For me, 2014 really was a year that progressed from awful to awesome with alarming speed and efficiency. And in that vein, this Christmas really did kick last Christmas not only back into 2013, but right back into somewhere during the Dark Ages.
In a nutshell:
More people, less pressure.
In a slightly expanded nutshell:
Huge quantities of the right people, and some pressure which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and thrived under.
In a totally unnecessary and long-winded blog post…
I think Christmas really began in our flat at Uni on the 1st December, when I came back from my last “Analysing Television” seminar in my Christmas jumper and decided it was time to “Christmas up the kitchen”. I sat down with some paper and started making some snowflakes. Then came the Christmas music. Then after about an hour, our whole little odd family was sitting around the table making decorations and planning out how we’d celebrate the festive season in style.
We ended up—among other things such as an Australian-themed birthday party for a flatmate, for which I dressed as a Pavlova (don’t ask, there was much debate and it was what she wanted)—organising a Christmas dinner for the whole flat. Myself and one flatmate took charge, and with some help from the others we cooked a Christmas dinner for thirteen people using our only working hob ring (cheers, maintenance), a grill and two microwaves… as well as the hobs and grill, on one occasion, of the flat upstairs.
We did it! Secret Santa ensued, organised by a frazzled and stressed Yours Truly, and was a surprising success.
For all the fun in the flat, though, tensions ran a little high after living with strangers for twelve weeks and most of us couldn’t wait to get home. I flew back to Ireland on the 15th—after sleeping through my alarm and almost missing my bus in classic first-time-adult fashion—and there was a surprise waiting for me at the airport. One of my best friends from school was going to America the next day for the holidays so we thought we’d miss each other, or only get to chat for a few moments. So she came to meet me at the airport with my parents! It was a wonderful surmise… but to be honest, I’d have expected nothing less from her.
Om getting home, I slept. And slept. I slept for sixteen hours the first night and fourteen the second, with naps in between. Bliss.
And then it began. Two brothers, respective partners and parents home for the holiday. Dozens of relatives to visit over three weeks. Tons of friends to catch up with from school and to miss from University. I also had some work to do, but the only sign of the Leaving Cert I saw were some discarded folders in the office with awful words like "Business Studies--ABQ" on them. How disgusting. Last Christmas I was working toward the most important exam I'd take for a long time, but this holiday took place after about 75% of my coursework for the entire semester had already been handed in. I know it won't always be like this--which is why I intend to tak full advantage while it lasts--but I still maintain, hope and pray that no year will be as stressful as that of the Leaving Cert: academically and personally. If I that weren't the case then I don't think I could carry on. I think that being surrounded by the right people and growing up a bit, however, I could tackle any more stress a lot better next time round.
So essentially, my Christmas at home followed suit with the last three months in that it contained many more wonderful people than the year before, and life was a lot less stressful with less life-changing decisions to make and less to study for and panic about.
One Christmas tradition in my house is to watch "The Muppets' Christmas Carol" every year. New family members are indoctrinated into this. You can read a wonderful review of that by my friend the blogger and amazing film buff, Eliott, here).