Winter Holidays Away From Home

Although most students go home for the holidays in winter, some don’t! For whatever reason, be it preference or necessity, it can be a little odd to experience. The campus empties out dramatically towards the end of December in preparation for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and you may find yourself a bit lonely, especially if you are living in halls where most if not all of your cluster has migrated away for the short holiday season.
This year, since I was on placement in the USA, I couldn’t return home for the holidays, as the flight would cost too much money. It was a strange feeling to be in a different country around this time of year, as usually I would be with my parents and family for Christmas and usually with old secondary school or sixth form friends for New Year’s Eve (for the past few years, we’ve even held a pre-Christmas dinner party, lovingly dubbed “Mockmas”). There are a few ways to alleviate the weird feeling this time of year that may help as much at Edge Hill University as they did for me in Chicago.

Number one, in the lead-up to Christmas, my Dad visited me over here in the States. If you can’t be with your family on Christmas, bring your family to you instead! The same principle applies with friends if you’re going to miss seeing them over Winter Break, see if any of them can come to Edge Hill University beforehand and have a catch-up or mini Christmas dinner. Maybe exchange gifts!

My very own Christmas Trash Tree

Number two. One of the highlights of Christmas for me as a child (and a teenager, let’s be honest) was the presents, the gift giving and receiving always felt like the core event, since I was never big on roast dinner, or food in general. Perhaps you’ll be sent gifts in the mail, or maybe some money. You might feel silly, but if you buy yourself gifts beforehand and set them aside until Christmas, you’ll have something to look forward to!

Number three, call people! In the glorious age of modern technology, you can hear the voices of nearly anyone you know in an instant, and maybe even see their faces too. It’s one thing to greet family one by one as your family arrive at your gran’s house, but something else entirely to suddenly have them all there on your phone’s tiny screen as the camera is moved from person to person – quite overwhelming! Still, a lovely substitute.

Lastly, is spending it with friends. Hopefully, you’ve made some friends either through your halls, societies, or course – and some of them might be local, or staying over the holidays too! You never know until you ask, so find out who will be on campus, or in the relatively close area, and arrange a meet-up. They might invite you over for Christmas or New Year’s, or you could just hang out in between, and easy the Winter Blues.
Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah!

Hi guys!

As Christmas is approaching, I thought it would be the perfect time to reflect on my experience of Christmas at Edge Hill. As I am Jewish, I celebrated Hanukkah – a festival which happens to take place at a similar time to Christmas. Recently, the BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) committee created a Hanukkah stall in the hub with objects such as ‘dreidels’ and ‘menorahs’ to share our traditions. Watching people of different faiths come together to learn more about one another, is something I wish I could experience more often. The acceptance and celebration of faith at Edge Hill really is wonderful.

Christmas is a lovely time with Christmas markets, the Christian Union’s carol services, and all the festive spirit amongst students and teachers. The small moments like putting up Christmas decorations (something I had never done before!) and wearing Christmas outfits on campus, allows everyone to enjoy an early Christmas together!

However, I find it difficult not to think about the people who will spend Christmas alone. I recently watched Channel 4’s ‘Old People’s Home for Four Year Old’s’ which showed groups of children visiting the elderly in an old-age home. Teaming up with Age UK, this documentary drew attention to the people who do not have anybody to share Christmas with. When their children live in another town and their friends sadly pass away, older people are often left with no contact with the outside world. 89-year-old Hamish spoke about Christmas from the perspective of too many:

“As we approach Christmas, there’s little doubt that loneliness, which grips your heart at all times, becomes far more acute when you look around and see everyone else enjoying themselves, meeting up with different people for parties – and here you are stuck on your own,” he said. Hamish’s words really stuck with me and the documentary revealed how easy it can be to help Age UK by donating or volunteering – I’ll leave a link below.

Whether you celebrate Christmas with your friends or your family, I hope you have a lovely holiday. As you look around the dinner table, cherish those small but special moments of being together with the people you love – happy holidays everyone! 🙂