Debate: Bridgemas makes Cambridge a happier place

Ronan Marron 20 November 2016

So the famous Christmas anthem goes – I wish it could be Christmas every day. Well every day might be overkill but I think that we can manage twice a year for sure. I have no tolerance for Scrouges – I don’t like people putting a downer on what should be one of the happiest occasions of the year. I am exactly the same when it comes to people putting a downer on Bridgemas.

I hear people saying that it is unnecessary or irritating. I suppose I can see where they are coming from. It is a bit odd to return home to begin the build up to a celebration that we have already had. Our Christmas formals probably represent one time too many servings of turkey in the year. I think however that the benefits outweigh this mild irritation.

Christmas is a celebration at which I value spending time with my family – it forces us to come together at least once a year and make the time we don’t normally make to spend time with each other. Christmas is a celebration that I want to share with friends as well as family. The fact that Cambridge terms end so early means that this can’t happen for most of us in the technical festive period.

Bridgemas gives us that excuse that we need to come together. Last year I prepared a full traditional three course Christmas meal (complete with mulled wine) with all of my friends. We all helped out cooking and split the cost of the food. The preparation of the meal alone- all working together- was so nice. It reminded me of the atmosphere of Christmas at home. It was one of the nicest evenings of the academic year last year and we never would have thought to do it if it hadn’t been Bridgemas.

I am also a really big fan of the institution of giving presents and of the secret Santa in particular. I remember the John Lewis Christmas Campaign about ‘Gifts you can’t wait to give’. The ad that year brought a tear to my eye. I really enjoy the opportunity to put thought into something that will make someone else happy- and I find receiving gifts really touching. The Bridgemas Secret Santa gives everyone a cost effective opportunity to give and to receive- and I think that it is a really rewarding experience.

Even if you don’t buy into any of that sentimentalism- there is the classic argument that you can’t get too much of a good thing- and there are so many good things about Christmas. The food for example- mulled wine and mince pies are something we should definitely give ourselves an excuse to partake in more than once a year. Who doesn’t love an excuse to eat, drink and be merry?

Overall I think that Christmas gives even the least religious amongst us a reason to come together- and that Bridgemas has the capacity to do the same thing for us with our friends here in Cambridge. The atmosphere is infectious and in a world of stress anything that makes Cambridge feel like a happier place than it is most of the year is a good thing.  

Don't think Bridgemas is all tinsel and fairy lights? Read the first half of our hard-hitting debate on the moral, ethical and spiritual implications of Bridgemas here