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This year, for the first time, I won’t go home for Christmas. Will my family ties loosen for good?

Flying visits to Northern Ireland kept me connected. FaceTime, Zoom and my niece’s drawings arriving by post are no substitute

I have never missed Christmas at home, though I have lived elsewhere for more than 20 years. This year, I will break that run. The festive travel window means that I could fly back to Northern Ireland from London. But my father is elderly and our neighbourhood on the border has been relatively untouched by Covid-19 until recently, so it doesn’t feel the safest plan. Instead, I’ll be in London. It will mark a year since I’ve been home; the longest I’ve ever been away.

With a flight time of under an hour, on a ticket often cheaper than a night out, I normally go home many times a year. It means I never have to miss a big night out; if it’s an emergency, I can be back in a matter of hours. Being home often feels crucial to my sense of self.

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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