“It's the most wonderful time of the year” now… As you might open one of the advent calendars in search for your daily reward, you might realise that this Christmas might be a “different kind of Christmas.” If you were fortunate to use the travel window as a way to return home – I envy you.
I am a European student and the thought of going back home at Christmas is something that cheers me up every single year! It is the only vacation when I do have the certainty that I can return home (because in the spring vacation, usually there are Spring insights or any other employability events that I do not want to miss out and in the summer, I either volunteer or work). Consequently, this year was the same - I was looking forward to flying back home, revise for my winter exams and participate in all family traditions.
But unfortunately, the pandemic was not on my side and I had to settle for celebrating the winter holidays from Manchester. It is extremely disappointing that I would not be able to bake cookies with my mum or do the Christmas tree with my dad but I am grateful and happy that I am healthy - and they are as well.
I think that it is extremely critical to remember that, although it might be daunting and maybe even a little bit depressing, if you are staying over Christmas in Manchester and you do not have friends and family close to you - you are not alone! There are people in place (such as the ResLife advisors that are available 24/24 in the University Closure Days period and any other support services) that might cheer you up and make you feel less lonely). Plus, we are fortunate enough to live in a world in which with a touch of a button, you can see your dear ones online - and maybe then, the loneliness and the disappointment of not sharing precious moments with them will fade away.
My parents were quite creative this year - I actually received through delivery my preferred cookies made by my mum, Christmas ornaments and a little tree. Maybe you can think of ways of feeling connected with your local traditions - either by video conferences, preparing the traditional dishes or sending presents via post. Although I miss the act of packing them and seeing people's smile while they open them up, this year postal deliveries will do for me. Although it is not an ideal situation, I am hoping that this type of virtual, distanced Christmas will be happening only this year.
Be prepared, 2021, I will have my revenge when it comes to Christmas Caroling, filling stockings and volunteer before the big celebrations. I like to think that there are better Christmases to come!