The evidence that I am careening full speed ahead into adulthood has presented itself in many forms. Some are evidence based and cannot be ignored – my birth certificate is a fairly good indicator, but so also is the fact that there is a drawer in my house entirely dedicated to storing carrier bags (though the ratio of carrier bags I own to the amount of times I remember to take them to the supermarket does not warrant their occupancy) and the fact that I own functional items like plates and teatowels that are saved only for ‘special occasions’.
Some are related to my changing preferences – being tucked up under a blanket with a good book over going out on the razz, going to a Garden Centre on a Sunday morning rather than waking up in the afternoon wearing all my clothes and last night’s makeup. Most of these changes I’m pretty comfortable with; I now enjoy indeterminate activities like ‘pottering’ and ‘mooching’, I listen to Radio 2 in the car and on the rare occasions I do go on a night out I wear a warm coat and take a spare pair of flat shoes.
There is, however, an occasion, that comes around every year where I throw adulthood to the wind (the proverbial wind, I don’t make a kite out of my mortgage statements or throw my B&Q loyalty card off a large building) and become a huge, unashamed, glee-filled child, and that is Christmas. I genuinely cannot sleep on Christmas Eve. I overdose on Christmas films (I am counting down the days until I can legitimately watch Elf). I do not change out of my pajamas. I get thoroughly involved in board games. I eat chocolate until I feel physically sick, and I get so overexcited I have to be forced to have an afternoon nap.
In our family, Christmas is big business. It is Bucks Fizz and croissants, board games with prizes, Christmas present opening after lunch, Christmas films and TV specials, M&S food and family all in one place. Home is where I have been every day for the last 29 years on the 25th December. It is the highlight of my calendar every year and I start the countdown sometime in October. There is no greater joy for me than packing my belongings and a huge sack of presents and arriving at my parents’ house some days before, ready for a good few days of festive fun.
And so it was that my ‘adultness’ was tested a few weeks ago when my boyfriend, rather delicately, and completely justifiably uttered the words, “Do you think… we could spend Christmas at my parents’ house this year?” My first Christmas away from home.
I told my Mum, thinking there would be tears. Imagining her aghast at the thought of her firstborn away on Christmas Day. Would Christmas be cancelled? Brussels Sprouts unbought, Christmas presents unopened? I told her tentatively, breaking it to her gently. “Well it is only fair,” she said. “You have been to us every other year.”
And so I am coming round to the idea. Of finding out another family’s traditions, and being with a different family – maybe not my own through blood, but through bond (and in 2015, by marriage too). It will be fun, I’m sure. And one day we will have our own family, and things will change again. If there are three things I’ve learned about being an adult, they are that things change, you can’t always put yourself first or win every argument, and when you don’t get your way, well, there’s always next year.
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