December 28, 2015, by Emily Howard

Remember the important things

There’s one thing that we’re victim to at this time of year. It’s hiding under the bed, it’s looming above the mirror, and it lurks around every corner: beware the cunning complacency. It’s not surprising really; after a whole hectic term of hard work, especially come the final few days, every student feels spent (in every sense of the word) and ready to relax. A few weeks into the holidays, however, and the warm house, Christmas gifts, and copious amounts of free food distort our sense of normality. Side effects of the festive period include idleness, egomania and overindulgence. This is all very enjoyable until January creeps up once again, a reminder of the foreboding reality when hard work hits like a snowball to the face.

As a fresher, the haven of the Christmas holidays was so welcome – especially being “looked after” again after the first few months of independence – that it was all too easy to forget the responsibilities waiting come the new year. The family all wanted to hear how university was going; and the word “I” slipped out as frequently and unconsciously as breathing. As such, not only were January exams a shock but fitting one’s head back into one’s metaphorical studying-cap was also a struggle.

Three years into university, however, and the lessons have been learnt. Naturally, the holidays are still a welcome respite; the presents and feasts do still succeed in tempting overindulgence and switching on the central heating does still become habitual. Yet one thing has changed: the appreciation. No longer are these luxuries taken for granted, and no longer does one’s head replicate the size of this year’s Christmas pudding. Perhaps its part and parcel of entering adulthood, but the precious nature of Christmas sparkles clearer than the lights on the tree. Family is the best present, food is a treat, and the holiday is just that: a holiday.

While the kids are overjoyed playing with their presents, the adults are overjoyed at watching them. It may sound sentimental, but maybe this encapsulates the transition to adulthood that we all face. And maybe this Christmastime you won’t be thinking of the presents under the tree, like last year, but what really makes the holidays so happy. Because, let’s face it, that cinnamon-scented candle can’t ward off encroaching complacency all by itself.

Posted in Emily