December has struck and I am even less organised than usual. The major downfall of the month (and remember we are only on the second day of it) – I don’t have an advent calendar. For the first year in my life (assuming good parenting from my early years of course) I do not get my daily chocolate to guide me through the weeks to Christmas. There’s something a bit depressing about having to buy your own one, and definitely not one of the Thorntons’ personalised ones I always trusted my Nan to invest in for me.
Back in the day I’d get one from each parent (oh, the rewards of coming from a broken home) and one from each set of grandparents. My daily chocolate was measured against my behaviour (thanks, mum) and the inevitable ‘forgetting-to-eat-it-so-eating-six-in-one-day’ came about eventually too. Nope, there’s been none of that this year. I did intend to buy my own one, just a cheap, £1 one from Tesco or Wilkinsons or something, but now the 1st has passed and I feel my Christmas spirit has too.
Is this what it feels like to grow up?
Christmas time as a student is remarkably different to that at home. Granted, we have decorations, but they consist of three metres of colourful tinsel dancing around the mantlepiece and mirror. We have also had it proudly in place since about the second week of November, which was supposed to be both ironic and just to brighten the place up a bit really. At home, we have a huge Christmas tree, enough baubles to supply John Lewis year round, and various festive candles. We’ve considered getting a tree here, but the cost, as well as the placement (our living room is very square) has made it more of a task.
Our Christmas dinner last year in my flat was organised with Secret Santa, party hats and a full chicken. This year, we’ve decided to make life easy and book a restaurant instead. Not, as you would assume, a Christmas dinner, but an Asian buffet in town. Similar, of course. The Secret Santa has stayed, but with a reduced budget and a subtle ‘make sure it’s funny not serious’ theme going on. Brilliant for those of us whose student loans are disappearing faster than you can say ‘Seasons Greetings’ but not really as festive. I don’t think there’s been any consideration towards hats, crackers or carols, but I’m sure the Chicken Chow Mein will be delicious regardless.
A benefit is that I actually have a reason for not being able to afford amazing presents for my family. Being a student is a universal code for not giving money away – most commonly used for street charity workers, old rich relatives or your parents. Obviously I’ve been ‘saving’ (read: selling my life on eBay) to get cool presents for everyone, but it’s not as anticipated as it was pre uni, when I worked five days a week and had a real income. Instead, my money this time of year has gone towards new jumpers, food and a horrendously high heating bill.
It’s all fun and games.