry’ isn’t a Christmas saying for nothing. Eating at Christmas is normally fairly obvious – the combination of roast goods and sausages that are inexplicably wrapped in bacon is practically set in stone. Drink, however, is harder to choose. Luckily, I’m here to help with a review of Hook Norton Brewery’s seasonal classic Twelve Days. I’m from the Oxfordshire/Warwickshire border, so this is an ale with a touch of nostalgia to it for me, but it’s also one that reasonable easy to get, and not so pretentious as to be too expensive. You can find it in some supermarkets (Waitrose stocks it at a reasonably good price), and most specialist beer shops.

to enjoy the drink. It goes very well with roasts in general, with the nutty tones complimenting a nut roast as much as any other kind of roast, without dominating the overall flavour. It works well on its own too, as the perfect complement to a Christmas Eve in front of the TV. Similar, and more widely available beers would be Guinness Original, or perhaps Theakstone’s Old Peculiar, both available in supermarkets. If ale really isn’t something you enjoy, then Budweiser Budvar’s Dark Lager or Erdinger Weissbeer are good alternatives. But if you want something seasonal, tasty, and comforting then look no further than Twelve Days.

The beer itself pours thick and foamy, with a colour dark enough to reflect light. If you’re a fan of Guinness, or any other stout, this will look particularly appetising, but if not then it’s still worth a try. This is because once you get beyond the almost treacly mouthfeel its tones of nutty roasted malts are reasonably mellow, and the bitterness evens out into an inviting sweetness, with just a hint of liquorice. This is a beer that wants you to relax, to have a good time, and

Changing the Christmas Cake Convention

by Jess Buckley

Some of us love the traditional Christmas cake: for generations it has been the defining dessert of Christmas day. And both your parents and grandparents still probably couldn’t go without that one slice of fruitcake after their fair share of turkey. Yet year after year there is always some sort of alternative desert that is hauled out the back of the fridge, or freezer, to satisfy the younger generations (myself being no exception) who just don’t seem to appreciate the time-honoured Christmas cake. These always seem to be something lacklustre: maybe another cake, perhaps chocolate, or a trifle, or another desert that fails to encompass the festive spirit. So, maybe there’s a compromise? A cake that is not only tasty, but truly festive, and could be a strong rival for the love-it or-hate-it Christmas cake… Spiced Apple Cake fits the bill.

It is also quick and easy to make, so it’s perfect for wowing your flatmates when you celebrate Christmas that little bit earlier, before you leave Leicester and head home for the holidays.

4. Sieve in the flour, baking powder and rest of the cinnamon, folding in carefully with a wooden spoon so as to retain as much air as possible in the mixture.


5. Slowly fold in the apples and transfer into a cake tin.

* 500g baking apples (roughly one and half Bramley apples) * 200g butter * 125g caster sugar * 125g demerara brown cane sugar * 300g self raising flour * 4 eggs * 2 tsps baking powder * 2tblsps ground cinnamon * 2tblsps lemon juice

Method: 1. Preheat the oven to 180°c/Gas mark 4. 2. Peel and finely chop the apples, mixing them in a bowl with the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and a sprinkling of sugar. This will stop the apples turning brown whilst you make your cake mixture and will help to infuse the spices. 3. In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs.

6. Bake in the oven for 1 hour. 7. Decorate as festively as you please. I used normal icing on my cake with another sprinkling of cinnamon, but as Christmas draws ever closer it is definitely time to crack out the marzipan! Simple! A festive cake to please the tastes of the whole family, be it at uni or back at home.

Perfect Party Food! Everyone loves Christmas food, whether it’s in the form of freshly baked mince pies on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day dinner with all the trimmings or the never-ending number of buffets which seem to populate the region between Christmas and New Year. Below you’ll find a few party food picks: some old favourites that it simply wouldn’t be Christmas without as well as some twists on the usual festive fare. by Katie Masters and Samantha Blundell Turkey, Brie and Cranberry Bitesize Sandwiches

have three full-size sandwiches. 4. Cut off the crusts. 5. Cut an ‘X’ into each full-size sandwich so that each sandwich becomes four triangles Dig in! Tiny Toad in the Hole

Bangalow Pork Sausage Rolls with Caramelised Apple and Thyme

Image by Flickr user Great British Chefs

Nothing says ‘Christmas’ quite like turkey, brie and cranberry, so what better way to get festive than to combine the trio? What’s more, these mini sandwiches make a tasty alternative to the classic Boxing Day turkey sandwich and will make a fine addition to any buffet. You will need: 6 slices of bread – you can really use any, but granary works best. 40g butter 100g brie 100g turkey breast 45g cranberry sauce Method: 1. Spread each slice of bread with butter on one side. 2. Divide the turkey and brie into three and top three of the slices with both. 3. Spread the three slices of bread that are left with cranberry sauce and put on top of the other slices: you should now

5. Remove the tin and fill each of the muffin cups 2/3 of the way up with the batter. 6. Put a cocktail sausage into each cup. 7. Cook for 25 minutes (until the batter is golden and crispy) Enjoy!

Image by Flickr user absoblogginlutely

These are a miniature spin on a home cooked classic. They’ve got all the stodgy goodness of the Toad in the Hole you know and love, but their small size gives them a strangely sophisticated twist. You will need: 50g flour Pinch of salt 6 tsp olive oil 85ml milk 12 cocktail sausages Method: 1. Preheat your oven to 200°C (fan ovens should be heated to 180°C). 2. In the bottom of a 12 hole muffin tin, put half a teaspoon of olive oil. 3. In a separate bowl or jug, mix the egg, flour and salt. 4. Once the oven has preheated, put the muffin tin in until the oil becomes hot.

Image by gourmettra

A great recipe to add something a bit special this year to your sausage rolls! You will need: 10 gm butter 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 2 Granny Smith apples, cut into 1cm dice 1 tbsp caster sugar 2 tbsp olive oil 4 golden shallots, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 3 tbsp thyme, finely chopped, plus extra to serve 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped 500 gm coarsely minced Bangalow pork (see note) 1 sheet (375gm) butter puff pastry 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

Method: 1. Preheat oven to 220C. Heat butter and extra-virgin olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add apple and stir occasionally until beginning to colour (3-4 minutes). Scatter over sugar, stir occasionally until caramelised (10-12 minutes), season to taste and set aside to cool. 2. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic, stir occasionally until tender (4-5 minutes), stir through herbs, season to taste and set aside to cool. 3. Combine pork, apple mixture and shallot mixture in a bowl and season to taste. 4. Place puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Place half the pork mixture along one long edge, leaving a 1cm border, brush with eggwash and roll to just enclose pork. Cut along edge, press with a fork to seal then cut into three rolls. Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper and repeat with remaining pastry and pork. Brush with eggwash, scatter with thyme and bake until golden and cooked through (15-17 minutes). Serve hot with tomato chutney. Note: If Bangalow pork is unavailable, substitute another good-quality minced pork. Recipe from Nov 2011, Australian Gourmet Traveller.

Easy mince pies


An easy recipe for mince pies that everyone can make! You will need: 140g/5oz cold butter, diced 225g/8oz plain flour 50g/2oz ground almonds 50g/2oz caster sugar 1 orange, zest only Pinch of salt 1 egg yolk 1-2 tsp cold water 280g/10oz good quality mincemeat 1 egg, beaten Icing sugar for dusting Method: 1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F/ Gas 6. 2. Rub the butter into the flour and add the almonds, caster sugar, orange rind and salt until the mixture is a bit crumbly. 3. Combine mixture with the egg yolk and 1-2 teaspoons of water until it forms soft dough, then put it into a plastic bag and chill for 20 - 30 minutes. 4. Roll out the pastry to a thickness of 2-3mm(0.1in) and cut out about 18 rounds measuring 7.5cm(3in) with a pastry cutter. 5. Place in lightly greased patty tins and spoon the mincemeat evenly into the pies. 6. Re-roll the leftover pastry and cut out round lids, stars or other festive shapes to fit on top of the mincemeat. 7. Lightly brush the pastry tops with the beaten egg and bake in the oven for 12 - 15 minutes until golden. 8. Remove from oven and leave for a few minutes before removing from tins and cooling on a wire rack. 9. Dust with icing sugar Recipe from BBC Food by Ainsley Harriott.

Image by My Kitchen Treasurers

A great way to impress your friends at a Christmas party For most students cocktails are a rare treat, the sort of thing that you might go out for once a year, to celebrate a milestone birthday or academic result. However, you might not realize just how easily you can knock up some delicious drinks at home for only a small premium on top of the cost of your usual vodka/ mixer pre-drink. Whether you fancy a night in making drinks or want to make your pre’s a bit classier, this article should help you with the basics. Essentials A measurer Cocktails need to be made with the correct ratios of ingredients.

A 25ml shot glass is perfectly adequate for home mixology.

cheaper and tastier than branded drinks.

25ml of the rum for fruit juices or syrups.

Ice No-one likes a warm drink! Either freeze your own or buy bags (about a pound from big supermarkets).


Tom Collins A much better gin drink than the ubiquitous G and T in my opinion. Mix 50ml of gin, 25ml of lemon juice and 12.5ml sugar syrup with ice, top up with soda water and stir. Use 37.5ml lemon juice and less soda water to make a Gin Fizz. The gin can be substituted for most other spirits, e.g. tequila for a Juan Collins, rum for a Ron Collins or bourbon for a John Collins.


Lemons and Limes Most drinks have the juice of one or the other in. Don’t pay supermarket prices: get down to the market where you can get 10 for a pound. Sugar syrup This adds sweetness to balance sourness from citrus fruits. Make your own by dissolving 300g of sugar into 150ml of boiling water, then leave to cool. Spirits You don’t need to spend loads of money on spirits; supermarket own brand are adequate. Lidl and Aldi spirits offer very good value for money, and are often

Image by flickr user Kenn Wilson

The classic rum drink. Mix 50ml of rum with 25ml of lime juice and 25ml of sugar syrup, stir with lots of ice for a couple of minutes and strain into a chilled glass. Try making flavoured daiquiris by substituting

Tequila Sunrise This recipe calls for grenadine syrup, which is about £3.50 a bottle. It’s really versatile and can be added to loads of drinks, try adding a splash to your vodka lemonade. Mix 50ml of tequila with 125ml of orange juice and pour into a glass filled with ice. Drizzle about half a shot of grenadine syrup into the drink to make the sunrise.

Image by

A fun Christmas treat that looks almost too good to eat! You will need: 12 (6-inch lengths) red or black string licorice 12 miniature marshmallows 3 tablespoons butter or margarine 1 package (10 oz., about 40) regular marshmallows – OR – 4 cups miniature marshmallows 6 cups Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies® cereal Frosting M&M’S® brand chocolate candies Method: 1. Fold each liquorice piece in half and push ends through centres of 12 miniature marshmallows. Set aside. 2. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add 10 ounces marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal. Stir until well coated. 3. Using 1/2-cup measuring cup coated with cooking spray divide warm cereal mixture into 12 portions. Using buttered hands shape each portion into ornament shape around liquorice ends. Cool. Decorate with frosting and M&M’S® brand chocolate candies. Best if served the same day. Recipe from

Concoct Your Own Cocktails by Andy Warby

Rice Krispies Christmas Treats

ka with 12.5ml lime juice and 12.5ml sugar syrup in an iced glass, top up with ginger beer and stir. Substitute vodka with Caribbean rum for a Jamaican Mule.

Image by flickr user TheCulinaryGeek

Sex on the Beach Add 25ml of vodka and peach schnapps to an ice filled glass then top up with equal parts orange and cranberry juice and stir. Leave out the orange juice to make a Woo Woo. Moscow Mule Allegedly created when a vodka salesman met a ginger beer salesman and they tried making a drink using their respective products. Mix 50ml of vod-

Image by flickr user Drunken Monkey

If these recipes have whetted your appetite for cocktails then why not check out some of the bars in town. Vodka Revolutions sell half price cocktails on Mondays and Hakamou offers £4 Daiquiris, Mojitos and Margaritas Tuesday- Thursday.



Edited by Karina Maduro

Another Reason to Celebrate A Very Thrifty Hanukkah is a Jewish Christmas! holiday celebrated for eight days and nights.

Hanukkiyah is the miracle of the Hanukkah oil. It is celebrated every year by lighting a special menorah, called hanukkiyah, for eight days. One candle is lit on the first night of Hanuk-

Ben Abboudi, Vice President of the UoL Jewish Society, tells us a bit more about the history and how they celebrate. by Ben Abboudi The Hanukkah Story In Hebrew, the word “Hanukkah” means “dedication”. The name reminds us that this holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem following the victory over the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C.E.

In 168 B.C.E. the Jewish Temple was seized by Syrian-Greek soldiers and dedicated to the worship of the god Zeus. This upset the Jewish people, but many were afraid to fight back. Then in 167 B.C.E. the Syrian-Greek emperor Antiochus made the observance of Judaism an offence punishable by death. He also ordered all Jews to worship Greek gods. Jewish resistance began in the village of Modiin, near Jerusalem. Greek soldiers forcibly gathered the Jewish villages and told them to bow down to an idol, and eat the flesh of a pig – both practices that are forbidden in Judaism. A Greek

officer ordered Mattathias, a High Priest, to do as they were told, but Mattathias refused. When another villager stepped forward and offered to cooperate on Mattathias’ behalf, the High Priest became outraged. He drew his sword and killed the villager, then turned on the Greek officer and killed him too. His five sons and the other villagers then attacked the remaining soldiers, killing all of them. Mattathias and his family went into hiding in the mountains, where other Jews wishing to fight against the Greeks joined them. Eventually they succeeded in retaking their land from the Greeks. These rebels became known as the Maccabees. Once the Maccabees had regained control they returned to the Temple in Jerusalem. It had been defiled with the worship of foreign gods and also by practices such as sacrificing swine. Jewish troops were determined to purify the Temple by burning ritual oil in the Temple’s menorah for eight days. But they discovered that there was only one day’s worth of oil left in the Temple. They lit the menorah anyway and to their surprise the small amount of oil lasted the full eight days. The Hanukkiyah

practice their religion, so when they gathered to study the Torah they would bring a top with them. If soldiers appeared, they would quickly hide what they were studying and pretend to be playing a gambling game with the top. A dreidel has one Hebrew letter on each side. Outside of Israel, those letters are: nun, gimmel, hay and shin, which stand for the Hebrew phrase “Nes Gadol Haya Sham”. (A great miracle happened there [in Israel]”.)


Eating fried foods

kah, two on the second, and so on, until eight candles are lit. It is customary to light the candles from left to right, with the newest candle being in the leftmost spot. This custom arose so that the candle for the first night would not always be lit before the others, which might be taken to symbolize that the first night was more important than the other nights of Hanukkah. It is also customary to place the lit hanukkiyah in a window so that passersby will see it and be reminded of the miracle of the Hanukkah oil. It is forbidden to use the light of the hanukiyah for any other purpose – for instance, to light the dinner table or to read by. Spinning the dreidel A dreidel is a four-sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter on each side. It is used during Hanukkah to play a popular children’s game that involves spinning the dreidel and betting on which Hebrew letter will be showing when it stops spinning. A similar game was popular during the rule of Antiochus. During this period Jews were not free to openly


Because Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of oil, it is traditional to eat fried foods such as latkes and sufganiyot during the holiday. Latkes are pancakes made out of potatoes and onions, which are fried in oil and can be served with apple sauce. Sufganiyot are jelly-filled donuts that are fried and dusted with sugar. The Leicester Jewish Society has an annual Hannukah party. It is one of our best events. We light the first candle, spin the dreidel, and make our own latkes and provide many doughnuts! It is a great event to catch up with old friends and meet new people who come along as well.

‘Helping people change their lives for the better’ – Voluntary Action Leicester

Voluntary Action Leicestershire, also known as VAL, has been delivering community support for the past three decades. With numerous projects being developed throughout the year, VAL also offers their assistance to those in need during Christmas. Here are just a few of their events going on; if you’re still around during the holidays, give a bit of your time and get involved!

Christmas Day: If you don’t mind taking a few hours out of Christmas Day (let’s face it, the good old days of playing with new toys after Christmas lunch has been devoured have long surpassed us) then there are many events being held. St Francis Community Centre, which has branches in Hinckley and Bosworth, is looking for volunteers to help out with welcoming people, serving meals and providing some entertainment. Getting involved will not

only mean that you are making a difference to someone less fortunate on such an important day, but it will also be a vibrant and enjoyable atmosphere. Festival Food Parcel: Christmas provides us with the perfect excuse to put on a few pounds and not have to feel guilty about it because, let’s be honest, we all do it. All the gym and diet resolutions (which we’re fully aware won’t be kept) can wait for New Years. However, not everyone has that privilege. Run by The Bridge, the

by Kirstyn McAllister Christmas when you are a student is often a simultaneous cause for excitement and dread. You are tired and need a break, but at the same time your loan is running out and panic can set in at the thought of how many presents you have to buy. However, Christmas doesn’t have to cost a fortune. There are many things you can do on a low budget whilst maintaining the festive feeling. For presents, get creative!

Getting Charitable for Christmas by Karina Maduro

With student loans dwindling towards the end of term, Kirstyn McAllister offers some tips to help you keep Christmas cheap!

festival food parcel event helps better the Christmas experience of those who are most in need. Volunteers will have the opportunity to work in groups; tasks include decorating, filling and distributing boxes. If you have a bit of spare time and want to get invloved, distribution week will take place from Monday 16th to Friday 20th December. Helping the Elderly: Christmas should be a time spent with family and friends but for some of the elderly in residential homes, this is much

Get baking! After all, Christmas is all about indulgence! For some yummy festive treats try homemade mince pies. There are many recipes out there so there are equally many choices. Delia is always reliable but if you can’t get hold of a recipe book there are lots of recipes online – or, make your own recipe! There are so many Christmas treats that you could try out – perhaps make a few and then divide them up so each person gets a bit of everything. How about having a go at making gingerbread? These can double up as Christmas tree decorations too. Or make gingerbread men and decorate them as Santa Claus. Rum truffles would make a great addition to your selection of sweets, and with some skilfully placed white, red and green icing on top you can make them look just like mini Christmas puddings. Buy a decorative more difficult. The organisation Learning for the Fourth Age has opportunities for volunteers to go and help change that. Volunteers can help out with activities, entertainment, serving food, carol singing or just have a chat with them. Opportunities are available in South Wigston and Market Harborough. Jumper Day Ambassador: Everybody loves a novelty Christmas jumper, whether you wear it with pride and embarrass those around you or whether you wear it so as not to disappoint your mum, who thought it would somehow be the perfect present. An ongoing event organised by Save the Children, being a Jumper Day Ambassador gives you an

box (or decorate it yourself), pop goodies in them and you’ve got yourself some thoughtful, homemade and delicious Christmas pressies!

If baking isn’t your thing there are alternatives: a CD of someone’s favourite songs, a photo collage or framing a drawing. Use your own talents to create something personal and meaningful at a low cost. As well as these gift ideas, why not do Secret Santa or a lucky dip so everyone gets something without spending a fortune? You could incorporate this into a Christmas party; it will be cheaper than going out for food or having a big night out. It will be a great way to not only celebrate Christmas together but also the end of first semester. Get everyone to bring a dish, making sure you’ve got a variety of sweets and savouries. You’ll have lots of choice of food but no one will have had to fork out a lot of cash for it. It might not be your typical Christmas dinner, but by the end of the festive season you’ll be fed up of turkey and brussels sprouts!

Image by Voluntary Action Leicester

opportunity to get everyone in their festive gear! For every person you get to wear a Christmas jumper, get them to donate a pound and see how much money you can raise. If you want to get involved with one of VAL’s Christmas schemes, but you won’t be around in Leicester during the holidays, this is an easy way to incorporate the people around you and get involved from home.



Edited by Karina Maduro & Nikki Skinner

How to Spend New Year’s Eve 2013, in Leicester and Beyond... many areas become full to capacity and are closed off hours before the actual event. Whatever fireworks displays you may attend this New Year, whether public or private, remember to always stay safe and wear lots of layers (a flask of hot chocolate or mulled wine certainly wouldn’t go amiss!)

by Nikki Skinner

Picture by

Christmas might be over, but New Year is fast approaching, and there’s lots going on in and around Leicester to make sure you see out 2013 in style!

will set you back £45, it includes a four-course meal, live band throughout the night, and a DJ from 2am. A great excuse to get dressed up and add a little glamour to New Year’s 2013.

If you’re in the market for a laid back evening and lots of laughs, head to Just the Tonic in Leicester for their New Year’s Eve Event, which has been a sell-out for the past 12 years. A number of acts including Ivan Brakenbury and Wes Zaharuk will grace the stage between 8 and 11.30pm in order to make sure you see out the last hours of 2013 with a giggle or ten, before the New Year countdown which will start at 11.50pm. Tickets for the event are £15, and food and a late bar will be available throughout the night. Looking for something a little more upmarket? Then dust off your glad rags and grab yourselves a ticket for Bistro Live. Although the black tie event

Everyone knows no New Year celebration would be complete without some awe-inspiring fireworks to round off the festivities. Nottingham’s firework display will see the sky lit up above Nottingham Castle, and being only half an hour away from Leicester by train makes it ideal if you’re staying in Leicester for the New Year. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, then there is no greater place to see in the New Year than on Southbank in London, where each year amazing spectacles of firework dazzle hundreds of thousands of Londoners and tourists alike. London is just over an hour from Leicester by train – but it’s advisable to leave lots of time for travel as

If you’d rather stay a bit warmer whilst dancing your way to 2014, then there are plenty of club events in and around Leicester to suit everyone’s tastes. If you’re staying in Leicester then most of the standard student favourites will be open for business to see in the New Year. Head to the O2 Academy if you’re feeling something a bit more significant, as they will be playing host to a number of top House and Garage DJs, as well as a full size fun fair at the event Twenty Fourteen. The event, for which tickets start at £17.50, will start at 8pm and finish on New Year’s Day at 3am, and is sure to be one of the Midland’s biggest New Year’s Eve events. If you don’t mind heading a little bit further afield, then Nottingham and Birmingham both offer some great events, all at easy reach from Leicester. The Forum in Nottingham will be open to see in the New Year with great music, great atmosphere, and great deals, and tickets start at £15. Gatecrasher in Birmingham will host chart sensations Disclosure, decking out the club with Stage Per-

formers, Dancers, Pyro-Technics, fireworks, Ice Cannons to make sure 2014 will start with a bang. Tickets for this event are fast selling out, but you can still get tickets which start at £42.50 - perhaps a bit steep, but for nine hours of great live music and DJs as well as a fantastic atmosphere it’s another event which will be sure to make a memorable New Year’s 2013.

Perhaps you want to avoid the masses and have a more relaxed entrance into 2013? Lots of restaurants across most cities host special New Year’s Eve menus, often including good deals on food and will be sure to boast a great, if a little more relaxed at-

This Year I Will... From as far back as the ancient Babylonians, people have been overcome with the desire to begin the New Year with a pledge to try to be better. The Romans made promises to the God of new beginnings, Janus; Medieval Knights vowed to God to reassert their commitment to chivalry; and now the modern generation create life goals for themselves. Whether it’s eating healthier, trying harder at work or just quitting a bad habit, New Year’s Resolutions have been a part of the population’s psyche for gen-

erations, despite our knowledge that by the time Easter rolls around they will be as forgotten as the jumper your aunt gave you. So, why do people set themselves up for disappointment year after year? Why are humans such gluttons for punishment? For instance, one of the most common resolutions is to become in some way more proactive: start running every day, begin every morning with some circuits, or the classic “actually use the gym membership that I got last year but never used be-

cause I don’t want people to see me sweaty and red-faced.” Unfortunately, this resolution is always the first to crumble. Why start exercising in January when the deadlines are looming, the snow is beginning to fall and a new series of Masterchef is so much more entertaining than Deal or No Deal showing above the treadmills? Let’s face it, the dead middle of winter is the worst time to attempt more exercise. Therefore this resolution will probably not last until the decorations come down. It’s quite incredible that people have the determination to attempt this feat every year, even

giving into the joys of binging during Christmas so they have more of an incentive to actually achieve the goals they have set, despite all-the-while knowing that they are destined to fail. A resolution for a less assertive start to the year is one that seems to cling on for just that little bit longer. Again, weight related, cutting down on a particular habit, such as eating chocolate, generally fatty foods, or perhaps something a bit more challenging like quitting smoking. Abstaining from drink usually accompanies these resolutions, but perhaps as a reaction to New Year’s Eve jamborees,

ly London with the New Year’s Day parade. Although many of you are sure to be wrestling with the hangover from the night before with bacon rather than bargains on the mind, make sure you don’t forget about the January Sales. Although nowadays many shops start their sales on Boxing Day, there’s still time to pick up a bargain or two. Plus surely it counts towards any resolutions about saving more…?

Image by Flickr User Diamon Geezer fireworks in London from the comfort of your sofa (it’s a lot warmer than the real thing!) And don’t forget New Year’s Day - many events will take place around the country, especial-

rather than pre-meditated ambitions.

The fireworks explode, the countdown reaches zero and a herd of people come running towards you with open arms; it’s New Year, of course. And with the arrival of New Year comes the inevitable formation of resolutions... by Amy Reeves

mosphere. Just make sure you book well in advance, as these are sure to get very booked up for this evening. Or perhaps just stay at home and host your own NYE party? Get some friends round, open a bottle of something sparkly (or the student equivalent- Lambrini), get out the Wii or some old board games, or maybe just snuggle up in front of NYE TV favourite Jools Holland or watch the

Whatever you end up doing, make sure you end 2013 on a high, surrounded by your favourite people, and most of all have lots of fun!

Unfortunately, much of our social outings revolve around food or alcohol in some way, so the general ethic of “just one won’t hurt” seeps into the general public’s consciousness. By the time Easter comes around, these resolutions are forgotten about faster than you can say “Lindor.”

money. This is actually one of the more achievable resolutions. Cutting coupons, raiding charity shops and maybe not going to Starbucks in between lectures. It may be a denial of every commercial instinct in your body not to take advantage of the January sales. But while it may not last the year, it will make your life easier until the next installation of your student loan.

Socials, group Christmas dinners, presents, cards, New Year’s Eve shenanigans: these all need funding and in the romantically lit bubble of excitement that is the entire month of December, it’s easy to forget about the responsibility of managing money.

Yes, no matter what the resolution, like the snow that is destined to hit, your strength of will will steadily melt into a puddle of bitter disappointment until you give it another good old try next year. After all, it’s been a tradition for centuries - why stop now?

However, in the cold light of a January morning, as you look vacantly at your bank balance, this is when an entirely different kind of resolution is made: save

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Christmas Crossword 1

Christmas Quiz



1. What are the names of the three reindeer which begin with ‘D’?




7 9




2. Under the branches of which plant do you exchange Christmas kisses? 3. What does finding a spider web in your house on Christmas symbolize?


4. Finding a coin in your Christmas pudding fortells wealth. What does finding a button in your pudding foretell?

13 15

5. Name the Three Wise Men.

16 17

14 18

19 20

7. Where did the real Good King Wenceslas Rule?


22 23

8. Where would you be if your Christmas gifts were bought by “Shengdan Laoren”? 9. What was the name of the boy in the TV film The Snowman?


ACROSS 3 Messenger of God (5) 4 Christmas decoration (6) 7 Bird eaten at Christmas (6) 8 Spoilsport or killjoy (6) 9 Given and received at Christmas (8) 12 Christmas season (4) 13 Precious metal (4) 15 Egg-based alcoholic drink (6) 16 Prickly green leaf (5) 19 Object decorated with lights and baubles (9,4) 20 Red-nosed reindeer (7) 21 Birthplace of Jesus (9) 22 Knowing, experienced (4) 23 Polaris (5,4) 24 Time leading up to Christmas (6)

6. Who wrote A Christmas Carol?

DOWN 1 Trough containing animal feed (6) 2 Small fruit pastry (5,3) 5 Festive wood (4,3) 6 An obligate hemi-parasitic plant (6,3) 9 Dessert (7) 10 Large bag (4) 11 Legendary patron saint of children (5,5) 14 Hoofed mammal (4) 17 Father Christmas (4,4) 18 Drink with spices (6,4)

10. Which alcoholic beverage is used to make a Snowball?

Image by flickr user dryfish

Song Puzzle

Word Ladder

Change only one letter each time get from Name the Christmas song from the first letSTAR to BELL! ters of the title! For example, ‘Fairytale of New York’ would be F O N Y. STAR   ____ 1. S C I C T T      ____ ____ 2. I S M K S C       BELL 3. I D O A W C   4. R T R N R    Change only one letter each time get from GIFT to TREE! 5. A I A M   6 O C A Y F   GIFT ____ 7. O L T O B   ____ 8. S N ____ 9. L I S ____ ____ 10. T T D O C ____ 11. H T H A S ____

12. W W Y A M C



Quiz submitted by Catherine La Fontaine. Puzzle and Sudoku submitted by ‘Intellectual Quizzery Masters’: Megan Palmer and Kate Peters. Answers will be published on 3rd December at...

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