Home for Christmas

As a child, I used to cry with Judy Garland every time I’d hear her sing “I’ll be Home for Christmas” in the classic Meet Me in St Louis, never really understanding what the feeling was “to be Home” for it, was. I’d never really had a choice or an understanding, because by default, home had always been New York City, and I’d never really felt it was a choice to be home, it was an expectation, and an expectation I pretty much had always resented until 2018.

In 2018, after cancer had eliminated my capacity to stay warm and New York was beginning to lose her charm and hold on me, I began my pilgrimage for the place that felt like home at Christmas to Costa Rica for a month-long Spanish immersion over the holidays. And, I admit, it was very fun to be in a hot and loving place, enjoying how Latin America celebrates while meeting new people on a similar pilgrimage. But it didn’t feel like Home. The next Christmas, I got a bit closer to Home in 2019 when I arrived in Nevis, and was again welcomed and loved and brought into a community of expats who return every year for the holidays. We congregated every evening in the Main House, enjoying Rum Punches, nibbles and chitchat about our lives and stressors “back home” together, and then dutifully were ushered to our separate tables for dinner. And it was enchanting, but again not Home, even though we all sang carols and made promises to meet again next year.

Then in 2020, In the depths of Covid, while listening to the Republican National Convention, and feeling the depths get personal, It Happened.

I’d made the “rash” decision to uproot my whole life in New York for 6 months and move to Bermuda to get my online life coaching certification with IPEC. And the moment I arrived, the Feeling embraced me, like a soft warm towel, right out of the dryer. Home. It was in the briny scent, the warm air, the breeze, the sunshine, the colors, the curiously confused accents of the local community … But most of all it was the Family that embraced a complete stranger and ushered her into a house and community she’d never lived in or with before. But it clicked and the warm towel went around me.

I spent my first Covid Christmas Home in a rental unit on the ocean, and this year it’s Mine. My Home. The first I’ve ever designed, built, and furnished, entirely from the literal bare bones and beams of an old harbor wharf shipping building. And it overlooks the most beautiful waterfront and odd little town you can imagine. 17thcentury, Colonial Britain, meets contemporary Caribbean culture, combined with a lot of other expats along for the ride.

So this evening, as I sit at my new dining room table watching the twinkling palm trees out of my left eye and the more traditional colonial lighting out of my right, I couldn’t feel more grateful to be…

Home for Christmas.

Holly Lynch is a 20+ year ESG and DEI communications veteran, board member, strategist and investor who has helped individuals and companies tackle the toughest challenges, transitions and transformations in their worlds. Having survived countless life setbacks and two rounds with terminal cancer, while seeing the country-wide collapse of the systems and safety nets for the most vulnerable in and outside our communities, she is now shifting her life and career trajectories to focus on coaching and consulting with those facing down fundamental shifts and transitions as they try to adapt to change while rebuilding their lives and businesses during these unprecedented times.

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