Three Tales of Christmas Plans: how students' holiday plans have changed this year

by Claudia Sofia, Tom Nice and Alex Charilaou

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of InQuire Media

Image courtesy of Alanna McCrum

Adapting to a Christmas away from my mum

By Claudia Sofia

Going back home for Christmas has proved to be quite impossible for me as a Jersey (Channel Islands) resident. The current government regulations are that any passengers coming into the island from “red zones” (Canterbury included) must take 3 PCR tests on day 0, day 5 and day 10 of their stay, and during this period, they have to remain in self-isolation. On top of that, the UK’s student travel window lasted only from 3-9 December, while my final deadlines are on 18 December and I am the kind of person who cannot work at home. Let alone in a strict ten-day isolation locked in my perpetually cold room where I don’t even have a desk.

Even if I returned home after my deadlines, I would have to eat Christmas dinner on the floor by my bedroom door, with my mum on the other side in the corridor. Or she would have to isolate for those 10 days with me; something she cannot afford to do when rising COVID cases on the island are likely to put Jersey into its second lockdown and put her out of work again.

My plans are therefore to spend Christmas with my boyfriend, his mum and their two Spanish water dogs in Lewes. Yet the guilt of not going home consumes me. I have to push the thought of my mum spending Christmas alone out of my mind every day and try to focus on my towering responsibilities. It will be my first ever Christmas away from her and though our Christmases are small and quiet, at least we have always had each other.

My aunt used to say, rather cynically, that Christmas is only exciting when you’re “reuniting” with people you haven’t seen in a while. Travelling back to the motherland to spend Christmas with my extended family is beyond impossible now, and the pandemic has also rendered spending it with my mum just as impossible. But I’ll be reuniting with my boyfriend and his little family after my two-week essay writing hermitage, and if my aunt’s aphorisms are anything to go by, I’m in for a pretty exciting Christmas.

Keeping it local and celebrating Christmas in Canterbury

By Alex Charilaou

This is going to be a funny old Christmas. For nearly 20 years, Christmas had consistently involved me, my parents and grandparents, sitting around their dinner table, eating a massive dinner and (given our earnest patriotic duty) solemnly saluting at the Queen’s Speech. By no means the most exciting thing on television, my most important ritual was the Doctor Who Christmas Special, but like so much else, it was taken from me. Though, this year, Doctor Who is very low on my list of priorities.

My grandparents are shielders, and this will be my first Christmas without them. I didn’t fully grasp a few months ago how much it would affect me; Christmas had changed for me over the years from something childishly magical to a superficial waste of time. This Christmas though, I’ve realised how much I miss my family, and how much Christmas can come to mean to me.

I’m very excited for the festivities this year; this is the first Christmas I’m spending with my partner and his parents. It’ll be lovely. We’re hosting in our flat in Canterbury and we’ve already got the tree up and the tinsel hung. I’ll be cooking Christmas dinner too, which is a welcome opportunity to satiate my frankly concerning need for control (broccoli is not a Christmas vegetable and it will not be on the menu). I just wish it was under better circumstances. Instead of the New Years party and the Boxing Day lunch I’d have relished after my first Christmas away from my family, I don’t know when I’ll see my parents and grandparents again. But like so much else in 2020, I guess the trick is making the best of things.

Home sweet home: puppies and Tier 1 Winter Wonderland

By Tom Nice

Home for me is in Cornwall. One of only 3 places that after the lockdown will be under Tier 1 guidelines. Lockdown has finally come to a close and I find myself welcoming the shift back to a tier system that brings along with it– for of us here who do not have to shield– the freedom to move safely and enjoy the season. With plans from PM Johnson to tighten the already contested lockdown tiers, life in Cornwall could likely become the source of much more envy.

As for me, I’m happy to be home and looking forward to a different, but altogether great Christmas. Though we will not be able to see family this Christmas, we will have some very new and special guests. Lockdown provided a great opportunity for my family to not only spend more time together, but also to rear some beautiful Cockapoo puppies.

Seven altogether, now 6 as the runt of the litter was unable to pull through. 2 girls and 4 boys. 4 apricot and 2 black. Our family of 6 Christmas doubled overnight, with our new holiday guests Frank, Rango, Bindi, Ron, Edna, and Louis. Come Christmas the pups will be nearly 7 weeks old and in their last month with us. These daily doses of endorphins have reinvigorated my productivity and have been a welcome distraction from the doom and gloom of lockdown 2.

Wishing everyone a merry and safe Christmas, from my family to yours.

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