• Sun. Dec 10th, 2023

Ghosts of Christmas past: what it’s really like to come home for Christmas

ByMaeve Hannigan

Dec 1, 2019

Is it the unchanged bedroom, the reminder of old high school friends, or the sudden switch in authority that makes going home for Christmas turn into an episode from ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’

It all starts with the journey home. Living in the West Highlands this journey lasts somewhat of a lifetime. Instead of the inner mocking of tourists climbing over any obstacle to get that perfect picture, I lift my eyes and join their gaze. I feel slightly embarrassed by getting my phone out and snapping photos, forgetting that I’ve seen these views all my life.  And that’s when I’m aware of this slight change. Welcoming the ruralness and fresh air the west coast brings, I become the eager tourist, taken aback by the place I know only too well.

Walking into my room is rather like going back in time, but I can’t quite imagine myself in that time. I assure myself it’s because I’m more mature, not the fact that university has perhaps killed some brain cells off and aged me to the point of no return.

I dig out the old diaries, so fascinated, they may as well have been written during the war, and force my mum to get out the old baby photos. It’s this feeling of not quite knowing yourself. It’s your Mum repeatedly telling you to ‘watch your spending’ and to ‘look after yourself.’ It makes you doubt whether or not you can actually look after yourself, when your parents seem to think you live in a hole and never leave it. This conflict comes about when neither you nor your parents refuse to hand over the authority, and ultimately you lose and realise the only one who is on your side is the cat.

It’s easy to feel like all responsibility and trust has been stripped away from you, but it’s just as easy to accept that you are still rather young and deserve the home cooked meals. It’s the battle between feeling so much older than your younger self, but realising you’re so much younger than you thought.

Going home for the holidays is an inevitable paradox. It knocks you down a peg or two in the best possible way; it makes you realise that you and your university life is not all that matters, whilst giving you that comfort you thought you never needed.


Image: Kurt Deiner via Pixabay