What are you doing for Christmas?

This year I’ll be spending the day with my parents, which will be quiet but pleasant.

But is being on your own for Christmas as bad as the media would have us believe? I really don’t know – but until I got the invite, I thought I probably would be on my own, and I was OK with that.

After years of hosting eight to ten people for Christmas dinner (including, at various times, vegans, vegetarians, gluten-intolerants, teetotallers and someone who turned their nose up at any sort of vegetable whatsoever…), with assorted people staying over either before or after (who sleeps with whom, can we fit the Z-bed in, who gets the short straw and sleeps on the sofa, do we actually own enough pillows), drones flying round the living room, and – once – a pet rabbit in the utility room, the thought of being on my own for Christmas doesn’t actually fill me with dread.

Don’t get me wrong – I love having the family round, it’s hectic and fun and crazy. But don’t let’s pretend it’s not bloody hard work as well. The lists, the laundry, the queue at the supermarket. All that extra food ‘just in case’. What the hell to do with all those leftovers. Trying to please everyone, knowing you won’t. And making sure the spoon you used to stir the giblet gravy doesn’t get used for the home-made vegan-friendly gluten-free stuffing by some well-meaning relative who’s only trying to help…

And what about the decorations? Do you put decorations up if you’re going to be on your own? Or do you tend not to bother?

I put my tree up about a week ago – I’ve never been one for putting them up too soon. I own one of those ‘instant’ trees, that come ready baubled and lighted and just need to be taken out of the box and unfurled – and I was just going to put that up. But when it came to it, I decided to do what I always do (and Christmas is all about tradition) and put the big tree up with all the decorations. The big tree is in the living room window, the instant tree is in the window on the landing.

It was kind of my parents not to want me to be on my own at Christmas. But truly, I wouldn’t have minded. What I certainly don’t want is for anyone to feel sorry for me – you should know me well enough by now!!

So – I won’t be on my own for Christmas. But next year, if I am, it’ll be OK.

I’ll miss the craziness, but I’ll enjoy the peace and quiet.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. SisterStay says:

    I love that you put up the bigger tree. You are important too. It’s that whole self-care business again.

    Christmas hosting loads of people with varying dietary requirements, searching for enough pillows, spending every waking moment making sure everyone else is fed and comfortable can be exhausting! I once saw a card with a chorus line of women and turkeys linking arms and kicking their legs in the air, can-can style, which read “Women and Turkeys unite against Christmas!”

    SisterStay aims to connect community members on their own over Christmas. Since this is our first Christmas, it’s a very small initiative at this stage, but as we grow, we hope to ensure that anyone who wants to spend Christmas in the company of others can do so. Who knows? Maybe you’ll join us one year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe one year I’ll have someone come and stay with me!! Such a great idea!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. anglosvizzera says:

    Yes, the big tree in the window isn’t just for you – I was reminiscing the other day how when I was little, I loved seeing all the trees in people’s bay windows where we lived (lots of 1930’s semis there) and that nowadays many people don’t even have a window where they can display a tree to the outside world. Your tree will bring cheer to others as well!

    As for having ‘the family’ (close, extended, whatever) for Christmas – I have 4 children and invariably we’d drive the many hours to spend alternate Christmases at my parents or the in-laws (swapping for New Year) so it was always hard work for the hosts. We chipped in to help as much as possible – I’m very proud that I’ve instilled in my children the desire to offer with the washing up (or whatever process is used these days), changing the bedding, preparing meals etc. I have had other young people round to our house and it’s very rare that anyone offers to even help clear the dinner table. Very strange. The ones that do offer stand out in my memory and often I decline their offer, but it’s good that they asked. That said, it was (and still is) fun to wash up with someone drying and having a good old chinwag at the same time. Good to get to know people a bit better.

    One year my mum and dad had to cook Christmas lunch for 17 people as they had moved up near where my 2 sisters were both living at the time, with their families. The house was big enough for us to stay too. Some of us were vegetarian at that time, but luckily the next-door-neighbour was the chef at the hotel in Portmeirion and had a side-line of frozen ready-to-heat meals including veggie ones. Thankfully veganism was a rarity back then or my mum would’ve freaked! My mum came from a large family (8 plus parents) so was used to catering in larger numbers – I do miss those occasions now as they were the hub of the extended family and none of us seem to be in the same position to replicate it.

    However, with ‘split’ families, it’s always difficult – my husband’s 2 children always have to spend Christmas day with their mum and step-dad, my ex-husband always wants the children to go to him, which they generally do as they have friends there locally that they like to meet up with as well and a couple of them are living near him anyway. His partner has a farmhouse in France that they went to one Christmas – looked very romantic and not something we can compete with!

    We try and spend time with all of them around the Christmas and New Year period, but Christmas Day itself is now likely to be just ‘us’ so we popped down to Lidl yesterday to find some easy to cook ‘special’ meal for the day, and we plan to pop out for a bevvie to a newly re-opened pub a few miles down the road. We are thinking about inviting some of our neighbours who are free round for a drink in the evening too. And if the weather’s nice, we might go for a walk in the countryside (not likely though…)

    I haven’t spent Christmas day entirely on my own though; before I met my husband, my ex, who was still single, used to invite me to stay at the ‘family’ home, which was weird but fun as the kids were all there. That scenario isn’t that odd, I’ve discovered – I worked with a woman and each year she and her new husband always had her ex to stay for Christmas.

    I guess the thing is not to feel that Christmas ‘has’ to be done in a certain way – there are many positives to being able to do what you want on the day and not be rushing around after everyone. I hope you have a great time whatever you do! 🙂


  3. I think as a society we’re all getting much better at saying ‘you do what feels right to you’, rather than having to fit into some pre-determined identikit image of what you should be doing!!


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