[Written by Elsa Lindström]
[Image by Elena Roselli]
Until last year, I was never that excited about Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, of course it was nice to have a reason to not go to school and get presents, but if someone asked me what my favourite holiday was, I would always answer Halloween. Christmas just simply was not that special, and I didn’t really get what all the fuss was about.
That changed last year. Suddenly, I found myself getting hyped for Christmas decorations, sending Christmas cards to my friends and counting down the days to it. Why? Because I had left Finland.
Now for the first time in my life I understood people who stress the importance of Christmas as a family get-together. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to see my relatives quite often in Finland, but since I moved to Scotland, taking the bus to my grandparents just isn’t possible anymore. And throughout the year, I miss multiple other holidays such as Father’s Day as well. Therefore, Christmas is a special thing for me now.
With the grown importance of Christmas, I also enjoy the time leading up to it more. In preparing for the holidays I have noticed traits of my mom in me – mainly when it comes to the decorations. She is the biggest Christmas lover I know (but a close second is my current flatmate, who’s snapchat bitmoji apparently wears a Christmas tree all year). My mom gets excited when shops start selling tree ornaments, has lights for every window and wonders if she could still fit new ones somewhere, and absolutely loves sending Christmas cards. I have yet to reach her level, but the signs are visible: I spent way too much effort last year wondering what kind of cards to send to my friends and family, and have been eyeing ornaments for a few weeks now.
Though I was first confused about these strong feelings towards the capitalised holiday, I have come to accept them. It is nice to have something important to look forward to, and I am lucky to have very good memories of Christmas. We always go to my grandparents for the holiday period, where my cousins join us for Christmas Eve (which is when Christmas is celebrated in Finland), and it can easily be the only time of the year when all of us are together. Living abroad has made me appreciate my relatives more, and I look forward to seeing them each time. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, from the overdose of tinsel and glitter to eating too much. The traditions and the love of faraway family whom I see during Christmas have given the holiday so much more meaning, and I love it now.
[Image Description: A photograph of the entrance Argyle Arcade covered in fairlights at nighttime, with people walking past and a well-dressed porter standing at the entrance.]