By Emily Ashton
Although for some it may seem very early to be thinking about Christmas, for a lot of us we will be going home for the Christmas break in the travel window next week. That means that if we have any hope of having Christmas celebrations with our uni friends, we’re going to have to do it fairly soon.
As a third year student myself, the thought of this being my last Christmas at uni is really sad. Despite the circumstances, I want to try and make the most of it so here are my top tips of having a fun but affordable Christmas celebration which would be Boris approved.
Now by no means are decorations essential, in fact they are probably the least important. But, it can be nice to add some festive décor to your boring uni house. A Christmas tree is the most obvious place to start and you can sometimes find them for quite cheap. If you’re after a fake one that you can keep, try looking at the supermarket when you go for your shop, Morrison’s and Asda both have them for fairly cheap. Wilko’s in Headingley are also selling small real trees if you’d prefer that. If you split the cost between all your housemates, it probably won’t cost much. For decorations, you can get a pack with everything you need including baubles and a star from Morrison’s for £8. Tinsel is also fairly cheap, you can get some for £1 at Wilko. Or, someone could donate a string of fairy lights from their bedroom for a free alternative. If you’re feeling extra you could do all three!
If you don’t fancy going all out with the tree, even just decorating your kitchen or living room with tinsel or a Merry Christmas banner can bring more of a festive vibe to lighten the mood.
I really think Secret Santa is a great idea. If you’re planning on having a Christmas night with your flat or house, Secret Santa is perfect to bring everyone together and get everyone a nice gift. You can set a limit as low as £5 or as high as you like depending on your budget, it’s just nice for everyone to have something to unwrap and make it really feel like a Christmassy day.
We used drawnames.co.uk to pick ours and it’s really easy to use and means no one accidentally gets themselves!
For the gifts you could get each other really nice things, or agree to get joke presents or stick to a theme. You could even all get each other a game to play or something to do on your Christmas night to make it more fun. Try looking at pound shops or Home Bargains to get more for your money.
The most obvious thing to do is to have a Christmas dinner with the people you live with. All three years of uni I’ve had a house Christmas dinner, and it’s honestly not as expensive as you might think and is a lovely way to wrap up the first semester.I really recommend going to Aldi to buy the stuff for a Christmas dinner. The veg there is always a lot cheaper, and they also do cheap prosecco so what’s not to like! Again, you can spend as much or as little as you like depending on your budget and also what you like to have with your Christmas dinner.
My top tip is if you are a meat eater get a chicken instead of a turkey, a whole chicken from Aldi is only £2.50 and a turkey of a similar size was around £12. You can barely tell the difference and you’re saving yourself a lot of money. If you’re a veggie or vegan, Aldi are also selling a No Turkey Roast at the minute for £2.99!
Another top tip is to check, as a house, what you already have. Chances are you’ll all be going home for Christmas soon after so do any of you have some carrots or gravy granules you can spare? Even if it only saves you a couple of quid, it’s worth it. Stock up on whatever food you fancy and plenty of booze and you’re on to a winner. Again, once you split the money between everyone it really won’t be expensive as you think. We spent about £25 between four of us for the dinner, a pudding and alcohol (about £6 each).
On the Night
Pick a night when you’re all free (not difficult at the minute) and all that’s left to do is enjoy yourselves (and cook the dinner). Share the jobs of cooking and washing up between everyone, stick some Christmas music on and enjoy yourself. Get the prosecco flowing, open your Secret Santa presents and just relax and enjoy the night. Whether you’re the type of house to sit and play board games or the type of house to put on some dance music and stay up till 6am, it’s your night so celebrate the way you want to.
It’s been a difficult year and a challenging semester, and I think we all deserve a night of fun in amongst all this craziness. Just remember to stay safe, enjoy yourself and have an amazing Christmas.