Everything that happened around Christmas time at your embarrassingly posh private school

Mulled wine and nibbles anyone?

Christmas is a big deal – so it’s no surprise it was a really, really big deal at your oh-so-extra private school. Here’s everything that’d happen in the weeks leading up to Christmas:

Carol practice

For the last few weeks of school it’d be ‘O little town of Bethlehem’ non-stop in chapel. The head of music would stride up and down the chapel’s pews, ready to beat anyone who wasn’t singing properly. Maybe in the last hymn practice of terms things would get a bit naughty and you’d sing something fun like ‘Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer’ for a change. But not before singing your school song in Latin.

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Christmas chapel and carol services were lit

All the girls would have a last minute panic before Christmas chapel as housemistresses reminded everyone that shoulders weren’t allowed to be out in chapel – not ideal when your dress barely covered your arse, let alone your tits (and shoulders).  In the carol service someone would do a solo for the first verse of ‘Once in royal’ and you’d be awestruck, year after year, at how anyone could be so good at singing. Being asked to do a Bible reading was fucking terrifying but you sort of enjoyed the five minutes of fame you got afterwards when everyone said ‘well done’. You’d get a bit teary at your Upper Sixth carol service during ‘Hark! the herald angels sing’ – though whether that was from the vodka you’d necked in the toilets beforehand or out of sheer emotion is up for debate.

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Snow = wellies

A grudging email from a deputy head would be sent round letting you know that you could finally wear your Uggs after one of the FYs got frostbite and had to lose a toe. Leather just isn’t insulating. People would flock in wearing Hunters, Dublin boots, Chelsea boots – all sorts. Some cajoling rascal would try and push it by wearing a non-uniform coat as well, but they were quickly put in Sin Bin. All coats must be navy or black and longer than the school blazer, obvs.

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Snow = school

You go to a boarding school. The pupils aren’t going anywhere if it snows. No use saying ‘I can’t manage to get in’ if ‘getting in’ means traversing the college green to get to the science labs from your boarding house. But you managed to fit in some epic snowball fights along the way anyway, one of which is probably school legend by now.

You would freeze to death in chapel

The heating was broken for weeks. Unsurprising, really, when you realised the building was 400-odd years old. And you weren’t allowed to keep your coat on in chapel, so it was hello to chattering teeth and your breath fogging up in front of you, and goodbye to any feeling in your feet.

Two words: Christmas supper

The best night of the year, always, without fail. The food was always incredible – you were always made to thank the kitchen staff afterwards, and quite rightly so. The vibes were even better. If you had to perform a skit or some sort of sketch, it was the source of extreme tension and anxiety for the weeks leading up to it – but it was always hilarious. If you were in Sixth Form, you were meant to be ‘trusted with the wine’ by that stage, which meant by the time the Christmas pudding was rolled out you were practically falling off your chair. But for £12k a year, who’s going to say no to bottomless alcohol? Once the food was over, there ensued a sleepover of epic proportions: alcohol hidden in toilets, sneaking out, breaking into a boarding house of the opposite sex, having sex in the bushes, smoking out of windows, ordering pizza (despite the fact you’d just eaten a four course meal) – quite literally the most fun you could have whilst locked in a building with a bunch of people of the same age.

The Christmas tree going up was a big deal

It’d usually be decorated by the prefects, and it’d be bloody huge. Tbf, there were probably three or four if your campus was big. And then one per boarding house. Gigantic, extra, and probably really expensive – the tree was basically a microcosm of the school itself.

Your teachers would give you their advent calendar chocolates

Your relationship with teachers was real, seeing as half of them had to come and register you before bed and as a result had probably seen you post-shower, half-dressed, mascara down your face. You’d probably cried in front of half of them. You basically lived with them. It’s no wonder then that they let you eat their advent calendar chocolates, and then if you were lucky, they’d let you finish it off completely on the last day of term. I think some of my teachers liked me more than my own parents do and tbh I’m okay with that.

Saying goodbye to your foreign pals was sad

I mean, obvs you were going to jet over to see Ariana in Barcelona for like, a week, and of course you’re meeting up with Fionnuala when you’re both in Tignes but there just simply isn’t time to see Emilia in Berlin and Tiggy in Hong Kong as well. But it’s chill because you’re seeing Bea for mulled wine and nibbles next week and then Kitty’s going to the Boxing Day Hunt.

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