Happy Advent everyone! I hope you’ve got your stockings hung, tree lit and mince pies baking because the holiday season has officially begun. It’s the 1st of December, and in an ideal world, you’ve opened a window of your advent calendar and tasted that first chocolate that just radiates Christmas.
This post is all about how to cope with the pressures of education and the holiday season over the month of December.
When it comes to present shopping, some people love it and for some it’s purely a chore. I’m probably in the same situation as most of my fellow students in that if I had the choice I’d buy the most extravagant gifts possible for my closest friends and family. But that student loan is nipping at all of our heels and a student budget really isn’t realistic for that – it’s all about working within your means. So the question we’re all forced to ask ourselves is if we really need to spend that £30 on a gift for our nans when we know it’s going straight up the loft!
- Give yourself an absolute maximum budget that under no circumstances you can exceed. (e.g. £150)
- Write a list of gift recipients and a ballpark figure of how much to spend on each one. (e.g. Mum – £50)
- Next to each name list a few categories of gift that that person might like (e.g. Nan – slippers, dressing gown, chocolates)
- Take advantages of all the sales, so if this includes you being able to buy all of your gifts from amazon on black Friday, you go for it!
- The power of student discount. GET UNIDAYS! Unidays is very easy to sign up for as it just requires you verifying where you’re studying and then this gives you discounts at major online and in store retailers. (e.g. Boohoo, ASOS, Urban Outfitters, Adidas and Apple.
It’s a proven statistic that people drink more through the month of December. This causes rises in drink driving, reckless behaviour and in our case a dip in university students’ concentration. Of course, you’ve got to have fun over Christmas, but just don’t wash away the months of work you’ve done from September and make your life harder in the new year by slacking.
- Save drinking for the evening. Let’s be honest, day drinking is never a good idea, so if your friends want to go on a cheeky pub run in-between lessons, maybe suggest going after the day’s lectures are finished.
- Know your limits. This can be applied all year round but I’m guessing your friends don’t want to be dragging you back to student accommodation as you drag an inflatable snowman with no shoes on, dressed as Santa’s little helper.
- Don’t drink late at night with an early morning class. Be awake for goodness’ sake! Hospitality students in particular: don’t get so gone that your hangover can be written on the risk assessment.
Christmas is a time for family and friends and if you’re at university, your family could be anywhere. So travelling from all directions for uni can be exciting and release a surge of independence. On the other hand, I guarantee Christmas is when you’re going to start feeling homesick!
- Travel sensibly. Don’t try and go home every weekend because all you’re going to do is spend a fortune on rail tickets and feel worse and worse every time you have to leave your family.
- Work out your schedule ahead of time. Don’t leave it to the last minute to work out that you could go home for 2 weeks not 1! This is far more efficient and means you can utilise your time with your family more!
The personification of Christmas in Birmingham. The German market is what every brummy looks forward to for a solid 11 months until it rolls around again. I can say as a proud born and bred brummy that I’ve already attended the German market. Shamefully, I did dance and eat a hot dog at the same time but who can help it when Tom Jones and Village people playing? The only risk with the German market is that it can become a slight addiction.
- Utilise the time! The German market can become boring but that depends on where and what you do. Walking along the new street stores can become a bit boring unless you have the intentions of actually buying things. I’d suggest staying near the end where the Town Hall is for all the Christmas vibes!
- Buy a hot dog! £4 hot dogs which are delicious and cooked to order. Since attending the German market I’ve definitely differentiated between a Wiesswurst and Bratwurst!
- The carousel is a must do for any big kids reading this! Last year me and two of my friends went on the carousel and I know it’s for kids but that’s really not the point. So much fun and one thing no one can dispute is that the German market really gets you in the holiday mood!
So Christmas comes with a variety of distractions, from planning for the big day to being dragged to watch your little cousin’s nativity to secret Santas and late night fancy dress pub crawls. Distractions are fine but it’s about not getting completely carried away.
- There are only so many hours in the day and only so much that can be done in preparation of the perfect Christmas. So order what’s the most essential.
- Get work done in November. You don’t want to be in the library all hours on December 18th trying to reach those end of term deadlines. Prepare work in advance so you’re not running around in December when you should be baking gingerbread houses!
- Just enjoy the chaos of Christmas everyone!
So hope that gives you a few tips of how to make it through the month of December.
Merry Advent and let’s get the Christmas season started!