CHRISTMAS EH? That time of year when we put our feet up, relax with an alcoholic beverage or four and enjoy a well-earned rest. Or at least it should be.
Not for me it won’t. Instead, I’ll be spending a fair chunk of my all too short festive break cris-crossing the country’s motorways. The reason? That age-old conundrum of trying to keep everyone happy.
Once upon a time it was fairly straightforward. I would go to my parents for Christmas Day and the Missus would go to hers.
It may not have been ideal, but it at least meant our respective families were content that we were spending some time with them before we met up again to have our ‘second Christmas’ together.
Now that we’re married with children, it’s not quite so simple.
Understandably, our parents want to see their grandchildren over the festive season and share in the magic of what is such a special time for them.
That means filling the car up with petrol, packing just about everything we own into the boot (with the overspill crammed into the footwells) and ferrying ourselves to our respective parents’ homes. This year it’s made even more complicated by the fact that both the Missus and I have to work on Boxing Day.
It means the plan now is for me to take her and the children to my in-laws on the Sunday before Christmas, with me following once I finish work on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day, incredibly, shouldn’t involve any driving.
On Boxing Day we will leave the children with their grandparents so we can go to work, returning there later that evening.
Saturday morning will see us back on the road again, heading down the M1 to make it to my parents’ house in time for lunch.
We will probably stay there until the Monday, before finally travelling back up to Yorkshire.
In total, it means I will clock up something in the region of 650 miles over the course of a week, costing me well over £100 in petrol alone.
But do you know the really strange thing? I don’t actually mind. Not a bit. In fact I’m positively looking forward to it.
My thinking, you see, is that this is a time when families should be together.
Just because we live in different parts of the country doesn’t have to be a barrier to sharing the bits I love best about Christmas.
Think of me though, won’t you, as you slouch on the sofa watching the Sherlock Christmas special and stuffing your face with Cadbury’s Roses?
Chances are I’ll be somewhere on the M1, hoping the pair in the back don’t wake up before we get there and sustained by little more than the promise of one of my mum’s extra strength gin and tonics on arrival.
Still, I’m sure it’ll be worth it.