Christmas is coming for you. It feels like the decorations have been up in Tesco since late spring, and the lights are hanging above Market Street.
For most of us that also means that we can escape the Bubble for a whole month, returning home to be wined and dined by those lucky to see us back, where it will no doubt be noted that ‘YOU drink wine faster than you did before you left’.
As lovely as it will be to get out of St Andrews for a few weeks though I don’t doubt that we will, after a bit, miss it somewhat. To an extent you could even call it a strange kind of homesickness.
With this in mind I have decided to consider ways in which it would be possible to remind ourselves of ‘home’ while back at home. If you catch my drift.
Firstly, organise Christmas dinner drinking games with siblings, age permitting of course, or even just by yourself.For every roast potato you have, fling back a sambuca shot with it. You beat aunty Deidre when you pulled a cracker leaving you with a paper hat and plastic kazoo? Celebrate with a jägerbomb. You didn’t win? Drown your sorrows with a vodka and coke. If nan has fallen asleep after her second glass of sherry naturally that means you have to down a dirty pint.
Most importantly though the cornerstone to this game is that if anybody, and I mean anybody, even uncle Gordon or dear old granny Mildred, mentions the John Lewis Christmas advert they have to strawpedo a bottle of port and then be waterboarded with a box of wine. It’s not heart warming, it’s about a child who thinks a stuffed penguin is real. If anything that child needs to lay off the hallucinogenics.
Secondly, walking around can be intimidating outside of St Andrews. If you live in a city, or even just a large town then the sight of a building with more than two floors other than the library, arts building, or Westport court is likely to lead to a breakdown.
Going out may also lead to confusion at the sheer number of places you can go out to in a normal place. With this in mind, if you do go out in say, London, ensure your mind does not become over-exerted because of the choice by simply going to the same two places every night for a month. And when you go in pretend you know everyone. And make sure you go out in clothes far too smart for the occasion. To ensure this I recommend white tie everywhere. With a cummerbund.
On the same note, buying drinks in the real world can be horrifyingly cheap so to avoid confusion being or weighed down with small change, when ordering a vodka and lemonade or a beer simply throw a tenner at the barman and walk off.
Other options to ensure you don’t miss St Andrews too much include: crying in libraries, sniffing Barbours just to get the scent back, going into Tesco and shouting: “HOW MUCH?!”, making sure your bank balance never goes above £1, hiring someone to follow you around at all times with a high-power electric fan blowing in your face to mimic wind, buying a pet seagull, and keeping at least one slice of cold pizza in your room at all times. You’ll feel right at home.
Christmas will be difficult for all of us. Long evenings spent sitting around singing Happy Birthday to Jesus will no longer quite have the joy of before and you may find your mind beginning to wander. But we are from St Andrews.
We know how to combat this…
That’s right, if your dad’s stories of his childhood are making you nod off, pop a couple of Adderall and suddenly you’ll be hanging off his every word. Until you notice the lights on the tree and end up spending three hours staring at them as they flash on. Then off. On. Off. On. Off.
It won’t be all bad to be home for Christmas though. Mum can do the washing again, and Dad can cook instead of you having carbonara for the fifth time that week. You have Christmas dinner to look forward to.
Spare a thought for anyone staying here for Christmas as you tuck into your turkey and cut open your first roast potato, they will be sitting down to a pot noodle, a Tennent’s and Love Actually. Oh – how festive.