I remember it most prominently the first Christmas I came home from university. It had been three of the most eye-opening months of our lives to date. We’d all moved away from home for the first time. We’d all started new lives, separate from those we’d left at home. We’d all been living in a bubble and upon arrival on home turf, that bubble had swiftly burst. Over the course of those few weeks, we’d all been welcomed home by our own ghosts of Christmas past.
A few years on, the same scenario plays out. We’ve all grown up and have our own lives with new friends, new partners, new cities and new interests yet every year, as we all return to our hometown for Christmas, we bump into at least one ghost from our past – some more friendly than others.
The one who broke you heart…and his new girlfriend
Ah, the high school sweetheart.
This one never really gets less weird. It’s been years now and you’re both adults. You’ve both got new partners who you couldn’t be happier with and yet, they still crop up in your thoughts once in a while, even if just for a second.
There’s a teeny, tiny part of you that almost wants to bump into them, show them how well you’re doing in life, show off you S.O (significant other) and suss out the new girl on their arm. They may have broken your heart when they ended things but all in all, it ended amicably. You know they’re a good person and so, there’s still that element of protectiveness that lingers when it comes to the new girl.
Turns out, he’s still with the same girl from last year so things must be going well. You’re secretly pleased. She seems lovely and if it wasn’t considered weird, you almost wish you could double date with them.
This one is a little bitter sweet but you respect each other and want the best for one another. Of all the awkward bump-ins due to take place in the next week, this one is pretty tame.
The not-so-amicable ex who thinks he broke your heart
Even reading that subtitle made you wince. A loud groan probably escaped your mouth as you realised that yes, you probably will bump into them at some point over the festive period.
They’re the annoyingly arrogant ex. The one you’d really like to forget. The one who everyone hates and repeatedly remind you how out of their league you were. They’re the ex that always, with condescending intention, assume you were and still are devastated by the break up. They actively assume they’re the former ex mentioned, the one who is a bit of a saint and you almost look forward to bumping into. They think you’ll find it difficult seeing them, especially with their new girl. Most irritating of all, they’ll interpret that shot you threw back with your friends as a coping mechanism for having to see them. The reality is, you’d just toasted to dodging a bullet.
We’re not bitter at all.
Let’s go and find more exciting people to bump into.
The childhood best friend
Less of a bump in, more of a walk into their house like it’s your own.
The joy of the childhood best friend is that, no matter how much time you’ve spent apart, nothing has changed between the pair of you. You go through phases of speaking everyday then life gets busy and you’ve not spoken for a while, yet you always pick up right where you left off.
The childhood best friend and you have been through thick and thin together. They know you like no other. You can rely on them to bring you straight back down to earth should you ever get too big for your boots and they’ll boost your spirits when you’re being a little too negative Nancy. They’ll be the shoulder to cry on and the rock to keep your sanity in check while dealing with all of your Christmas ghosts.
If all else fails, make all of your Christmas plans around her and you’re guaranteed to have a whale of a time.
The popular kids from high school
We’re all grown ups now. The ‘cool crew’ doesn’t exist anymore, right?
Oh, how very wrong.
Once a cool kid, always a cool kid, those are the rules. You may be the ugly duckling turned beautiful swan in the years since leaving school while they, well, peaked in high school but they still possess that glamorous, elusive air about them. No matter how much time has passed, they still have that confident charisma that keeps you safe as one of the popular kids even throughout adulthood.
Oh, look, they’re waving at you. Yes, you and not the person behind you (you obviously checked). For a moment you consider playing it cool. You know they’re only interested in you because they heard about your hot shot job in the city and they want something from you. Since you’re no longer the geeky looking teenager, they’re willing to be seen with you. Don’t think so, honey. You’ve got much more self-respect than that.
Who are we kidding? This is your chance to hang out with the cool kids. Maybe they’ll let you be part of the group on a more permanent basis and you’ll all go on glamorous girls’ getaways together. Just say hi, it will take five minutes.
Oh, how you wish you didn’t still want to be part of their clique.
The friend you get on with really well but only see once a year
We all have that one friend who year on year, you both forget how well you get on together. You spend most of the night giggling like school girls at each other’s jokes. By the end of the evening you’ve cried with laughter and your abs have had a complete workout from hours of proper belly laughs. You end the night trying to figure out why on earth you don’t spend more time together and make your annual vow to do so. Inevitably, this doesn’t happen but you’ll appreciate your reunion all the more come next Christmas.