Well there’s no place like home for the holidays. My dad loved to sing along with Perry Como. For the last month, that seems to be the assumption of my peers. During the gathering time before meetings, I invariably get the question, “You are going home for Christmas, aren’t you?” “Home”, is now in quotes. We won’t be in the mountains of Colorado this year. We sold our home this past summer. We will be in the City of Brotherly Love. This year, “home” is Philadelphia. All our kids and extended kids will be there. What better definition of home. We’re looking forward to it.
Putting family aside, there are other reasons to return home for the holidays. My favorite reason, I know what to expect. I understand a United States Christmas. The other day, I was working at my desk when colleagues started to dash about offering chocolates. “Julie, please, have a chocolate, Santa came!” I was talking to a friend in Hungary and asked him what happened. It turns out, Santa had come to Hungary also. “It’s Saint Nicolas’ day”… he responded, “the day Santa arrives!” I ate myself sick with chocolate – but didn’t reciprocate. I didn’t see this coming. It was December 5th. That is my life, a series of things I don’t see coming.
“Will you receive gifts under the tree Christmas morning?”, I asked my friend. At this point, I’m curious – trying to understand the local traditions. “Sure, I think, but the angel brings those.” Life toggles off-balance these days. Sometimes it’s fun. One night my husband was walking the Danube banks when fireworks erupted. When he got home, he wide-eyed relived the surprise and excitement. At other times, this loss of equilibrium ranges from embarrassing to depressing, a nagging feeling that we don’t quite belong and perhaps never will.
It’s the holidays… and we are going home. We will bake cookies (without the metric system!), sing carols (in English!), and wake up Christmas morning (to surprise gifts which Santa left!). We will know when everything is going to happen and where. In Philadelphia we can both read the newspaper and understand the news on TV. Nothing is going to sneak up on us. If someone wants to chat while we wait in line to buy gifts, I’ll chat back. I will probably chat their ear off. I have a lot of English pent-up inside me.
And if Perry Como comes on the radio, I’ll turn it up and sing along…
Oh! There’s no place like home for the holidays,
‘Cause no matter how far away you roam,
If you wanna be happy in a million ways,
For the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home!