If anything beats the excitement of Christmas countdown it must be the feeling of driving home for Christmas. In the years that home was not clearly defined and I was a student living in the dormitory, or a young teacher renting accommodation or a new immigrant I could not wait to go back to my nearest and dearest, to my home town, to my traditions.
I remember sitting in a cold, cold train, all wrapped up with woolen hat, a scarf and two pairs of gloves heading into snowy mountains. I was starving – the student pre-Christmas budget did not really allow for many hearty meals. I was freezing – the heating on the train was broken. Still, I was admiring the wintery patterns on the frosted windows just being happy to be going home.
I’m driving home for Christmas, yea
Well I’m moving down that line
I remember driving through the thickest fog you could imagine. So dense that you would not spot a reindeer even if it was just in front of your car. It was white all around but surely not the type of white Christmas you are dreaming of. We were getting late and the chance of arriving at the bookbinder workshop before closing time to get that one last homemade present for my father was getting poorer. Still, slow as it only could have been, we made it. Just in time to celebrate.
It’s gonna take some time
But I’ll get there
My best memory of driving home for Christmas is the one when we drove over 2000 kilometers, took one ferry, one under-the-sea tunnel and crossed seven countries. It was 10 Christmases ago, I was pregnant, and after a few months of setting up a new life in Ireland we were going to spend Christmas in Poland.
Oh, I can’t wait to see those faces
The car was packed with presents, mince pies and crackers. It was snowing. It was the longest night of the year. The Christmas lights were everywhere – on the streets, on the houses, on the petrol stations. Halfway through we picked my mum and her husband. The more the merrier. We drove all day, we drove all evening and now it was the second night of driving.
I sing this song
To pass the time away
We were not too far now and to keep us awake we were singing carols. Every single carol that we could think of. With all the verses that we could remember. Loud and clear. We must have been a jolly good sight. Four adults singing their hearts out in a car well after midnight. No wonder we were stopped by the Polish police. We sang a line or two to them as well and they let us go. And soon enough we got there. Home for Christmas. Once again.
Save trip home for Christmas to you all.