Rhona Scullion turns the fairy lights on for  Christmas.

Remember when Christmas was magical? When you would go to sleep so excited that you thought you’d never manage to close your eyes? When you would wake up at the crack of dawn and descend upon your stocking at the end of the bed, filled with trinkets of delight? When you would try and stay quiet for as long as possible because Mum and Dad had said not to wake them until half 7 at the very earliest?

Fast forward a few years and the festive season tends to lose a bit of its sparkle. You’re older and wiser – Santa is a dusty memory of childhood – and there is no surprise anymore, regardless of how well-informed you are as to the nature of your presents (which are considerably less numerable than in years gone by). Trying to figure out what to get everyone becomes a chore – and Christmas shopping becomes a hideous attempt to navigate the ridiculous hordes of greedy and inconsiderate shoppers on the high streets. You’re at that age where you have almost no money and are too young to make any decent amounts other than by babysitting. Also the family time of Christmas might not be the most appealing way to spend the holidays – you want to be with your friends. . .

But fast forwards again – you’ve moved out, at university, or college or whatever, managing your bills, living costs and workload by yourself. For the most part you relish the freedom. No-one is there to tell you what to do, when or how to look/eat/act and you are far from the family bickering and feuds. It’s wonderful. Yet when the first snow falls and you start to walk past windows with Christmas trees and lights in them the wonder of freedom starts to diminish as you contemplate the freezing flat and empty fridge that you have to come home to. When you have no money and see no point in buying Christmas decorations when you won’t be there for the day the place starts to look a little bleak in comparison to the rosy glow of the family homes around you.

The prospect of Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, pulling crackers and wearing stupid hats in a house that has a working fire and is full of warmth and presents suddenly starts to appeal to the sentimentalist in you. Catching up with old friends and seeing the family members that you only ever see at this time of year is made even more special by the fact that you’re away for most of the time. You might not be a little kid again with eyes wide as saucepans as they gaze on the pile of presents and half eaten carrot that they left for Rudolph, but the Christmas lights seem to twinkle brighter once again.


Rhona Scullion

Image Credit – jmtimages