While many of us are taking a well-earned break and hibernating at home this Christmas, a sizeable number are packing up and traveling back to their hometown to spend some long-overdue time with family and old friends. But as much as we want the holiday season to be full of good cheer, sometimes, things don’t always work out that way! Travel delays, lost luggage, and dysfunctional families can threaten to disrupt your holiday spirit, so follow this advice for a wonderful – or at least drama-free – winter break:
Get your own place: We know, we know, it seems counter-intuitive to rent a place nearby when you’re supposed to be heading home for the holidays, but with grown-up siblings, (as well as their partners and kids) cousins, aunts and uncles and friends in town for the holidays, your parents’ place may feel more like Central Station than somewhere you can curl up in peace. Book your own place in town (an especially good idea if you’re travelling home with your own partner and kids) and you can have your own space while taking the extra burden off your mom and dad. Make sure to spend plenty of time at their place though – and don’t go back to your rental without helping with the dishes!
Bring distractions: You may not have the patience to spend every minute with family, so pack a tablet or laptop with movies, books, magazines, and even board games for those moments when you don’t want to discuss your work or love life with elderly aunts. If you’ve got your own room, retreat at strategic moments to take a breather from all the family action, message friends in similar situations, and quietly remind yourself of the importance of family! Don’t feel bad, everyone needs to recharge their family-time batteries once in a while.
Play Tourist: There’s a good chance your hometown has changed a lot since you lived there. Why not recruit a family member or two and go check out the sights. Many places look their best during the holiday season, with Christmas Markets and twinkling lights. Snap pics for friends and colleagues who might be curious about where you come from, and spark conversations with older relatives about how the town has changed. Seeing the place with new eyes is a great way to combat the feeling that you’re still 16, dying to get out to the ‘big city’!