I tried to enjoy the party at Murano, but the whole time I was filled with crippling anxiety due to the squint Buckfast bottle on top of the Christmas tree. It sat in the corner of the communal kitchen alongside the discarded wrapping paper and the spare tatty tinsel. I had a tree that size sitting outside my family house before the postman tripped over it. The “Bucky Tree” would be worthless to most looking to celebrate the holidays in style… but not to us.
On top of the rent, ready-meals, coffee, booze, plane tickets, eating-out, social events, and that tenner you’ll eventually reimburse your friend, Christmas can hit already cash-strapped students like a ton of Scottish snow. Not all of us are blessed with the physique to take on the punters on Black Friday also risking their lives to get 70% off that new phone that will be obsolete by Valentine’s Day. Some of us may instead go for a “Traditional Christmas” to overcome these budget constraints in an act of desperation. Better check Tesco to see if you can get a meal-deal on tangerines.
Don’t worry. There is hope.
It is a funny situation for many students spending the holidays on campus. Mummy and Daddy are no longer there to tell you to practise writing your name on paper before signing Christmas cards. You are truly responsible for making the most of your Christmas experience while hoping to survive Semester 2 as well. The good news is your flatmates and fellow students are on the same boat!
So, do what you have done since the beginning of term; make the most of the situation together. All those discounted Christmas lights and mistletoe did not materialise themselves you know. Who cares if you got it from Poundland? It’s Christmassy!
Personalised gifts do not have to leave your bank account dry either. From my experience, creativity is key to impressing your friends and not appearing as frugal as Ebenezer Scrooge. Personally, I tend to give out custom Christmas cards with comic strips which are filled with inside-jokes that my pals will understand. I also remember a friend who use to have her cupboard raided by the same flatmate for her honey. Then one fateful morning, she went over-the-moon to receive a box-worth of Everyday Value honey from the very culprit. Finally, I cannot forget the tonic wine connoisseur. A cheap case of Buckfast was all he needed to feel his flatmates put real effort and thought into his present.
After I took it upon myself to put down my drink and straighten the make-shift angel, I could not help but admire the symbolism of the bottle. The Bucky Tree was hardly an example of a tasteful Christmas decoration, but within our little student community, it held a special place in our hearts and reminded us that Christmas is about people and never just about wiping out your student loan.
-Jack Stone, Winning D***F***** Article