For the past seven years, my family have been lucky enough to go away for Christmas. On the Saturday before every big day, we have driven the five hours down to rainy Devon and settled into one of the most perfect places in the world. We have stayed in the same little lodge, surrounded by other gingerbread houses, in the middle of a forest. The enormous living room window looks out onto the hills, complete with endlessly beautiful sunset and - oh yes - a hot-tub. It's a quiet, peaceful, restful holiday with those I most love and could not be a more perfect way to spend Christmas.
And so, I am only a little devastated by the fact that we are not going away this year. Much as I hate to sound spoiled, I cannot help but feel a little downhearted the closer Christmas comes. Usually, this one week is the highlight of my year, the thing we spend the previous six months getting excited about, and, this year, it's gone.
In desperate attempts to get over myself and get excited about Christmas, I have been doing some pretty deep thinking about why this is really a problem. I'll still be alive. I'll still have all of my family. I'll be able to do some of the things that I don't usually get to do in the lodge. Heck, I'll still have a Christmas at all, placing me at the top of the downright lucky scale.
My internal tantrum is not, in fact, because I do not get a holiday. I am relieved to say that no, I am not that much of a brat. But Christmas is a time of tradition and, now that our most significant tradition - and all of the smaller traditions it brings with it - is lost, I cannot imagine what our Christmas is going to be like. All of our routines will change, where we are, who we are with and, whilst I do not believe that change is a bad thing, it is a tricky one. It is generally very difficult to get excited about something when you have no idea what that something will be.
Christmas traditions are wonderful but, without them, it is as though Christmas stops being a thing. It is a word given life only by the people who use it. It seems that I must now find out what the word really means to me.