What to do when Christmas does not meet merry expectations

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Claudia Brooks, Third Year Film and Theatre

Claudia Brooks discusses the expectations and realities of Christmas. She explains that not everyone gets to go home, be around loved ones or partake in festivities that most people may be able to. Even so, she tells us that you can still enjoy yourself and look after yourself.

When we talk about Christmas, most of the conversations are filled with this anticipation to go home, to be cooked a nice Christmas lunch - one that hasn’t come from a Tesco ready pack - and all in all, to be looked after by our families. It is a time of merriment and excitement as the first term is over and you can enjoy this festive holiday, at least for a few good days before thinking of the dreaded exam period.

But what if you don’t have anywhere to go home to? Maybe you live too far to travel back, or maybe you don’t have the funds to do so. You could be needed to work throughout the Christmas holidays, or maybe you just don’t have anybody to go ‘home’ to. It can be a daunting and lonely time as you watch your friends’ build-up the big holiday season on social media and of course, the day itself is pure torture as you watch everybody you know enjoy the joyful day – everybody except for you.

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Well fear not as I am in the same position as you, and I’m here to offer advice and comfort that may make this seemingly-miserable and dreary day, as I’ve morbidly described, into a self-indulgent, worry-free celebratory day that can and will be enjoyed.

  1. It’s okay! It may seem like a time to dread and wonder why your celebrations haven’t met the expectations of those set for us by Hollywood movies or at least why you haven’t done a house swap with a woman in L.A. and fallen in love with a record producer - clear reference to the tear-jerker ‘The Holiday’ in case my boyfriend thinks I want to run off. If you think about it negatively, then yes it will indeed be a horrible day that you simply won’t enjoy. But if you just stop for a second and wonder how many Christmases you’ve truly and honestly enjoyed fully, with no family arguments and no tears shed, you may come to realise that being alone on Christmas Day is actually a blessing in disguise.

If you think about it negatively, then yes it will indeed be a horrible day that you simply won't enjoy.

  1. Go and treat yourself. Whether it’s a pair of shoes you think are a little too extravagant or a coat that will inevitably get you into your overdraft, just go and buy it because even if you’re crying, at least you’ll look good doing so. It’s a day where you’re meant to feel loved and taken care of and if you have to do it yourself, so be it.

  2. You can be completely selfish with your big day! It’s all about you and you alone. Whether it sucks or not, you can decide on every little detail of how your day is going to go: from what movie goes on to who wins the cracker. You can make up your own Christmas quiz and win the bottle of prosecco at the end of it, which you will eventually down at the end of the day anyways. But just remember that if you wish to stay in bed all day and eat the discounted chocolate you found at the supermarket the day before, then that’s okay too.

  3. If you live in halls, chances are there are others in your very situation so go and socialise with them. No matter who they are, they’ll be feeling the same way as you – wondering why everybody else gets to be with somebody they love and not you. If you’re a people person and really don’t want to be alone on the big day then just do it, you’ll regret the opportunity eventually. Your residence may even plan something special for the 25th as I recall them doing at Unite House a few years ago.

  4. Volunteer. Christmas is the season of giving so go lend a helping hand to those less fortunate to do so. Plenty of charities appreciate every person’s willingness to help, specifically on a day where people are less inclined to do so. The Marmalade Trust and Voscur are two of the ones I’m currently looking into and I suggest doing the same, it may make you realise the importance of Christmas.

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Image / Marina Afzal-Khan

No matter what you do for the Christmas holidays, it’s not as bad as your mind makes it out to be. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t cried my eyes out to my loving - and apologetic - boyfriend about 30 times this past month but when you start to think about it all, it isn’t the worse thing that could happen and don’t forget that love and christmas are all around you, even in the most unlikely places.

Featured Image: Unsplash / Freestocks


Nowhere to go this Christmas? What would you do? Comment below or get in touch!

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