191 Views

Christmas in university halls: a family event

Last year’s Christmas was a tough one for my family, leaving me determined to create new and better memories this year. So I decided to host Christmas day myself, catered and served in my flat in Northfield.

 

Last year, two days after Christmas, I woke in the early hours of morning to a paramedic standing over me. My heart rate was in the low 200s and my lungs were barely functioning.

 

An hour later I was lying in Resus fighting for my life. Jump another three hours and I was saying goodbye to my girlfriend and my mother as I was taken into theatre – the surgeon wasn’t sure what he was looking for, but he didn’t have time to waste figuring it out.

 

On New Year’s Eve, I rolled over in my hospital bed and watched the clock as it ticked over into 2016…

 

I was released from hospital just a week after I went in, but two weeks after I was discharged my mum was back in the same ward, this time visiting my grandmother who had also been rushed in very suddenly. One more week down the line, she had a call from a nurse to say that my nan had died.

 

With these dark memories overshadowing the festive season, I was determined to make 2016 the best possible Christmas for my family.

 

It had long been our Christmas tradition to wake up early and open our presents. My mum would go to church, and then my sister and I would meet her afterwards and walk 30 minutes to my grandmother’s house. The turkey crown would be in the oven when we arrived, and she’d be sitting in the living room watching TV.

 

It dawned on me, fairly early into 2016, that I would never again walk into my nan’s kitchen and smell the turkey cooking. I would never again walk through the double doors from the kitchen into her living room and see her watching Eastenders on catchup.

 

As sad as this realisation made me, I knew that my sense of loss would be nothing compared to that of my mother. Christmas had been ruined for her forever by the tragedies of the last, and the gaping hole in our annual tradition left by my nan’s departure would only serve to amplify her sadness.

 

I wanted to do something to change that; something quirky that would distract her from the worst of her emotions. At the very least I hoped it would take the stress of arranging the festivities off her plate – to be replaced by turkey!

 

That is how I decided to host our Christmas dinner myself, catered and served in halls. The festive bird roasted in the same oven that reheats my daily pizza, and then carved on the same table that has seen games of beer pong and of Ring of Fire a hundred times over.

 

When we’re younger Christmas is – rather selfishly – all about our own enjoyment. Our parents cook for us, they shower us with gifts, they even eat the cookies and milk that we leave out for Santa’s reindeer to keep the illusion going just one more year. They swallow down all the dairy despite knowing that they’re going to need all the room they can get for the deluge of food the following day.

 

As cliché as it sounds, the older we get the less Christmas becomes about receiving and the more it becomes about giving. Suddenly we want to spoil our loved ones, rather than being spoiled ourselves. Or at least, we’re willing to vie for a healthy balance of the two.

 

The presence of this role reversal was poignant to me when I woke up at 8am to start prepping the Christmas dinner. No longer was everything being done for me; the responsibility was on my own head now.

 

The first thing that I noticed about my Northfield version of Christmas was the hangover – certainly not something that I remember experiencing as an eight-year-old on Christmas day morning! The second was that putting your hand up the backside of a turkey with a hangover is not ideal.

 

After removing the innards of the turkey, I took half an hour to sit down and fight the urge to vomit whilst contemplating veganism. I then went to pick up my mother and my sister, both of whom conveniently live in Brighton.

 

In true student style, the sink is still full of washing up as I write – a full 28 hours after the meal. But in my defense the food coma was one to be reckoned with and roasting a turkey for 4 hours leaves some stains that you just don’t have the stomach to tackle when nursing a hangover… Particularly with a big meal threatening to make a reappearance all over the cheese board.

 

In many ways, Christmas in Halls was no different to Christmas at nan’s. There was Monopoly, there was turkey – and I’d even overcooked the veg. Being the one in charge was certainly a contrast, but it was one that I enjoyed. Seeing my mum smile and relax, one of the few times that I have seen her do either in 2016, was the best gift that I could have asked for.

 

My scenic distraction had worked. My nan was definitely not forgotten, but now her memory was a source of smiles and laughter rather than a reminder of her absence.

 

We toasted to her at the end of the meal, before mum insisted on helping me clean up. It may even have been the first time in my life that I have protested her cleaning up after me, but still she wouldn’t take no for an answer.

 

On the whole, Christmas in Northfield was a success. Every family has different Christmas traditions, and while I might only be a fresher in Halls once – I’ve at least carried on nan’s tradition of blackened broccoli. And none of us would change that for the world.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
691 views1
Campus News
691 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
151 views
Arts
151 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
177 views
Arts
177 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
166 views
Arts
166 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
203 views
Arts
203 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
211 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
204 views
Arts
204 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
198 views
Arts
198 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
317 views
Campus News
317 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
157 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
422 views
Arts
422 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
197 views
Arts
197 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu
Artist Focus
296 views
Artist Focus
296 views

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - May 16, 2018

Last week artist Fedilou made her debut exhibition in the downstairs space of Morelli Zorelli, a quaint vegan Italian restaurant in Hove, featuring a collection of intimate…

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley
Interview
201 views
Interview
201 views

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley

Nikolaos Manesis - May 15, 2018

Ron Chrisley is a Reader in Philosophy, on the faculty of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, and is the director of COGS (Centre for Cognitive Science).…

Adam review
Arts
281 views
Arts
281 views

Adam review

Ketan Jha - May 13, 2018

If you have been a stranger to the stage this spring and decide to see one contemporary show, let it be Adam. This reviewer went in entirely…

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
316 views
Arts
316 views

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 13, 2018

In celebration of iconic Brighton local, legendary alt-rock musician (and episodic actor) Nick Cave, TOM’s Film Club are hosting a double-bill screening of his films at The…

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review
Arts
358 views
Arts
358 views

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review

Georgia Grace - May 11, 2018

Meta-theatricality and interactivity are becoming all the more vogue in contemporary theatre, and in a world where the arts are becoming increasingly open and democratised, I find…

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks
Artist Focus
256 views
Artist Focus
256 views

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks

Alex Leissle - May 9, 2018

  [gallery type="slideshow" ids="35385,35386,35387,35388,35389,35390,35391,35392,35393,35394,35395,35396,35397,35398,35399,35400,35401,35402,35403,35404,35405,35406,35407,35408,35409,35410,35411"]

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival
Books
267 views
Books
267 views

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival

William Singh - May 9, 2018

Afua Hirsch’s 2018 book - part memoir, part polemic - provokes mixed feelings. So too did her discussion of the topic at this year’s Brighton Festival. Don’t…

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality
Science
346 views
Science
346 views

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality

Luke Richards - May 8, 2018

Bioweapons exist, while ethnic-bioweapons are whispered conspiracies. Pandemics can fairly hazardous to human life, the 1918 Flu Pandemic killed 20-50 million people. A man made pandemic could…

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced
News
327 views
News
327 views

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced

Jessica Hubbard - May 4, 2018

Students have voted to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, reject Prevent and adopt new Gender Equality policies. Results for the Students' Union referenda were…