Christmas is a time for family (blood or not, a family is who you choose to include) and a family Christmas is a beautiful time to connect and feel close to those who are closest to us.
My idea of a family Christmas has always included the extended family and friends, visiting all the extended aunts and uncles and cousins spread across the city. Christmas morning was immediate family, the pub visit before lunch was with the immediately local friends and family, lunch was with the grandparents, and in the evenings we included friends, aunts, cousins (some several times removed). Visiting different houses was definitely good for us after a big lunch because we walked-off most of it. Obviously, no one was fit to drive. Boxing Day continued along the same lines, encompassing people from further afield, the next city perhaps. This will always be how I remember a perfect family Christmas.
A family Christmas has changed its definition
The traditional definition of my family Christmas has had to change, now that I live in a different country. It is not financially or logistically viable to go back every year. Additionally, it doesn’t help us to create our own traditions. I spent this year with my husband and his parents, and it was good. I also got to Skype with my family in the UK (when they woke up, and I reminded them that I am two hours ahead).
I spent most of the time talking to my sister, who I miss most of all. She has been my best friend for so many years, and it is her that I miss having close. However, we have started the campaign to get her and her partner to live over here, we know they love the country and the people, and they both desperately need the break from the drudgery of their lives in the UK.
My mother is not happy about this campaign, but we do not care, and I think there is a general rebellion going on (in the background of our conversation my father was asking if we could find him a job as an Elvis impersonator).
I love my family, but there is very little that will tempt me back to the UK, especially in the cold temperatures of the UK winter. As described by a friend’s child, “it’s too freezily”.
Perhaps, if there are more family members out here, more people will be inclined to visit for Christmas. However, I think the most significant selling point for my parents would be that Mum would not have to cook Christmas dinner. That would fall to my sister and possibly me. Oh well, I can cook… kind of…