Spending Christmas Away From The Family by Sage Fitzpatrick

Once the term ends for Christmas break, many students will leave their dorms, dragging their dirty clothes and hastily wrapped presents behind them, to make the arduous journey home on packed trains and buses.They cherish the moment they walk through the door to a warm house, a free washing machine and, gasp, dinner on the table.

But sometimes people (i.e. Me) like to mix it up over the holidays and spend Christmas in a different country, surrounded by friends and two insane cats. But what is it really like to spend Christmas away from the family?

One thing is certain, unless you’re ordering take out or you can afford a chef, the probability is that you will have to cook your own Christmas dinner and if you and your friends love to cook it’s great. What’s more is that you finally get to decide what to put on the table. Not a fan of a roast dinner? Who cares? Throw a pizza in the oven and be done with it. Whatever you and your travel companions decide to eat, you’ll appreciate it so much more because you prepared it together.

Spending Christmas away from the family means that you and your friends are in charge of what happens that day. Which is both a good and a bad thing. You have to remember every single item that will need to be bought for the day. So if you forget crackers, you will not be wearing ridiculous paper hats and reading rubbish jokes at the dinner table, unless one of your friends just happens to carry Christmas crackers around in their suitcase. On the plus side, if you don’t want to watch the Queen’s speech, you don’t have to. There will be no drunk relative there telling you otherwise.

Travelling with a group of friends, whose families may all have very different Christmas Day traditions to you, will open up the possibility of an even more exciting day. You’ll all still want to do that one thing that really makes it feel like Christmas day, so you’ll end up with a hybrid of weird and wonderful traditions. For me this involved amazingly bad Christmas Jumpers, Home Alone, mulled wine, the Doctor Who Christmas special, a whole lot of bread and cheese and two fighting cats under the Christmas tree.

But I’ll let you into a little secret. As much as you really love the idea of spending Christmas doing something completely different, you will miss your family and your usual Christmas day activities. You may vow that you will be too busy (or drunk) to call them, but really as soon as you wake up, you’ll be picking up your phone to wish them a Merry Christmas.

So if you’re already counting down the days until Christmas, why not try and do something different this year?

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