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I’ll be home for Christmas – in Luxembourg
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I’ll be home for Christmas – in Luxembourg

3 min. 10.12.2016 From our online archive
When I wave goodbye to friends driving or flying home for Christmas, do I feel a twinge of jealousy? Not in the slightest. Here’s why I think a travel free Christmas is so much better for your sanity.

By Sarita Rao

When I wave goodbye to friends driving or flying home for Christmas, do I feel a twinge of jealousy? Not in the slightest.

As if there isn’t enough stress with last minute shopping, present wrapping and preparing a ridiculous amount of side vegetables, who needs to try fitting it all into one suitcase too?

Here’s why I think a travel free Christmas is so much better for your sanity:

“Presents” of mind

There is nothing more embarrassing than when your bag starts talking to the security people, because the Furby you bought has suddenly woken up.

Then let’s not forget all the unexpected large gifts from relatives you’ve told a million times not to buy anything because you have no luggage space. Even if you’re clever enough to bring extra bags, you won’t escape the torment of one vital piece of Lego or a tiny remote control going missing in Grandma’s house (the one she hasn’t tidied since 1990).

And, by the time you return home, your Christmas tree will have dried to a crisp and shed pine needles all over the shag pile rug.

Creature comforts

The one year we attempted Christmas at our respective family homes we spent so much time in the airports of Luxembourg, London and Dublin, we might as well have booked an all-inclusive four day family break to an airport lounge.

Reaching your destination is not always a cause for celebration either. Camp beds, relatives who think the thermostat should never go above 15 degrees, endless Christmas specials on TV, and passionate conversations about the state of the nation, can make for a very un-relaxed seasonal holiday.

How much nicer to sleep in your own bed, sip a glass of crémant, and forget about the worries of the world for a few days. (Oh, and not have to explain over and over again exactly where Luxembourg is and what languages people speak there.)

No rules for Christmas

My children have never liked roast turkey. They prefer pizza, which is exactly what I gave them to eat last Christmas after a family vote. At someone else’s place you must convince your children to swallow Brussels’ sprouts to prove to your friends and family that they are healthy little eaters.

The old adage that “too many cooks spoil the broth” is never so true than at big family gatherings, when everyone has “their way” of cooking Christmas dinner. Adults skulk around the corridors, complaining that the sprouts simply must be sprinkled with toasted almonds (which we all know doesn’t make them taste any less like cabbage).

And it’s only when there is a room full of elderly aunts, that your youngest child decides it’s time to try out all those swear words she overheard you shouting at bad drivers. Christmas away is spent apologising for bad behaviour and tantrums that you know the kids would never have had if they’d been at home (or at least you could ignore them if they did).

Rather than put my parenting credentials to the test, I’d prefer to be in Luxembourg where everyone already knows I’m a bad parent.

To me, Christmas is about putting up all those weird one-eyed decorations my children have lovingly created at school, and that if placed too close to a light, will probably set fire to the tree.

It’s about glugging a few glühwein’s on Christmas Eve while the kids freeze to death on the big wheel in the Place de la Constitution.

It’s about eating too much of the food I love and then taking a silent walk through the wonderful frosty forest behind my house. It’s blazing log fires and silly Christmas films where Santa gets kidnapped.

“Wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home,” sang Marvin Gaye. Home is Luxembourg, and it is where I want to be for Christmas. New Year – now that’s another matter.

Click here to read more of Sarita Rao's articles.