If I was to play a word association game with ‘Christmas’, the first thing to come into my head would be ‘Euston’. A necessary evil, nothing says ‘festive’ to me quite like a packed concourse filled with hundreds of people all waiting for the Glasgow Central train. Yet despite the stresses of navigating the crush, trying to deduce which platform the train will be departing from in a desperate attempt to beat the crowds, there is a certain type of romanticism to this chaos. After all, it signifies that I’ll be going home. Home for me isn’t one place. Home is the flat I share with my boyfriend in south London, yet it’s also the bungalow my mum and stepdad live in up in the Lake District and, finally, it’s my dad and stepmum’s little cottage, nestled underneath a Scottish mountain.
With over 100 miles between my two sets of parents, where I spend Christmas alternates each year. This year, if all goes to plan, I will be with my dad and stepmum, meaning either a pre or post-festive visit to the Lake District. While simply seeing my parents is something to look forward to, so too are the little traditions we’ve carved out over the years.
These traditions start as soon as I step off the train. My dad, waiting for me on the platform of Dumfries station, always suggests a visit to a local cafe and organic farm shop. The perfect pit stop before another hour of driving, this - if having come straight from London - is when my shoulders really start to drop and my pace slows. Each time we go to order we make like we don’t know what we want yet our choices nev