8 Underrated Joys Of Going Home For The Holidays

Surprisingly, none of them are your uncle's fishing stories.

Brought to you by Qantas

This feature is brought to you by Qantas, who are proud to play a part in bringing travellers together with the people they love from around Australia and across the globe.

Turns out my folks were totally faking when they spent my teen years threatening to change the locks if my siblings and I got tattoos/piercings/pet mice/dreadlocks. I know this because despite doing three of those four things at some point (GUESS WHICH THREE), I am still welcomed home every Christmas with open arms.

Between the never-ending stream of life-direction questions and the increased chance of running into your high school frenemies at the shops, returning home for the holidays can seem a little daunting at times, but it’s important to appreciate those simple joys that you can only experience by revisiting the place you grew up, the person you were and the people who helped you get where you are now. Here are eight reasons to look forward to arriving home.

#1 Complimentary accommodation

Staying in my teenage bedroom for a week every December is the closest thing someone on a freelancer’s budget will get to staying in a hotel room – the pillows are fluffy, there are fresh sheets on the bed and there’s a book you haven’t read in 15 years sitting on the bedside table – only infinitely better, because it’s free!

#2 Fluff’n’fold

I don’t think I’ve used an iron since I pressed my school uniform the morning of my year 12 graduation – I don’t really care about being a little crumpled. But you know who does care? My mum. The biggest insult to my mother is looking scruffy or as she puts it, “like nobody owns you!” So when I arrive home and notice clothes have disappeared from my suitcase and reappeared, freshly ironed, hanging in my wardrobe, I don’t question it. I might only make it to the laundromat once a week during the rest of the year, but when I’m back home, I’ll do a whole load for just one sock if it means avoiding a conversation about the merits of fabric softener and why I really should just use a capful of it with every load.

#7 Shopping for actual groceries

When you’re picking up avocados, day-old bread and cat food in dribs and drabs on your way home from work, grocery shopping is just an annoying chore you do to keep the fussy meowing at a minimum. (And also a way to keep your cats happy.) But when you’re trailing your mum up and down the aisles, tossing the big tin of Milo and the family back of Arnott’s Assorted Creams into the trolley with total abandon, it becomes the tastiest game. (A game you win by seeing how many treats you can throw in the trolley before your mum notices and makes you put the Space Food Sticks back on the shelf and go and find the detergent that’s on special.) The real payoff comes when you get to…

#8 The stocked fridge

After working out how to get the rainbow emoticons to appear next my MSN display name, the only thing I cared about as a teenager was what snacks my parents had on-hand at any time. Had my sisters eaten all the salt and vinegar chips from the multi-pack in the pantry? Did we have two-minute noodles with beef flavour sachets, or just the (clearly inferior) chicken ones? Not much has changed between then and now, except that my taste in snacks has matured slightly. Did mum buy mango Weis bars for dessert? Ooh, a tub of haloumi, don’t mind if I do. If I’m feeling especially mature and selfless, I’ll use what’s in my parents’ kitchen to make them dinner and even offer to do the dishes afterwards.

#8 Get mushy

This list makes me sound like a spoiled brat who just likes when her parents do/buy stuff for her, but that’s only because feelings are embarrassing and saying all the reasons you love being under the same roof as your family could ruin your cool reputation. When you only fly home to see them for a week or two each year there’s a lot of love and hugs to make up for. My favourite way to do that is my curling up on the lounge, illuminated by the glow from the TV and the Christmas tree fairy lights with the people who raised me sitting close by.

This feature has been brought to you by Qantas, who are proud to play their part in bringing travellers together with the people they love from around Australia and across the globe. Because nothing feels quite like coming home.

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