For some reason or the other, some of us will spend Christmas alone – maybe for the first time, maybe not. I noticed that many people simply feel very sorry for themselves when they have nobody to spend Christmas with. And some even pretend to have nobody just because they do not have a boyfriend or girlfriend. If you have your family or friends around you do NOT fall into the group of having “nobody”. This post is for and about people who will spend the Christmas holidays on their own, i.e. in the company of nobody else.
Last year, I chose to spend Christmas up on my favourite mountain in New Zealand (where I used to live). On my own. The reason for it was that I was sick of people, Christmas, and the expectations that came with it. It is a long story, I will not delve into it here. I simply wanted to spend that time of the year in a place I love, where I could be myself, and where I did not have to explain myself to anybody. And the spirit of the mountain needs no explanations. He knows me very well. I also had received the very bad news that I would have to leave New Zealand by April 2014. Christmas 2013 was my goodbye to my friend Taranaki.
At that time, I did not know what life would be like for me. Almost one year later, Christmas is quickly approaching again. I never liked Christmas much. In all my life, I had one nice Christmas with other people, all the others were ranging from awkward to downright horrible (you can be glad if you have a reasonably good family, and even gladder if you have a good, supportive family). During some Christmases, I suffered a lot – simply because I did not know any better – especially when I was still a kid and teenager.
The older I got, the easier it became for me to understand that what these days are like is absolutely down to me and my own actions. Of course, it is not nice to be completely on your own during a time when everyone expects you to be happy with your family, with a partner, or at least with some friends. It is even worse when you have to explain your situation to others and then get the strangest reactions from people. Reactions range from pity to making me feel like I’m a leper.
I have no family here (and if I ever tell anybody about my family, that would be a sign of great trust). And as much as I moved around since March, of course there is also nobody who would have any reason to spend time with me during Christmas. I won’t even spend Christmas in a place I could call home. I will be in accommodation organized via AirBnB. At least I won’t have to be in a shared room in a hostel (this would come with the added price-tag of always having to explain myself to new strangers – and that is something that drains a lot of energy from an introvert like me).
Being in London also screams “It’s Christmas! Time of the year to express your love! Time of the year to be happy! La la la!” into your face every single day. Yet all is see is stressed people, rushing around, pushing each other. Not being loving at all. Yet I do know that many of them will not spend Christmas alone. I honestly have no idea what a good Christmas should be like. I have long ago given up on my wishes for Christmas and my birthday that follows just a week after it. My wishes were simple enough, and year after year I had written them down on a secret list (when I was a kid and teenager). However, someday you do realize that there is no magical universal power that helps you – and Christmas is not any more magical than any other time of the year.
So this year, all I will do is to completely dive into the world of “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit”. Watching all the extended editions should keep me busy for a while. At least, that way I will spend the Christmas days with people I care about. I will try to not be miserable – because it is up to me. Of course, there might very well be sadness. I lost a lot this year, not just my home, but also the lives of people and animals very dear to me. However, I will try to honour their memory by not being sad. I will most likely fail, but I can try.
What you should do when you have to face Christmas on your own
If you – whoever you are, as some of my readers are strangers to me – will have a lonely Christmas ahead of you, do not see it as a curse or something to beat yourself up about. See it as a chance to do something good for yourself. While others focus on buying presents for many other people, while they get stressed and burnt out, think about how you can turn the challenge of Christmas and all that comes with it into something good. What is something you enjoy? Can you do it during Christmas? How can you treat yourself to something good? Don’t wait for others to make your dreams come true – because if you wait for others, you might very well wait forever.