The word "home" has two meanings around this time of year. To illustrate this, consider the two following conversations:
Person A: "We're going away for Christmas, what are you up to?"
Person B: "Nice. We're staying at home this year"
Person A: "Are you going home for Christmas this year?"
Person B: "Yes, travelling up Christmas Eve and back the week after"
For me - "home" always has the first meaning. Home for me is the place I live, not the place I used to live. I guess maybe it's a sign of age that the place where I grew up no longer is no longer synonymous with "home" in my mind.
Forgive me if I seem rather grumpy, but Christmas seems to do that to me. I don't know why, but as December progresses, I feel my grumpiness levels creeping up. I very nearly had strong words with a woman who stepped in front of me when I was buying houmous in Waitrose a couple of days ago (*)
The frantic pace of the shopping is in stark contrast to the laid back attitude of Christmas Day drivers. Driving through East London this morning was like being stuck in the slowest queue at the post office. Lots of those boxy-shaped Citroen thingies pootling down the road at 20mph with a queue of frustrated normal drivers behind getting slowly worked into a frenzy to the soundtrack of Slade and The Pogues on Radio 2.
I don't really do the "Christmas" thing. I observe the custom of sending cards, but we've negotiated a "no presents" deal with most people, and my lack of belief in God rules out any religious observance at this time of year. So for me, Christmas is just a few extra days off work, and a chance to get some DIY done around the flat.
So that's Christmas for me this year - a mixture of apathy and mild frustration. But never mind, New Year is coming, and that's bound to cheer me up.
(*) Although this sounds like a "Middle Class Nightmare" cliche - this is absolutely true!