The joy of rediscovering your hometown at Christmas (yes, even Birmingham)

Travelling back to the place it all began can fill you with a sense of familiarity and wonder, writes Anya Ryan. Why spend the holidays in New York when you have everything you need right in your hometown?

Saturday 23 December 2023 14:41
<p>The yearly trip back to Birmingham feels like both a luxury and an obligation</p>

The yearly trip back to Birmingham feels like both a luxury and an obligation

Here we are again. The Christmas parties are done and dusted, our out-of-office emails have been activated, and off we all trot back to our hometowns. People from all across the country pack their bags and head for a place they decided long ago to leave behind. It’s a holiday. It’s a tradition. It’s a moment that rewinds time.

This annual pilgrimage that so many of us do at Christmas is the closest we come to a return to youth. All at once, the streets we spent our childhoods walking are flooded with returning visitors. The pubs where we had our first legal sips of alcohol are packed out with the aged faces of people we once knew. With a sprinkling of festive magic, old companions feel like they’ve never left our sides.

As we sit back, drunk and full, on the sofas we lay on as teenagers, it’s hard not to delight in a trip down memory lane. Although we spend most of the calendar far away from these cities, they welcome us back eagerly and with open arms. We might be guests now, but we’ll always feel we belong here – it is like we’ve returned home.

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