Monday, 26 December 2016

Coming Home for Christmas


I was quite literally counting down the seconds to go home for Christmas. It turns out that buying your Christmas tree in November means that you get excited for Christmas slightly too early (4 weeks too early), and thus spend every post-birthday second crawling towards the Christmas break. So as soon as the clock struck midday, I darted to the tube. I only had to wait 2 minutes for a Circle Line tube (the dream) and my Southern train was on time (an absolute miracle) and I was heading back to Sussex. Christmas had begun, and I was coming home for 5 days of rest, relaxation and turkey. 

Sometimes it isn't until you get home, and breathe the (less polluted) air, that you remember quite how spectacular it is. It's quiet, it's peaceful, and there's no one knocking you out with their suitcase, or licking houmous off the hand rails on the tube (that's a story for another day). And 3 days in, I am feeling spectacular. I've consumed more food in the last few days than I have in the last month, I've had some excellent early nights, and I've hung out with my family and won the Christmas quiz AND Articulate. So, on this Boxing Day evening, I have compiled a list of 10 wonderful things about coming home for Christmas. 

1. You don't have to think about, queue for, wait for the inevitable delays on, pay for, or squeeze between a thousand people on the tube. For 10 whole days. The thought of not having to wait 22 minutes for a Circle Line train which is supposedly operating with a good service for a week and a half fills me with absolute joy. The thought of not having to then get on a Southeastern train which smells of farts and may be delayed/cancelled/have been disrupted by a leaf is elation like you don't even know. 

2. Early nights. On my first night at home, my entire family were in bed by 9.15pm. I had 10 hours sleep, and still woke up in line with my body clock shortly after 7am. For the first time in a while, I woke up feeling properly refreshed - made even better by the fact it was a beautiful morning, and I could see the sunrise from the comfort of my cosy duvet rather than a station platform. I'm pretty sure this is the routine of the elderly everywhere, and my god I envy them. I am all about the early night. 

3. I ensure that the kitchen cupboards in our flat are always pretty full. We are never without peanut butter, coffee or gluten free oatcakes. But that's nothing compared to the pre-Christmas home supplies. There are more cupboards, with more stuff in them. There are 2 fridges, full to bursting, and one is at least 3 times the size of mine. There's food that I can't afford, or possibly entertain eating all by myself. There's gin, and prosecco, and prosecco crisps, and gin chocolates and turkey and ham and pigs in blankets a plenty! There is never any reason to go hungry, or be peckish, or be anything other than uncomfortably full. 

4. There are places in London to go for a leisurely stroll, like Hyde Park or Peckham Rye Common - but they're not quite like a wander to the village pond. There are places to walk in London which really test your stamina, like the steps at Covent Garden or Oxford Street in the Christmas period - but it's not the same as walking against the wind on Brighton beach. The main thing I really wanted to do when I came home was to go for walks, to be outside, to get loads of fresh air, and to do things that didn't involve sitting at a desk for 10 hours a day. And it's so good. I feel fresher, and more energised and I heard that each step makes room for another stuffing ball. 

5. Having a tall boyfriend is great to reach stuff for you. It's less great when they have to lay diagonally across a bed, and thus spend far too much time on your side of the bed. I woke up almost every night last week to find myself half hanging out of the bed, being snugged too hard by a very leggy man (Simon, not just any man). This week I have a whole double bed to myself. When I get too hot, there's a cold side of the bed. There's no one wriggling, or snuffling or getting up for a wee in the night. Having said that, there's no one to wake up when you have a nightmare. You can't win them all.

6. Childhood nostalgia. There's something about Christmas that gets you talking about every other Christmas, and all of the memories you have as a family. Whether it's finding out that Father Christmas wasn't real because you saw your presents in the boot of your mum's car 3 weeks previously, or being offered a festive cigarette by your grandad aged 10, the memories I have of Christmas times are some of those that I hold closest (or are the most bizarre and make the best stories). Even though Christmas as an adult doesn't hold the same magic as it did as a child, it does hold hot water bottles, and sewing kits and the contents of Hotel Chocolat. 

7. Cooking Christmas lunch (and every subsequent meal which is a variation of Christmas lunch in leftover form) with my mum, and sales shopping. Partaking in my brother's Christmas quiz, and competing for the Favourite Child 2k16 award. Board games, country walks, catching up on life, comparing new year's resolutions: time spent with family over Christmas is the best. 

8. Christmas films. I saw Elf for the first time this year, and it was magical. The Santa Clause Movie not so much. I've caught snippets of The Grinch, Miracle on 34th Street and the Snowman. I've got big plans for Love Actually by the end of the week. I love the warm fuzzy feeling of a festive film, and being relaxed and attentive enough to actually sit all the way through a whole film. 

9. When you come home, you remember what it's like to be looked after. To have your washing done, your food cooked, your stuff tidied - and not to have to think about the Tesco delivery, or your alarm, or work, or real grown up life. It doesn't matter if you're 3 or 13 or 23, having someone look after you and do all the boring grown up things for you, is the best thing ever. I don't want to adult again. 

10. The break. The break from work, the break from early mornings, the break from work-related nightmares, the break from desk breakfasts and pitta bread lunches, the break from darkness, London, the indoors and the constant underlying tiredness. Getting away, and going somewhere different, and being surrounded by people who are also having a break from their day-to-day lives and jobs and commitments. The relaxation is contagious. 


Happy Boxing Day! 
I hope your Christmas breaks are as spectacular as mine. X

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