Student Survival: Christmas Holidays

Well the holidays are closing in on us and many of you students might have already started heading home for the winter break. Christmas (and all the other holidays, if you’re of a different faith) really is the most wonderful time of the year. But, maybe this year is going to be a bit different? If you’re a first time student then this could very well be the first time you go back home and have to deal with the loss of your new found independence. What about all the old friends that you promised to keep in touch with and now only communicate through garbled, drunken texts and the occasional Skype call. How about all the unfinished business you left in your hometown before heading out Ito the big wide world? Well, luckily for you I’ve decided that this bloggers Christmas gift to you is the next Survival Guide! So prepare your one horse open sleigh and let’s jingle bell rock!

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Presents
How are you supposed to find the money for really good gifts when you can barely afford to keep yourself alive and in a permanent state of alcohol fuelled delirium living the student dream? Christmas costs a lot of money, fact, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. First things first, maybe give your drinking arm a rest for a few nights, save the money by not pounding those jaeger shots and you’ll soon find you’ve got a little more disposable income (and your liver will thank you too). Next, think about who you need to buy for. Immediate family is obvious, as is any long term romantic partner – that girl you met at the club that one time and now uses you because you carry her shopping and buy her coffee, does not require a gift.

Use a Secret Santa system for your housemates where each of you picks a name at random and then buys the gift for that one person. It saves you having to buy five different presents! Now, for the rest of your gifts it’s time to get creative. Homemade gifts are always a treat with the parents, because they thought you had grown out of it when you were 6. Try and put a bit more time and care into it this time though, you don’t want them questioning how their own offspring managed to get into university when they can’t even make a simple present. Lots of websites offer services where you can personalise gifts too and these tend to be relatively easy on the wallet. Personally, I love my personalised thermos mug!

Family
You love them to pieces, they do so much for you and you couldn’t be happier to be home being looked after but MY GOD they can be a pain in the arse sometimes!

With your family it’s important to remember that this is their home, their domain. You might be the Big Man On Campus, but you’re a good distance away from campus, back in a house that you don’t own or pay rent for, essentially mooching off of your parents goodwill for roughly a month. They’re in charge, deal with it.

It might suck for a while, going straight from independent young creature back to being under the thumb of your parents, but hey ho. You’ll get used to it, just make sure you calm down all the relentless debauchery and you should be ok.

Friends
Not the absolutely cracking 90s sitcom but the actual people in YOUR life, coming back to the same group of old friends that you left three months ago can be an odd experience. Just make sure to organise pub trips, cinema outings, coffee jaunts and act as if nothing has changed, because quite frankly it hasn’t! All that has changed is that you now have Uni stories to share with them and them with you. Easy peasy!

Exes
DUN DUN DUNNNNNN.
The ex. The purest example of unbridled hatred and fury known to man. They messed you around and now you’re both back in town. How do we get out of this one?

Key to remember is that not all exes are evil. Some might be really nice and amicable, some might be friendly but overly involved in keeping up with you and some might be the expression of deepest and darkest Hell itself, during a solar eclipse less than friendly. I reckon there are three ways your relationships end; on good terms, on alright terms and on bad terms.

If your relationship ended on Good terms
I don’t think you’ll have much of a problem here. Just be nice, polite and friendly and don’t act too weird. You’ll probably have a few chats if you see each other around, or if you’re still friends then you might go for coffee. It’s a simple one this, just don’t try to reconcile for a bit of holiday romance, that’s a bad idea!

If your relationship ended on Alright terms
Slightly trickier, there may be a bit of simmering resentment for the other lying dormant under your carefully constructed facade of politeness. If you happen to see them, keep it short, keep it simple and keep it superficial. “Hi, how’s Uni going? Enjoying it? Nice [insert any obvious piece of clothing/hairstyle/accessory]! Ok, best be off I’ve got a lot to get done, so much coursework!” It’s conversational framework will be your bright star, guiding you, oh wise reader to the stable of salvation away from the pitfalls of awkwardness!

If your relationship ended on Bad terms
Oh crap. Now the turd has hit the fan. Try toavoid them if possible but if the fates conspire against you and when you turn around from the bar or the coffee shop counter and you come face to face with your evil ex, DON’T PANIC. They can smell fear. Don’t make any sudden movements, they might take it as provocation. Try to sidle over to the nearest tree and slowly climb up the branches, out of their reach… Hang on, that’s bear attack advice.

Quite frankly, dealing with an angry ex IS a lot like dealing with a bear. Don’t show any fear, don’t try to provoke them. Just cautiously smile, nod a perfunctory greeting and be on your way. There is no need for anything further. (NB: don’t try to smile and nod greetings at bears, I’ve never met one but I’m pretty sure they won’t like it.)

Well there we go, the major pitfalls of the holiday have been covered, enjoy yourselves! Stuff too much food inside of you, you won’t eat this well for a while now! Fingers crossed you’ll come out the other side unscathed and safely back in your Uni flat.

Happy Holidays!

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