As holiday time approaches, so does the time when your grandma is going to ask you for the umpteenth time if you’ve found a suitable significant other and your parents will interrogate you about that unedifying picture uploaded onto Facebook after your last trip to the Lizard. But instead of just bringing stories of St Andrews back home with you, why not take a little piece of our charming town as well? Here are some of the Christmas presents which embody St Andrews to the full:
1. Eden Mill Gin: Our own local brewery may have recently been acquired by the beverage giant Carlsberg, but its products still retain that small-town quaintness and artisanal quality which made it originally so popular. For that outrageous drunken uncle or giddy aunt ever-relegated to the bottom end of the Christmas dinner table next to the kids, give them a bottle of Eden Mill’s finest gin and regale to them your own embarrassing stories of drinking from your own flask during Fresher’s. Available from Mitchells and Luvians for around £35.
2. Barbour Scarf: No one is expecting you to buy a bona fide Barbour jacket, but the Barbour scarf is a great little piece of the iconic unofficial brand of many a St Andrean that need not cost a fortune. Weave in a classically tedious (and British, for you international students) joke about the windswept conditions of Market Street as you give this tasteful gift to a family member who never misses an opportunity to ‘inform’ you as to how little sun there apparently is in Scotland. Available from Caledonian Country Wear for £24.99 (Lambswool) or £42.99 (Cashmere Blend).
3. Golf Balls: There is always that one member of the family who thinks that student life at St Andrews is just one long round on the Old Course, and will not fail to ask you if you got to see Zach Johnson’s final putt at the eighteenth hole this summer. You may have spent the majority of your term cooped up in the library or the pub, but here is an opportunity to whet their fanatical enthusiasm for that Good Walk Spoilt. Be careful to not accompany your present with an offer of accommodation for their next golf holiday. Available online or the Old Course Shop for £9.00
4. Red Gown Mug: And then there are the grandparents: singularly clueless as to what you are studying and where and as clueless as you as to what you’re going to do with the degree afterwards. The ‘Red Gown’ mug is one of many available for purchase, but is unique in its depiction of one of our most celebrated and salient traditions, the Pier Walk. An ideal prompt for your explanation when the inevitable question of “So… is it Oxford or Cambridge you’re at again?” is raised over a cup of tea. Available from the University Shop for £9.50.
5. St Andrews Book: Your proud mother is sure to have told her neighbours at her latest coffee morning about St Andrews’ enviable reputation amongst established academics. However, did she know that Carly Brown, a winner of the Scottish Championship for Slam Poetry, also hails from our classrooms? The book, ‘I Love St Andrews,’ that she has coproduced with illustrator Gillian Gamble is the perfect, somewhat sanitised, representation of St Andrews for a parent who still wants to believe that their raucous, Vic-going son or daughter is still the innocent child they dropped off in September. Available from Bonkers and Waterstones for £14.99.