If you didn’t read the above title in the voice of Cliff Richard, then I assume that the next few months aren’t your favourite in the calendar. However, regardless of whether you consider yourself a modern-day St. Nick or a bit of a Scrooge, Christmas will be happening this year. I myself fall somewhere between these two categories, oscillating between the extreme excitement I experience every time ‘Fairy-tale of New York’ plays, and the bitter lows of crying at John Lewis adverts.
Everyone is aware of the festive ideal: walking around Christmas markets with a partner, holding hands, and drinking mulled wine. But what happens when you’re single and financially crippled from the recent alcohol tax that has culled some of our nations most beloved drinks to near extinction? In an ideal world the market stalls would light up with our favourite ‘reduced to clear’ labels if we hung around for long enough. But ladies and gentlemen, we do not live in an ideal world.
So, Christmas is happening, and it seems that every year the presents get more extravagant, the drinks more expensive and the bank balance falls deeper into the red. How then can we make Christmas as enjoyable (or slightly less miserable) for those of us who can’t afford to turn the heating on? Like any single, 22-year-old, father of none, I went to mum’s net seeking advice. The maternal advice most applicable to students are as follows: being crafty, prioritising memories over materialism and of course that ‘it’s the thought that counts.’
Everyone owns a Christmas jumper but not everyone can knit one, why not learn? If that suggestion is slightly farfetched, then anything from a homemade card to a photo album (Facebook doesn’t count) would make a good gift.
Memories > Materials
I believe this point is particularly important for students. Is it necessary to do another secret Santa stressing that the periphery friend you drew might not like Yankee candles? Instead go out as a group and make some memories. Remember though to take it easy on the espresso martinis. Despite how empowered they make you feel the memories only count if you remember them.
The thought that counts
This point has been made so many times it has become clichéd, but I believe it is still worth repeating. A few years ago, I learnt a very valuable lesson regarding what exactly qualifies as a thoughtful gift. Every year since I was four years old I would make my mum a hand made birthday card and thought that this was all the thought that was required to count. However, to my surprise, I was called out for reproducing a replica of the same card every year. So, to clarify, a thoughtful gift is something that is either personal to the recipient, original or has, who knew it, genuinely been contemplated for more than five minutes. By all means be crafty but don’t recycle the same ideas.