I have spent every single Christmas of my life at home, with my family, for the past 21 years. It is my absolute favorite time of the year, as I believe it is for most people. Some of the specific rituals we do as a family around the holidays have changed over the years due to work-related conflicts with my sister and brother or sports-related conflicts for me. Somehow, though, we still all manage to be together on Christmas day.
On the contrary, this year I am bypassing the family tradition, and not going home for Christmas. For Sport Changes Life, the Victory Scholars have 10 days off between December 22nd-January 2nd, and we can choose to spend it how we wish. Many of the Scholars are going home to see their families, but I thought it was best to use this time to travel around Europe.
Thinking about how I won’t be with my family for the first time on Christmas truly upsets me, but the trip I am doing in place of that is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I cannot pass up! Sure, it may be the first time I don’t spend Christmas eating exquisite meals, enjoying quality time with my immediate family and extended family, and receiving gifts I’ve been dying to have for months. But instead, I get to spend a couple days in Amsterdam, followed by Christmas Eve in Berlin, Germany at the Christmas markets (shown in picture above). I then get to explore Prague, Czech Republic on Christmas day and make my way to Salzburg and Vienna in Austria. Finally, I can say for the first time (and probably last) that I am celebrating New Years in Budapest, Hungary!
My family is certainly just as bummed about not seeing me, but once they heard the places I am visiting, they also couldn’t be more excited/jealous. I definitely am not a fan of changing tradition, but I consider this as placing it on hold for a year. I hate to wish away any time away from this year, but December needs to hurry up!!