Katie Wells 18th December 2018
It’s Christmas Eve in the Nineties. You’re wearing your favourite pyjamas, a Christmas film is on in the background and you’re writing your letter to Santa. Back in those good old days, a brand new Game Boy, Bratz Doll or Furby would have undoubtedly been at the top of every millennial’s Christmas list. Life was easy for us then; our only worries were keeping our Tamagotchi alive or remembering to return our Blockbuster videos on time.
However, now older, wiser and more painfully aware of the mess that is Britain in 2018, the Christmas wishes of millennials have changed slightly. Long gone are the days when we anxiously awaited Christmas morning to find our stockings filled to the brim with sweets and toys. Now all we want is to be able to live some kind of life without wracking up endless debt (and maybe some new socks, for good measure).
We asked six millennials if we could take a peek at what might be in their letters to Santa this year.
This year I would really like a house, because we both know I’ll never be able to afford one on my own.
Some people think that I can’t afford a home because I spend all of my money on Starbucks coffee, but between you and me, I’m just not paid enough. I have a good education and a good job, and I can afford to live relatively comfortably, but after rent and all of my living expenses, I don’t have much money spare to set aside in savings for my own home. Unless I want to live with my parents until I’m 40, I’ll probably be trapped renting for my whole life.
If I found the keys to my dream house (a small cottage in the countryside, just FYI) sitting under the tree on Christmas morning, I would be over the moon. I know this might be difficult as plenty of other people are desperate for houses too, so if you can’t get me one this Christmas, a jumper or some chocolates would be quite nice.
Laura (aged 22 and a half)
Fair tuition fees
What I really want for Christmas this year is for universities to stop making money from students.
As any student will know, being asked to pay £9,250 a year is ridiculous, especially if you’re an arts student, like me. To put this in perspective — as I know you probably aren’t familiar with the English university system in the North Pole — for that extortionate sum, I get two lectures and two seminars a week for the 22 weeks of the year we are taught. This works out at roughly £100 for every contact hour.
I know my fees don’t only pay for my direct tuition. They pay for campus facilities as well, and it’s true that I have access to several beautifully stocked libraries, but on my course (English Literature) there is still an expectation that you buy the books you study. This can mean having to fork out about £150 every semester for new books, simply to be able to participate in a course I am already paying for!
This year has been particularly unfair. Lots of universities around the country seemed to make money off the University and College Union (UCU) strikes. For the 14 days that the tutors were off work, they were not paid, but students still had to pay their tuition fees. After the strikes, my university said the money they essentially profited off the strikes would be put back into the students — but I don’t know where any of it has gone.
As you can see Santa, the university fees system in England needs changing, so this year for Christmas I would really appreciate it if you could do anything you can to make it a little bit fairer.
Georgina (aged 21 and ¾)
I would LOVE a calculator, abacus or any device that will help me count, because you know us silly millennials — we’re only poor because we can’t budget!
If I didn’t throw all of my spare cash away on extravagant luxuries like avocados, I would be able to afford a £200,000 house in no time at all! A calculator would really help me work out my money troubles because, obviously, my spending habits are the reason why I can’t afford a house — not the nationwide housing crisis that the government hasn’t solved!
Olivia (aged 22)
All I want for Christmas is EU. It’s been a tough year with Brexit negotiations struggling on, and to be frank, I’m pretty fed up with it all.
I think it’s safe to say that most of my generation didn’t want Brexit and didn’t vote for it, but here we are. I know that this isn’t a “millennial problem” and that lots of different people have different opinions about it, but my generation is going to be most badly hit.
I’m the one that’s going to have to live in a future where the opportunities for working, living or travelling in Europe will be much more difficult to access. Not to mention the inevitable economic crisis that happens once we do leave. Like the rest of the country, I’ll be worse off for a long time after Brexit, and let’s be real, I’ll probably die before any of Brexit’s long-term benefits will be seen, if they ever come about at all.
So Santa, sorry for the negative tone, but as you can tell it’s all a bit shit.
I know your Christmas magic does not quite stretch to time travel, so I’m not asking you to turn back the clock, but you would make me so so happy if I woke up to the news that we were back in the EU on Christmas day. It would be a festive miracle.
Seb (aged 23 years and 27 days exactly)
Please may I have the opportunity to access higher education at an affordable rate which doesn’t saddle me with a debt I will never be able to pay off? When you graduate university, you should feel as if the world is at your feet.
However, when I graduated this summer, the debt I had racked up during my three years of university undoubtedly cast a shadow over the excitement I felt. I know it might be difficult for you to make higher education free, but if you could make it slightly more affordable and easier to pay off then I know thousands of students and graduates across the country would be so thankful for your help, Santa.
The second thing on my Christmas list this year is an efficiently run National Health Service (NHS) that is guaranteed to be free to the point of use. I’m not familiar with the workings of your healthcare system up in the North Pole, but it’s no secret that the UK’s health service is struggling financially.
One of the founding principles of the NHS is that healthcare in the UK should be free to the point of use, but that principle is being tested. Millennials are facing the prospect of having to pay more and more for our healthcare — something our parents would never have dreamed of.
Basically Santa, this Christmas I would love services that are essential to the running of our society — like education and healthcare — to be affordable or free so that they are accessible for all.
Samuel (aged 22)
For Christmas this year, I would really love a thicker skin. Every baby boomer tells us we’re the snowflake generation and that we need to toughen up. Apparently, as a millennial, I’m too easily offended by “little” things like casual racism, sexism and homophobia. If I woke up on Christmas morning with a thicker skin, I would be so grateful — maybe I would be able to tolerate aunt Julie’s bigotry at Christmas dinner for the first ever year!
Or perhaps instead of giving me a thicker skin (ie making me a terrible and insensitive person), it might be easier for you to leave a book on how to be a decent and open-minded person under the tree, so I could pass it on to those relatives who might need to brush up a little.
Ellie (aged 25 and ¾)
Katie Wells 18th December 2018