lifestyle

How to break it to your family that you're not coming home for Christmas.

For the last eight years I have spent Christmas Eve or Christmas Day on a plane.

Evidently, this also meant a lot of time was spent in airports, which, on Christmas Day, is infinitely depressing.

Think empty hallways, closed coffee shops, stale breakfast bagels, and tinny Christmas Carols. Self pity levels truly skyrocket at an airport on Christmas Day.

However, this year is going to be different. This year I am not going home for Christmas.

child's first word
I will be the first to admit I was a little bit like this during last year’s multiple Christmases.

With my family in Brisbane and my feet generally dancing about somewhere else, Christmas was always my time of year to head home.

Most of my 20’s was spent in chilly Melbourne, so the lure of a few days next to the pool with a full fridge, glorious heat, and my large extended family was always too good to refuse.

Boyfriends came and went, but last year was really the first year of Bringing The Serious Boyfriend Home.

It was wonderful, but also meant sharing those precious few festive days over not one, not two, but three families.

Christmas Eve was celebrated with his Mum, Christmas Day morning was spent with his Dad, and then we hopped on a plane and jetted to Brisbane to make my Mum’s family lunchtime celebration. Boxing Day we caught up with my Dad’s family. Then we got on a plane and flew back to Sydney just in time to…well, collapse.

So this year, I decided to call in the time-honoured ‘Year On, Year Off’ clause enjoyed by most adult couples who a) have family interstate and b) dislike stale airport bagels for breakfast on Christmas Day.

MicahMaggieXmas
On the left, our Christmas Eve party in Sydney. And, just hours later, there we were at a Christmas Day party in Brisbane. Did I mention we had squeezed in another celebration in between?
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The fallout was slightly calmer than I had expected, although not without the usual gamut of emotions: guilt (me), disappointment (my father), apathy (my brother), and extremely sassy eye rolls and huffing (my mother).

Alas, sharing your life with another person involves more than just sharing a fridge, bed, and toilet – it also means sharing your special occasions.

If you are also staring down the barrel of a full dance card this Christmas Day, here are the top 5 things I’ve learnt so far about sharing your Christmas.

Choose your team early

Make sure you let your family know that you are not coming home BEFORE Myer puts up their Christmas windows. In fact, make sure your decision has been made well before any carols are playing.

Break the news gently

Just in case you didn’t realise,you are in BIG trouble. So, this kind of news really must be handled carefully: this is a video call situation, people. You want them to see real sadness on your face, so practice those puppy dog eyes, ok?

Book a trip shortly after

Go on, take a weekend off and head home to Mum and Dad. You might even get enough brownie points to permanently erase your missing Christmas from memory…

Pick your Christmas gift carefully

If there was ever a year to choose something very, very thoughtful and very, very expensive – this is the year. Because socks for Dad and a hand cream for Mum is going to sting even more so when you’re not there to pump them up. (Although we agree, those $300 vicuña wool socks from Mr Porter WERE divine…)

Micah_cmas
Here is Micah being the most tolerant bloke of all, with our Tour De Christmas luggage haul. And yes, that’s a Greyhound Terminal. DON’T ASK.
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Set the rules

This is just as new for you parents as it is for you. Find a situation that suits everyone: for example, if you are doing the ‘Year On, Year Off’ sharing with your partner, make sure you all agree to who gets what year. Ask everyone involved if they prefer one year or another. Email both families the details of what you are doing. If you appear calm and happy, they will follow suit.

Don’t apologise

At the end of the day, splitting your Christmases will make everyone happier. I know in my heart that I gave a slightly weary, slightly pissed off effort on all fronts on the years I have shared. Don’t split yourself too many ways: choose a party, and give it your all.

Oh, my goodness. Let that child get off Santa. Too much unhappiness for Christmas.
Don’t be this guy. Be the happy Santa.

Are you sharing your Christmas this year? How will you handle it?

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