Driving home for Christmas: the pitfalls of festive nostalgia
I try to travel to Germany every year for Christmas to see friends and family. It’s the one moment in the year when people are all in set places and when I take time out to see them all. Every year, I pack my bags, quietly humming Chris Rea’s Driving Home for Christmas to myself. I stoically accept the chaos that awaits me at the airports —because I really can't wait to see those faces.
But like many other people who have moved far away from where they grew up, I am always mildly apprehensive about the idea of leaving my current life temporarily behind to travel to places and people that were central to a life that now lies in the past. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy retelling familiar stories and eating food only old people know how to cook. But it’s impossible to be entirely selective about what and who you find in the dusty corners of your mind as you shine a light on them at Christmas.