By Erin Harris, Contributor
It feels like summer was a fleeting season passing us by in a flash, but winter is already creeping up on us with dark nights, frosty mornings and the type of coldness that somehow manages to get through the walls of your unheated student house, despite the numerous layers of clothing you’re wearing. The arrival of winter can only mean one thing; the mania of Christmas is only just around the corner. I realised this when flying home from Gatwick after reading week, where at 8am Duty Free were duly playing the same Christmas mix tape as every year, and all of the Christmas gift sets had started to appear. Don’t get me wrong, we all love Christmas and the festive season (especially the mince pies), but it can sometimes feel a tad overwhelming, especially when battling with the honorary student budget, your huge family to buy for, and the looming assignment deadlines.
So in honour of the panic that only the festive season can induce, we have put together a quick survival guide for the Christmas period, when you have made it home and are visiting your long lost cousins that you only ever see once a year!
- Pace yourself– we know it’s tempting but try not to ‘out-Christmas’ yourself before the big day; this will only leave you feeling tired, grumpy and distinctly un-Christmassy! So keep the Christmas music and the admittedly fabulous films until a couple of weeks before, when you can really start to feel festive.
- Give yourself some alone time– we all know how Christmas goes; we get dragged around by our parents to every family member that has ever existed for the customary annual visit, where they ask how your life plan is going, how are your grades and your love life! In amongst all the madness make sure you take a break where you just sit by yourself for even just a hour, turn off your phone and just actually relax. Once you’re refreshed you will be once more 100% prepared for the family games and polite conversations with your great uncle Gerry.
- Don’t start the booze too early– Christmas is a time for indulgence but on the big day pace yourself in the alcohol department for maximum endurance time! You don’t want to end up like grandad, who always over-does it too early, and then is passed out at 5pm still in his cracker hat, before he can ask to watch the Strictly Come Dancing special (Result for us but not for gramps). To avoid missing the evening fun, alternate your drinks with a glass of water or even a soft drink, to make sure you don’t peak prematurely. Failing that, you could always just line your belly with thousands of pigs in blankets – any excuse!
Finally, enjoy yourself! Christmas is a special time of year where it is acceptable to be tipsy by mid-morning, actually get on with your siblings, and enjoy some family time before heading back to the rat-race of University in January. I know I will be making the most of the festive season, especially after the year 2016 has been… (Still miss you David Bowie).
Image: Belfast City Council Website