Newcastle Photographer and Content Creator, Mandy Charlton, Always on a quest for adventure, often seen on buses, trains and planes. On a quest to be happier and healthier. Lives in Newcastle with her 3 cats, Iris, Maggie and Arthur. Loves good vibes, musicals and cakes. Full time professional wedding photographer in the north east of england alongside content creator on Tiktok, Instagram and Facebook

Monday, November 14, 2016

Why Christmas For Single Parents Might Not Be So Joyful

This year, it's increasingly looking like it's just going to be the kids and I for Christmas dinner and when I say the kids and I, let's look at the situation of why Christmas isn't quite so simple for me as a single parent with no family other than the kids - 

Messy dog with her toys in front a christmas tree, Mandy Charlton Photography, newcastle

Abigail is veggie, Iain has Aspergers and Looby has misophonia so Looby won't sit at the table with us, Iain will only eat Chicken, mashed potatoes and broccoli and Abigail will only eat vegetables, now my perfect Christmas is one where I serve up a turkey, a gammon, and a beef rib joint with every vegetable I can find, different variations of potatoes, 3 courses of wonderment and several bottles of something quite sparkly, Champagne for one might sound like a dream but it actually just makes me a little sad.

I've done everything I can, I've blogged offering an open house for Christmas for anyone who wants to come, my friends this year are all overseas or with their own families.  I'm not really sure how it ended up where I, the proclaimed Queen of Christmas who loves to feed everyone and entertain the masses ended up being quite so alone.  There's a media pressure there isn't there?  The glossy ads and big productions which all suggest we should be having a houseful at Christmas but for single parents it's hard, then add to that no family and it threatens to be the saddest and most pressured time of year. The only adverts which ask you to look at Christmas differently all tend to show the child in Africa or the frail old person but actually, loneliness at Christmas happens to younger people too and people from all walks of life, I personally think the media is way too focused on traditional families of 2.4 children when the reality is that we have societies with more single parent families than we've ever had and lets not even start on the how much are you spending on the kids this year debate...

Every year I take part in as many secret Santas as I can because I love having presents under the tree, I do usually end up with a weirdly random assortment of things but I guess if I had a big family it would be pretty much the same.

I am happy with my lot in life and have no regrets and one day I know I'm going to have a huge family, I'm working on it anyway!  When I was married I can remember some amazing Christmases we had together, not that I would go back and swap (heaven forbid) but I loved the cosy family time, I loved shutting out the world for 2 weeks and just being with each other playing board games, feasting too much and complaining about twinges in our livers from overindulgence.

What I want for Christmas can't be bought and you can't see it but you can feel it and when I get it again I am going to embrace it, cherish it and never let it go.  I also realise that some reading this may be single parents who don't even get to see their children on Christmas Day, I can't even imagine how empty my whole life would be if there was only me left here on Christmas but if you are reading this and nodding because it's you, well email me, you don't have to have that Christmas because you can come here, to our house!

I'm not really sure what my plan for the future is, I need to change Christmas so that it doesn't seem to be so much sadder than it was in the past, I need to think of ways to cope when the loneliness does hit, I'm strong, independent and determined in most areas of my life after all, I just wish I could figure out this one last part because believe me, I don't want sympathy, I just want to find out a way to embrace the things I do have rather than the things I don't, easier said than done though isn't it?



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