Home for the holidays. To me, that means food and lots of it: gingerbread men and peanut brittle, a cornucopia of birthday hugs from my dad, grandma walking around with a bottomless glass of vodka and water with lime (her doctor did say she needed to hydrate more!), gifts of course, and long walks around the block between meals.
I haven’t been home for the holidays in a long time. This was a choice as I know I’m always welcome. But over the past few years, I thought why not give adventuring a go.
In 2015 I jetted off to France to be with my mom that Christmas — I guess that is being home for the holidays to a certain degree but we hadn’t seen each other in a while and we spent Christmas day in someone else’s home.
In 2016 I found myself in a warm living room in Scotland. The winds were howling outside but inside all was merry and bright. I had recently moved to Edinburgh to start my master’s degree at Edinburgh University and one of my best friends who happens to live in that blessed city invited me to spend the day with her and her people.
The 2017 holiday was spent in Venice on my own. Visiting as a child had left a significant imprint on my brain. I was still in Scotland, tickets were cheap. I stayed in a hostel on the island, the power would go out every time someone plugged in a hairdryer. I spent five days wandering the city, taking pictures, going to museums, figuring out the language.
The winter of 2018 saw me moving from Edinburgh to Oxfordshire in England to join my boyfriend. This was to be our first Christmas together and was a very special one indeed. It was the two of us but his mom had set everything up: a beautiful tree decked in white ornaments and lights overflowing with gifts underneath — the kind that keep on giving.
This year I was set to go to South Africa. My boyfriend’s family has a house down there and I was invited. I was very excited at first but as the year went on, the excitement faded. Things have been challenging on many different levels, in many different ways. Challenging and difficult.
We broke up.
It was horrible.
Now, rather than flying to the tip of the world, I am west-bound. Going home for Christmas for the first time in a little over five years.
Home is where my people are, and while I’ve got a lot of people scattered around the globe, this time home is where my family is. Going home for the holidays means love, hugs, understanding, support, and hopefully many a glass of wine. Home will be an oasis of peace in the whirlwind of my world at the moment and I am very much looking forward to it.