Christmas is fast approaching, and although we've yet to even begin present shopping, we're already making plans for the big Christmas homecoming. We've already booked a table for a pre-Xmas
lash lunch with pals, sorted drinks for the train and asked mum to dig out that old copy of It's A Wonderful Life. In short, it's on!
The annual driving home for Christmas thing is a big tradition. He comes up to collect me from my Teddington digs, we fill the car and make tracks for sleepy, snowy Dorset to the sounds of Frank Sinatra (I was raised on big ol' blue eyes, raised right).
When we pull up on the drive, the rest of my lot are ready and waiting with mulled wine in hand (pre gin and tonics), all the "picky bits" you could ever imagine, roaring fire, rudolf antlers and more Sinatra.Once I'm a whole lot merry, I go about locating my home-girls to check the deets on what time we're all meeting at our local been-boozing-there-since-we-were-16 pub. It's always rammed, loaded with old schoolmates - but it's the one time of the year you can see awesome friends and the people you've grown up with. Chink, chink to that.
Celebrity Writer, Ellen Stewart, 24, says: The Christmas homecoming, a big deal right? A bunch of mates pile onto a train and get boozed on the way back to ma and pa's house to begin the festivities. Fun times to be had by all.
Don't get me wrong I totally get it when you've moved far from your hometown. But I still live in my hometown aka London. In fact, I'm still at home with mum. I haven't done the big ol' pack up and head for homestead in a while... And I've kind of forgotten what it's like.
Living at home to save the pennies certainly takes the shine off a home cooked meal and means mum's so used to having me around she refuses to wait on me hand-and-foot (which, if we're honest, is all we really want for Xmas). I've felt a tinge of jealousy as a few of my friends set about planning who will drive who back to [Insert obscure village name here].
But Christmas is no time for envy! And I'm still planning on enjoying a spot of merriment before the big day. I intend to spend the week approaching December 25 in a food and mulled wine-induced stupor and I'll be eating a grand total of five roast dinners at various pubs around London before I tuck into my Aunty's Turkey on Xmas day and down a bottle of Bailey's with my little brother and my gran. I doubt my skinnies will fit by the time the year is out. Just because I don't get to do the whole homecoming thing doesn't make it any less festive. Plus, have you seen the Christmas section on Sky Box office?
Deputy Editor Katie Jones, 26, says: I don't feel festive until I go home for Christmas. Here's why:
1. While most people like to put their trees up before December 23, my mum waits for me to make the journey home from London to do the ultimate festive job. (No one else appreciates the homemade decorations like my sister and I - they're mostly made from matchboxes and loo rolls and are 20 years old, aka vintage.)
2. From tins of Quality Street and homemade mince pies to the biggest cheese board ever and a plentiful supply of port, there are festive snacks and drinks. Everywhere. And because it's Christmas, they can be consumed in whatever order you fancy, at any time of day.
3. My Dad plays old Christmas records (yes, records).
4. As deciding what to watch on TV tends to cause arguments, my family's competitive spirit comes out, along with the party games. Nothing says it's Christmas like a game of table top Twister.
5. I get to see old school friends in the same pub we've been going to since we were 16 and drink cheap wine that comes out of a tap.
6. I get to see my family. And my dogs.
Arriving on Christmas Eve, I would go straight into 12 hours of drinking and catch-uppery. There was whisky, there was wine. There was champagne, there was cocktails. At some point, there was always a cheeseboard. With that amount of booze, it is entirely possibly to catch up on 12 months in a single night.
But this year I'm going to my inlaws in Suffolk which means a leisurely train ride with a gin and tonic and an afternoon of musical chairs and pass-the-parcel with my nieces before getting a pre-Christmas day good night's sleep. And it might mean I'm getting a bit grown up, but I can't bloody wait.
MORE! See all our latest Christmas features, how-tos and gift-guides here.