It's Christmas! The Buble and Mariah songs fill my ears and remind me of silliness with my family. Food is everywhere. Turkey, ham, chicken, a buffet of belly stuffers; with food so delicious all limitations are dropped for the day.
Christmas has always meant waking up beside the beach, going for a body surf, cracking eggs on the barbie and munching on crisp bacon while you wait for the sausages. People come to the beach in their droves with eskies, picnic blankets, cricket sets and footballs. It's the time of year when all the neighbours' children drive their new bicycles and skateboards down the middle of the road and everyone yells 'Merry Christmas mate!' I miss it.
This year marks the third year I haven't been in Australia for Christmas. As an avid traveller and keen explorer it never really bothered me as long as I was somewhere new and with good people. I had previously said 'I'll be home for Christmas' meaning it at the time but it not quite coming to fruition. I'm not sure how it sits with me to be honest as my life path has changed as I've got older but I do know this: I have been home for Christmas.
Each year I have felt at home irrespective of where I was because home is a feeling. Also because I kept my family close by keeping traditions as much as possible, like viewing Christmas lights, taking time for presents and exercising before the day starts, solo or with friends. In 2016 again I've learnt home is a feeling.
I encourage you whether you have your family near or far to make a little home in someone else's life this Christmas. Share a story, a drink, spread laughter and joy and keep the spirit beyond Christmas. As an expat I may have been without family for years but I have never not been home for Christmas, for that I have to thank the people I have met in London and abroad. This is what is magic about the human spirit, we are never alone no matter where we are- let's try and wrap it up as kindness and we'll have Christmas spirit all year round.
To the friends who became family, the small things that turned into great loves, the people I've networked with, my clients, my family and the little struggles that turned into triumphant opportunities thank you. 2016 was a great gift and 2017 is going to be a total cracker.