Personally, I have mixed feelings. I’m an only child, living alone.
I have an excellent relationship with my parents and there’s an unwritten assumption that I’ll always go ‘home’ for Christmas. I’ve never actually suggested anything else, but I’m pretty sure my mum and dad would be hurt if I chose to spend Christmas with friends instead of with them.
On the one hand, this is a real positive. I always have loved ones to spend the day with and there are no arguments over which in-laws to go to, no divided loyalties. On the other hand, it means that I never get to spend Christmas Day in my own ‘home’, cooking Christmas dinner ‘my way’ (probably a blessing for all concerned!)
In many ways, Christmas is no different for me than for most people. It can be a dizzying whirl of social events, desperate last minute shopping and stress! I do feel, though, that I miss out on some of the magic of Christmas, having no children to buy presents for and share it with. I never get woken at 5 am on Christmas morning by someone bouncing on my bed, beside themselves with excitement and demanding to open their presents. Maybe having no children isn’t such a bad thing after all!
For singles without close family members and friends, Christmas can be one of the loneliest times of the year. I’m very fortunate in my circumstances, but I do sometimes think ahead to the time when my parents are gone and I’ll be alone at Christmas. Then, I’ll be into the stress of wondering if friends will invite me – hoping they will, but feeling a bit uncomfortable to intrude on family time and not wanting people to feel sorry for me.
Are you facing Christmas alone?
If you’re in a situation where you’re facing the prospect of spending Christmas Day on your own, here are some ideas to avoid feeling lonely:
Invite people round to your house for Christmas dinner – encourage everyone to bring a different part of the meal, e.g. roast veg, Christmas pudding, or Christmas crackers/party poppers.
“Christmas Day was more than just family when I was growing up. My mum always invited some of the trainee nurses she knew who were working shifts over Christmas and couldn’t go home to their families, to have Christmas dinner with us. There was also an old chap called Mario who’s family lived away who always came for dinner too. It meant we always had a house full of people.”
Consider your options
If you don’t know anyone to invite, then consider doing something which gets you out of the house on Christmas Day. You could become popular with your work colleagues, and maybe even earn overtime pay, by offering to take a Christmas Day shift. Or, investigate whether local voluntary organisations would welcome extra help on Christmas Day.