Single at Christmas? You're not alone
Forgive the pun, but you are not alone, if like me, you fall into this sizeable group…
At the end of 2019, the Office of National Statistics reported that around 7.7 million people in the UK are single and living alone. That is over 10% of the total population – not an insignificant number.
Flying Solo at Christmas
Christmas Past & Present
I have been deliberately single for nine years now and choose to live alone.
There were various factors behind my decision but the primary one was that I wanted to give my undivided attention to several projects, something which would have been unfair to any partner.
When I was a child, my family made a big deal of Christmas, with my mother leading the way. As a child, this was a marvellous festive time that I looked forward to with awe and wonder every year.
There were no huge or expensive gifts – I still remember fruit, nuts, and chocolate being in my Christmas stocking hung by the fireplace. However, it was a time when relatives, friends, and others from our social circle, would gather and enjoy a groaning table of traditional food.
The Christmas tree would twinkle, the adults would consume their favourite tipples, and we spent the whole day eating and playing games. I have wonderful memories of those times, with my mother being the conductress to this particular orchestration.
Times they are a-changin'
I left home at 16 and pulled away from my family for a while. I spent the ensuing Christmas times with other families, usually most related to my husbands (yes, I’ve had two – I didn’t learn the first time).
In these, I became the conductress, trying to re-capture some of the magical wonder I remembered but failing miserably because running my own business dominated my time.
I also noticed that not only were presents becoming bigger, shinier, and more expensive but so were the expectations of others. It began to tarnish the season for me.
Revelation about Christmas
By the time I had extricated myself from marriage, recovered following the train crash, and put my life back into some semblance of order, I realised I had choices at Christmas.
And oh, what a revelation it has been!
Back to basics
Over the years, my family circle has contracted.
Some of my immediate relations have passed away (some untimely, and some more painful than others, such as my mother), and some have relocated.
And with only one cousin in my generation choosing to have a child (I think children make Christmas), there seems less of a need to mark Christmas as we once did.
It also seems to me that Christmas is now more about consumerism than simply family-time and it has consequentially lost its sparkle. I blame the bombardment of Christmas advertisements and shops with Christmas departments from late summer and the general expectation of society that I make decisions about Christmas as early as Autumn!
Here's what I now do at Christmas
So, I now mix and match what I do each year. I have replaced what once was with variety.
Some years, I spend Christmas with family, some years with friends. However, not for the whole day, I now like to spread my wings over the Christmas period.
I have helped out various organisations doing Christmas for the elderly, and the stories you get to hear are priceless. I’ve helped out with homeless organisations, where the stories can make you weep.
And I’ve travelled abroad over the period to non-Christian countries to discover different ways of celebrating (if at all).
Yes, I’ve even had an occasional Christmas where I’ve chosen to ignore it entirely, stay in my pyjamas, eat junk food, and watch films all day.
Flying by the seat of my pants (makes for a wonderful Christmas)
And, I fly by the seat of my pants, refusing to make any firm decisions until 1st December at the very earliest.
Doing Christmas in this way has brought back different forms of joy, wonderment, and excitement, and once again, the season sparkles with anticipation for me.
A Merry Christmas to you whatever you're doing
However you’re spending Christmas 2020, I wish you joy and peace, and a new year that’s easier to navigate than the last!
I’d love to hear how you’re spending Christmas, let me know in the comments below. And feel free to add any photos of childhood Christmases – it’s such fun to look back at them!
As a motivational speaker and leadership trainer (now online as well as off), I help individuals and businesses move forward and overcome challenges with confidence, strength, and compassion. To discover how I can help you, check out my in-person and virtual services.
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