This year, for the first time in my entire 32 years of life, I won't be spending Christmas with my family. You probably already know why, I've talked about it enough. Because Dave and I are away in Australia.
Despite the drama of 2016, all the great faces we've lost, the godawful vote on Brexit, Donald Trump somehow winning the US election and horrors in the Middle East, 2016 for me at least, has been a great year. I moved in with the love of my life, saw my best friends get married, I quit my job to work freelance and now I'm travelling the world. Pretty awesome!
I should be bouncing off the ceiling right now but to be honest, as I type this, I'm feeling a bit flat. It's three days until Christmas and I just cannot get that festive spirit. I can't work out whether it's because I'm away from home, away from my family and all my friends or perhaps because it's so bloody hot and sunny here?
Christmas is a big deal for me. Food, fun and presents twice over, with each set of parents. It's a whole week of festivities and usually involves too much booze and at least 4lbs weight gain. At my Dad's house we drink baileys, do the annual Christmas Quiz and the post crimbo turkey curry. At my mums we drink snowballs, eat cheese and have the musical bells, always out of tune but so much fun to play around the table. Now, I'm part of Dave's family too and enjoyed part of last year's Christmas with them – with highlights including seeing him dressed as a man-elf and a real live flaming Christmas pudding.
This year, it could not be more different as it'll just be me and Dave and I've found myself scrolling back though phone pictures of years gone by with a wobbly bottom lip.
A FaceTime chat with my dad earlier on today helped. He's very blunt about these things. Basically he said 'yes it'll be weird without you but that's ok. It's an experience. You're having an amazing experience'. And I am aren't I?
He's made me stop and look at the positives:
We're planning a festive BBQ in true Aussie style. We've chosen the beach and picked the menu. So, when you lot are stuffing your faces with roast turkey, roasties and mince pies, we'll be enjoying a prosciutto, pumpkin and green bean salad, BBQ lemon and oregano rack of lamb and a champagne and cranberry granita to finish. So I guess that'll be ok then. The weather is set to be 37ºc too!
Sadly most of you will never know just how hilarious FaceTime is with my mum. She doesn't like it and spends most of the time hiding under a tea towel or behind a cushion. So, Christmas day FaceTime is going to be really fun with everyone together at the other end. In fact, I'm already looking forward to it.
|Dad's turkey curry is a go go…|
Christmas abroad may not be too bad after all. And you know what? Next year, I'll be there, 1st prize in the annual Ryder quiz and winning at musical bells before tucking into one of my mum's epic cheeseboards. And it'll feel all the more special.