The Christmas Holidays are full of festive fun, but the start of University marks some noticeable changes compared to the good ol’ School days; gift giving habits, alcohol-fuelled fun and added exam stress to name a few. We've come up with 8 things that change, for better or for worse.

1. You Can't Afford to Buy Presents

“Christmas Shopping is hard when your Mum deserves an island but you can only afford a candle.”

Gone are the days of spending your hard earned pocket money on your loved ones at Christmas. Ever since starting Uni your parents have encouraged ‘independence’, meaning saying goodbye to any financial help. With the next loan instalment not coming in until January, December is a struggle and being part of multiple Secret Santa’s doesn’t help. Time to work out how to spoil your family and friends with just a tenner.

money for christmas presents

2. You can drink (legally)

Now you’re a Uni student, Christmas is a lot more fun. The main reason? Alcohol. Before turning 18, all our parents have offered us a ‘little glass of wine’ at Christmas; but now you’re at Uni it is totally acceptable to go on a guilt free Christmas bender. As more and more parents perfect the art of Facebook stalking, they know the score. Christmas day improves a whole lot with all the festive beverages on offer.

Christmas Drinking at University

3. Seeing your friends from home

One of the best things about coming home from Uni is seeing your school friends after months of separation. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, and unlike the school days when you were sick of the sight of them, now you can’t wait for the big reunion! Reminiscing about the old days of drinking Wkd in the local park and that time a kid in the year below wet themselves in assembly never gets old. A messy night out is, of course, compulsory. Everyone tends to get a bit overexcited and most people don’t make it past pre-drinks.   

Reunion with Friends

4. Putting up with your Family

Much like with your friends, having not seen your family in a while makes them a whole lot more bearable. In small doses, obviously: having to tell them your exact whereabouts can get annoying, and the endless questioning about what you’re going to do when you graduate will eventually wear you down.

Parents asking what you're going to do when you Graduate

5. Home cooked meals

After months of nutritional deprivation and scavenging for scraps, nothing beats a home cooked meal - especially at Christmas. A stark contrast to Lidl’s reduced food section, students across the country rejoice at the thought of the full fridge that awaits and expect multiple treats upon arrival home. Whilst you and your housemates give a full roast your best shot, it just doesn’t compare to your Mum’s.

home cooked meals

6. January Exam Stress

As we rise up the educational ranks, there is one constant source of stress over Christmas: January exams (unless you do a Drama degree, that is). If anything, the stress gets worse each year. Homework turns into GCSE revision, then into A-levels, and so on... Dealing with the horror of having to do work at a supposedly ‘celebratory’ time of year tends to lead to denial and procrastinating. The devastating realisation at the end of the Christmas break that you’ve done literally no work is inevitable.

Inbetweeners January Exam Stress

7. You know Santa doesn’t exist

Whether you found out the heart breaking truth behind the half eaten carrot you lovingly left out every year at age 6 or 16, it doesn’t get much easier. This is a Christmas game changer. As soon as you find out Santa isn’t real, your parents deem it acceptable to do away with your Christmas stocking, and from that moment onwards Christmas is never the same.

Buddy the Elf Santa

8. Deciding how much stuff to take home

This is a decision you were not faced with as a school kid -  with age comes big responsibility. Despite making painstaking decisions on what to pack, you’ll inevitably end up with multiple bags bursting with unnecessary items. For the unlucky amongst us who have to move out of Halls for Christmas, it doesn’t get much worse. (Unless your parents refuse to pick you up and you have to struggle alone on a packed train...)

Packing to go home from Uni

All in all we’ve come to the conclusion that the Christmas Holidays are great no matter what, and are a perfect excuse to Eat, Drink and be Merry! 

Check out our Guide to Family Christmas Gifts and How to Host the Perfect University Christmas for more festive vibes.

Top Student Offers and Freebies