‘Nothing but notions’: The reality of returning home for Christmas

If Chris Rea's Driving Home For Christmas gives you butterflies in your stomach, you're not alone.

If after 24 hours back home this Christmas, you struggled to understand why you got butterflies in the first place, you're definitely among your own people here.

Believe us, we know the idea of returning to the family homestead over the festive period is always hugely appealing, but, unfortunately, we have to admit that the reality often falls a little short.

For every shared laugh and moment of closeness, there are always twice as many arguments and three times as many spats; it is what it is, ladies.

Here we take a closer look at the reality of returning to the family home for Christmas.

1. You revert to teenage mode

There's something about crossing your parents' threshold which throws all of us back a few years in the maturity stakes.

Within minutes of sashaying in, an adolescent cloud will descend upon you, and you'll feel compelled to ditch your heels in favour of a hoody and your tote in favour of a tank top. And that's just the clothes. 

From fighting over the remote to refusing to answer the house phone, your transition back in time is pretty much complete.

2. You need more personal space

Living on top of your family was fine for most of your life, but your tolerance has definitely waned slightly since you moved out.

While you're undoubtedly thrilled to see them, that doesn't mean you're OK with sharing an inflatable bed, or squeezing onto one armchair together for the duration of an entire film.

Having to endure your sister's breath in your ear as you watch Home Alone: Lost in New York is more than flesh and blood can stand, frankly.

3. You struggle with the 'routine'

Having to re-adapt to the family's routine can be one of the toughest parts of the festive season.

You forgot that your father rises at dawn and insists that the rest of the family does too and it had slipped your mind that your mother needs to know your whereabouts at all times.

Oh, and you really hadn't factored in your drunk siblings' penchant for arriving home at 4am and burning the kitchen down. Maybe you blocked it out.

4. You question your family's habits

Whether it's their chewing, their insistence on having the TV volume on an even number or their reluctance to have a discussion at a normal decibel, your family's habits are enough to drive you to drink.

You told yourself to rise above it, and God knows you definitely tried, but they're really pushing you to the limit here.

It's as if they want you to leave, but they will not get the better of you.

5. You miss alone-time

Being able to spend more than a few hours in complete silence is something you can kiss goodbye to when you rock up at the family homestead this Christmas.

You'll spend the entire festive season being asked multiple questions – many of which shouldn't require an answer of more than two words, but by God, you'll be obliged to give one.

You'll find yourself fantasising about a moment in your day when the only sound you hear is the crickets chirping around your own head.

6. You struggle with your own notions

While your friends may think nothing of your love for a Chai Latte and your other half wouldn't question your obsession with tapas, your family think you're nothing more than a high-falutin' gobshite.

And the longer you spend with them, the more you tend to believe them.

To be fair, it was far from Chai Lattes you were raised….

7. You must accept drop-in visitors

When you return home for Christmas you realise that the 'just popped in for a chat' visitor is still an actual thing.

The thought of dropping in on someone unannounced within your own circle would have you ex-communicated in no time, but back home, it's a cause for celebration.

And sneaking upstairs the minute the doorbell rings isn't an option because – just like every Christmas that has gone before – you have been nominated the head of the welcoming committee.

 

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