I’ve always loved wintertime. The cold, the sparkle of fresh snow, the sound when you walk on icy sidewalks. Baking cookies, having tea, reading books under a warm blanket. I just love it. Especially Christmas. This time of the year when you go home to see your family and friends to simply be together and relax. No matter how long you’ve been living somewhere else, you just feel that you are home. But this year feels different. I was kind of shocked when I realized after a few days that actually I was already looking forward to going home – and by ‘home’ I mean my own flat. I am wondering why and I wonder if one of you also experienced this.
Instead of being relaxing and easy the whole stay at home feels like a series of compromises and puts me in the weird position of an intruder. I caught myself at sleeping in long to avoid my family in the morning to not interfere with their morning routine. They seem stressed when I’m in the kitchen attempting to prepare coffee or tea in a slightly different way they usually do. My mum takes things out of my hands telling me that I shouldn’t worry and that she’s going to take care of it, shooing me out of her way. She treats me with this annoyed look when I want to use the bathroom at the same time she usually does…every other morning of the rest of the year. On the other hand, when I sleep too long or do not offer to help, they look at me reproachfully. I have the constant urge to roll my eyes. If I am being honest, this is probably not the first year that feels different, but each year there is an internal process that makes me forget the annoying moments so that I can get excited about Christmas again. Maybe this is some evolutionary mechanism to ensure the family bonds (a bit like mothers after childbirth, that apparently also forget how painful things were..).
People say that you get more complicated with age, so maybe it’s just me that got accustomed to living on my own, making it more difficult to stay with my siblings and parents for more than just a few days. But maybe it’s also me that got older and stopped glorifying my parents, so that now I can see all their weird habits and issues. Yesterday I overheard my mum and her boyfriend discussing how to best chop the vegetables for more than 10 minutes!!! They were almost fighting. At one point I went there and told them that it really didn’t matter and no one would care about the size of the paprika. They both turned around and almost screamed at me that this was really none of my business. In the end everyone was in a bad mood…because of paprika slices.
For me, Christmas is the time in the year when you can be a child again. Sit next to the Christmas tree and be happy about the time with your family, the candles and your presents. This year on Christmas Eve, my family spend about two hours to install updates on my little sister’s new smart phone. What the fuck?! What happened? I feel very old now, being the only one that tries to keep our Christmas traditions alive. And it’s not even snowing.