I wrote this before the events in the previous post
More than any other holiday, Christmas and company go together. The news has its annual sprinkling of heart-rending stories of how awful it is to be alone at Christmas, and the annual edict is reissued that no-one should be alone at Christmas.
I have been the victim of this well-meaning goodwill for decades. When I was living in the US, since I obviously had no family to spend the holidays with, I was almost always invited to join other people’s families. Clearly, this is a very generous gesture so do not think I am thumbing my nose at the idea or suggesting people shouldn’t ask. Of course they should.
My difficulty lies in refusing. Even though I had other plans, they were with myself (and therefore not ‘real’ plans – even I thought that), and I lacked the moral fortitude to thank my friends for their offer while refusing it on the grounds I already had plans. To illustrate how abjectly hopeless I was at declining invitations, I once ended up double booked for Christmas because I couldn’t bring myself to say no, even though I had a ‘legitimate’ reason i.e. I had said yes to someone else. So it’s hardly any wonder I have trouble saying no when the existing commitment I have is ‘only’ to myself.
It is almost inconceivable to anyone who isn’t an Aloner to believe that someone might prefer spending Christmas on their own. And yet, I do. Without going all therapy on it, I have very unhappy memories of Christmas as a child and have no desire, obviously, to recreate those experiences.
But beyond that, I can think of nothing more luxurious than a Christmas day to myself. For the past decade, I’ve been spending Christmas day alone, and I’ve loved it. It’s quiet, relaxing, and unfussy. It’s enjoyable.
What about presents? Christmas dinner? you ask. I buy myself presents. As my father likes to joke, “I buy myself a present every year, that way I can be sure to get one thing I like.” I even wrap them and put them under the tree – why not, I love wrapping presents. Even though I know what’s in the package, I still enjoy waiting to open it – I look forward to it, knowing that what’s in there is exactly what I want. As for food, I can have what I like and I don’t have to go overboard on it. I have my menu planned. All I hope for is a nice sunny day so I can enjoy my coffee and croissants on the porch while I open my presents.
I’m not a big fan of celebrations, so I prefer my Christmases low key. Solo suits me fine. But I know that for many people, being alone on Christmas is about the worst situation they can imagine. So invite them to your family gathering, and don’t worry about me. I have plans already.