Christmas Dinner

I know it’s been ages.  The last few weeks of the semester have been a blur of exams and final papers.  There’s a feeling of camaraderie that descends over the Uni during finals.  The library is packed with nervous students, Facebook pages are constantly updated with expletives, and everyone is generally sleep deprived and strung out on caffeine.  It doesn’t help that we’re now in the darkest part of the year, where the sun literally sets at 2:30.  I’m not kidding.  It creates a kind of constant-night, so you always feel like you’re up late cramming for exams, even if it’s only 4 or 5 in the afternoon.

All of this studying and darkness can be a bit much.  Thankfully, there are plenty of distractions.  Welcome to Christmas dinner season.

When I first came to Edinburgh in September, I was puzzled by all the signs in the windows of restaurants.  “Book Christmas dinner now!”  they proclaimed.  “3-Course Xmas dinner, only $20!” read the sign outside the Japanese restaurant near my house.  Christmas dinner is a big deal here.  And luckily, it’s not relegated to Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Christmas dinner consists of traditional, Christmas-y dishes such as some sort of roast bird, parsnips, squash and of course a Christmas-themed dessert, or as it’s called in Edinburgh, “pudding.”  (I think Christmas “pudding” may just be called “Christmas pudding.”  No explanation needed.)

People go out for Christmas dinner, host it in their homes, and if you’re in any of the societies at Uni, they’ll most definitely be one.  I attended the Investment and Trading Club’s annual Christmas dinner.  We all met up at a great restaurant, where we had a delicious, three-course meal (paid for by tickets we had purchased).  We took over most of the restaurant, and everyone sat at random tables, which provided a great opportunity to meet new people (the continuous replenishment of wine didn’t hurt, either).  Everyone gamely donned the paper crowns that came out of the Christmas crackers that had been placed next to each person’s plate.  The crackers also held other valuable prizes, like a plastic butterfly keychain, and a miniature bowling set (I swapped my bowling set for the keychain).  After dinner, we all went to a club, where the merriment continued until early the next morning.  It was the perfect end to my first semester.

As I write this, I’m back in the States for winter break.  It feels odd to look back on my first semester at Edinburgh, almost like it didn’t really happen.  For now, I’ll be enjoying my very own Christmas dinner, Amuuurica style (cue the hormone-enlarged turkey).  See you next year!