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, October 28, 2019

How to spend Christmas alone

How to spend christmas alone, mandy charlton photography, blogger, writer

This year for the first time I am spending Christmas alone, Looby wants to be with her sister, Iain wants to spend his first Christmas with his brother and sister and so I'll be alone for my very first Christmas.

When I was younger, in fact, my whole life, I dreamt about having big family Christmases with all of the family, extended family and the funny old drunk aunties falling asleep after a big Christmas lunch.  We'd play charades, we'd eat all of the Quality Street and then we'd settle down for the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special.

Life, of course, doesn't always go the way you'd expect and the price of freedom from being in controlling family relationships is that I've ended up with just Looby and Iain and it's only fair that they get to spend Christmas with whoever they want.  Harriet of course, lovely as she is, extended the yearly invitation to have lunch with her folks at the pub but last year I was depressed and I felt I ruined other people's happiness and that's a lot when it's £60 a head.

In truth, Christmas will be the very antithesis to what I've hoped and dreamed of but I have to start thinking about ways to make the best of it because people all around the world have to face Christmas alone, it's not just me and it's not about sympathy or pity.  It's just finding ways to cope.

I've researched, I've read articles and they all seem to say the same kinds of things - 
  • Go for a walk, and enjoy how quiet everywhere is.
  • Have a lie-in with no pressure to get out of bed.
  • Take yourself out for Chinese food.
  • Spoil yourself with presents to yourself.
  • Take naps whenever you want.
  • Catch up on TV, watch whatever you want
  • Eat whatever you want
  • Embrace your pets
This, of course, is all fine and well and there are some good suggestions in there but I already spend quite a lot of time alone, have sole possession of the remote control, cuddle my pet's daily and if I want something, I buy it.  I also rarely set an alarm and take naps more than you'd think, so it's not like embracing time off as a rare thing because I have a fairly flexible life with lots of free time.

I did think of going away but Looby will be home on Boxing Day and we'll have our celebrations then but whatever I do, I can't shake the fact that I will be on my own on Christmas Day.  Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad if I weren't the queen of Christmas having loved every single thing about the whole festive season for my whole life.

So, dear reader, maybe you are sitting there feeling the same way as me, maybe you too are a single parent who's children will be away, well, here's what I suggest, would you like to come for Christmas Day?  I really want to cook a big feast, I can't drink so I'm going to need some help with that and I can promise a cheeseboard to end all cheeseboards.  Yes, you'll have to share the sofa with Holly Bobbins and the cats but it's got to be a better solution than Christmas alone.  I love to entertain, nay, I live to entertain, I don't have the smartest house, I'm far from being financially happy but Christmas, Christmas is my thing and I embrace it with all of my heart and soul.

Alternatively, some kind of suggestions to add to my list of coping mechanisms would be greatly appreciated, last year was bad and I only got to spend a few hours with the kids, this year is ten times worse.


1 comment

nunsense said...

Must be so hard contemplating Christmas on your own Mandy but I do hope you feel reassured at least that your situation is not at all unusual and there will be many in the same boat. Thinking of how you could spend the day I wondered if you had considered putting your photography skills to use and donating your time to making someone elses Christmas - perhaps by spending some time capturing precious family moments at a local Children’s Hospice or hospital ward. It would help pass the time and I speak from experience in saying what an incredible gift it would be for families of children in a hospice to have those precious Christmas memories with their children captured on camera, especially by someone with your creative talents. As poignant as Christmas in a children’s hospice or hospital is, there are moments of pure joy to be found and it is far, far from the depressing picture many people might imagine. Likewise there is something very enlightening about an experience which cuts straight through the usual commercialism and lost messages of Christmas to focus on the things that really matter about the season. Anyway just a thought but one which immediately came to mind when I read your post and might be something to consider, even if just for an hour or two out of your day.

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