Christmas will not really arrive for the undergraduate till the day he packs his bag, waits for the wayward cognoscenti to sign out on the trusty sheets at University Hall, and finally sets out on the Yuletide holiday.
The first inkling came with the post-Thanksgiving snowfall and the vague early hint of sleighbells. As the undergraduate went through the motions of buying presents in Boston's Washington Street maelstrom, watching his thinning wallet and putting a warm cover on his thinning hair, he stayed somehow apart from the festive momentum that was gathering speed in the newspaper ads and New Yorker cartoons.
Before he knew it, the term papers that had been assigned for some nebulous, far-distant "last meeting before the recess" became an ugly part of his daily worry.
No Love, No Liquor
He watched Wellesley go home and the knots of people in the Square's liquor marts thin out as funds dwindled and students had only a few days left to supply for. "We serve them all year, and they walk out on us at Christmas," the man behind the counter observed half-facetiously, half-sardonically.
The biddy began spending more time in his room and less as a part of the ghastly harem that always seemed to be wriggling around the janitor's office. He made a place for her tip in his budget and told himself he would leave it in the bathroom just to see if she over looked in on it.
The preparations were all there, but the enthusiastic cheer that the editorials and the glowing advertisements and his own tinted recollections associated with Christmas somehow had not come along with them this year. He wondered if it was the College routine or whether he was just too old for Christmas.
They would all have to come back for New Year's eve, and he was glad he had the foresight to get a date. He would have to stay out all night and get drunk; it was the part of Christmas season he always talked about most fondly and was never quite sure whether it was worthwhile.
Christmas was really here; there was no denying it. His dean's list acquaintances were already filtering out of Cambridge, and all the other signs were at hand. As a matter of fact, he was feeling pretty good about it himself