December 13, 2019, by Jem

REMEMBER to do this before you leave for Winter break

LOCK your windows, your doors, your drawers, your little notepads with their tiny silver padlocks.

IGNORE if you want to be burgled/have your secrets read.


BID farewell to those you live with.

WISH them a merry Christmas, if you are still fond of their personalities.


EAT all of the nonsense inside of your fridge. Including sauces. Including flatmate’s peppers.

KNOW that foodstuffs, like friendships, are liable to turn rotten.


PACK what is most dear to you; i.e. belongings of enormous sentimental value.

I have a large poster white-tacked to my wall featuring me and my brute cousin mucking around one glorious Christmas. Before I go, I will peel the thing down, roll it into a cylinder, and place it inside of its cardboard tube.

I pack the poster because it is a warm memory that I cannot bear to part with. But aside from that, it is also good to have handy on Christmas day. If my cousin pulls the cracker with me and wins the crown and goodie, then I can reach for the cardboard tube stowed beneath the table, pull off the cap, unravel the poster, point to the memory, and say:

“Look here at the golden crown resting on my teenage fringe and be reminded that I won the cracker pull of Christmas 2011. That cracker contained a jigsaw of a robin perched on a snow-topped branch and it melted my heart the moment I completed it. Compare that sweet prize to whatever tat you’ve just won. 2011 was a vintage year for goodies. Any wins you’ve had since 2011 have granted you inferior prizes to my jigsaw and have also meant exponentially less as we’ve grown up, matured, and become adults.” But I won’t have to say any of that because I have been practising in my room and know now a certain cracker grip. Let’s just say that this year, I will be handing my cousin the crumpled ‘Christmas joke’ to stop her from crying.

SO yes, pack necessities, toothbrush etc., but leave room in your suitcase for things that serve other purposes.

HIDE something from your flatmate if you have felt a hostile tension quietly rising between the two of you throughout the semester and have wanted to inconvenience them in some way but have lacked the courage to do so due to being within striking distance of them.

TUCK their favourite pan or/and wooden spoon behind the sofa before training it back to your hometown.

WATCH sunny green fields streaming past the carriage window as you are carried an extra fifty miles, every hour, away from your crime.

ALLOW a little mischief to shine in your smile.


During the holiday:

SHUN incoming messages concerning a lost pan and wooden spoon in flat group chat.

FOCUS instead on celebrating Christmas and positioning thumb and ring finger subtly onto centre piece of cracker so as to increase odds of glory, massively.

WIN goodie and crown this year and return to flat wearing the crown and all the Kingly courage that comes with it – courage enough, perhaps, to hide things even when within range of flatmate’s palms.

ASSEMBLE new jigsaw (fingers-crossed that prize from cracker is another jigsaw of a tiny robin) and feel heart melt to crimson soup.

Posted in Jem