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Are you going to be alone this Xmas? Friday December 5, 2014

Xmas can be a really tough time for people suffering from depression. The jollity and good cheer can exacerbate our mood if we feel left out of it. Since my divorce and the early death of my parents I have often spent Xmas on my own. Sometimes I have received well-intentioned invitations from family and friends to join them, but usually being on the fringe of other people's enjoyment only serves to emphasise the exclusion.

Not being a christian I went through a period of denial: no dinner, decorations, cards or anything. (One memorable Xmas dinner was beans on toast as I couldn't be bothered to do anything else!) However in recent years I have embraced the concept as a traditional mid-winter festival and resolved to recognise it. I remember telling a friend I was going to spend Xmas with someone I was really fond of, but who I had neglected recently. "Who" she said, reeling off some names. "Me" I said, and she laughed.

Nowadays I do the whole Xmas day thing just for me. I buy a duck, walnut and orange stuffing and the full range of vegetables and trimmings (including pud!) I also have stollen or panettone, bowls of nuts and dried fruit and sometimes a selection box of other sweets, together with beer, malt whisky and wine. I get up at a reasonable time, open any presents, then start cooking the meal (having a beer or two while cooking.) I have wine with dinner followed by a flaming pud (whisky is just as good as brandy) and settle down with a glass of malt to listen to music/radio/watch tv feeling very satisfied.

There is usually a mountain of leftovers which take some days to consume (duck soup anyone?), and a huge washing-up pile which I do in shifts, but the satisfaction of doing the whole works "just for me" carries me through.

So if you are worried about being alone at Xmas this year, why not lavish time and attention on your favourite person?

A Moodscope user.

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Di Murphey Fri, Dec 5th 2014 @ 3:03am

Dearest NR ~
I love it. It sounds heavenly. Thank you for such a revealing and inspiring message full of hope & joy.
Di Murphey

kornage Fri, Dec 5th 2014 @ 8:20am

I get that notion of "being on fringe of other people's enjoyment" -- that's the feeling I don't like; I'm okay with my own company as it happens.

Strange in a way that there must be so many of us who feel like this, but by saying "me too" you get that sense of some connection, or at least association. Alone, but somewhat connected.

I never normally bother making an effort for Christmas but this year I'm thinking about giving it a go: a few decorations and cook something different.

Rupert Fri, Dec 5th 2014 @ 8:48am

I think Christmas is a weird time anyway regardless of your own situation - a kind of enforced jollity which doesnt really suit everyone. Is good that you are taking from it what suits you as you are being true to yourself unlike many others!

Julia Fri, Dec 5th 2014 @ 10:15am

Totally agree with you Rupert.

Anonymous Fri, Dec 5th 2014 @ 10:16am

That's the way. Candles are marvelous, too. But for me, this so far is theory. I have hardly ever been in the situation, but I dread it. Very much so.

Anonymous Fri, Dec 5th 2014 @ 10:45am

Hi NR. I too have had occasion to spend Xmas on my own in the past, having left all of my family back in another country and having been single for a few years. It was lonely and also embarrassing when people asked what I was doing for Xmas, I felt ashamed to admit that I was going to be on my own but also dreaded the well-meaning invitations to "come round theirs" as I really didn't want to feel like that person on the periphery of their family gathering. It was exhausting. I wish I'd thought of it the way you've just suggested, it would have solved a lot for me back then :-).
Thank you for the mind-shift! May you have a wonderful mid-winter festival this year :-).

C A Morgan Fri, Dec 5th 2014 @ 11:02am

I am seeing my family the weekend before Christmas so will have Christmas day on my own too. I'm looking forward to a day of restful indulgence for myself just like NR and prefer that to being a peripheral addition to anyone else's day.

I will cook myself a good meal, with a glass or two of some wine and will enjoy festive carols and rubbish TV!

It's only a day after all so I try to keep that in proportion when looking at 'ideal, TV advert style families stereotyped Christmas day' jollity.

So whatever you're planning make sure that at least some of the day, if not all of it, is something you enjoy and that nurtures you- a compassionate Christmas for yourself maybe?

Mary Fri, Dec 5th 2014 @ 3:21pm

Dear NR, your Christmas sounds perfect! So much nicer than family squabbles and the stress of trying to get Christmas dinner on the table by 1pm or face the mother-in-law's frosty (albeit silent) condemnation. For people who really enjoy their own company, a Christmas alone can be pure bliss: you're almost guaranteed no annoying sales calls!

Anonymous Fri, Dec 5th 2014 @ 4:36pm

Dear NR, thank you for your post which really touched me, as my views towards Christmas are pretty much like yours. It's taken me some time to accept that I have no family worth of this name, and the ability to spend Christmas by myself is for me a sign that I have really made peace with myself and the things I can and cannot have in my life, at least not right now. Looking at the big expectations that many people have for Christmas, and the big deceptions that follow, I can hardly think I have it worse than most. At least I know deep in my heart that I am truly with myself, and I believe that many people who celebrate Christmas just 'because it's the thing you do' can't say that of themselves. Besides, walking through the city at Christmas, lit up with myriads of lights, and really seeing these lights, enjoying the moment while everybody else is rushing to get the last urgently needed dinner ingredients, gives me a sense of peace I hardly have at any other time of the year.

Anonymous Fri, Dec 5th 2014 @ 7:35pm

Last year I was hospitalized at Christmas time with not remember much of it at all....this year, my wife and I will be by ourselves for the first that will be a challenge for both of us.....but I do like the post above that says it is only one day.....and you know what, we will do fine...Dave

Anonymous Fri, Dec 5th 2014 @ 9:48pm

Many thanks for all the lovely posts above, I'm almost embarrassed to admit that since I wrote this blog some weeks ago I have been invited to spend Xmas with my son. He is at Uni but shares a house with others who will disappear at Xmas so he would also have been on his own. We will go to see the Hobbit together and he is cooking dinner (oh joy...) Even though he lived with me from 11 onwards he always used to go to his mothers or latterly his girlfriends so this is our first Xmas together for a many years.

I suppose the point is that if you are able to face being alone without fear, then the times you can spend with loved ones are all the better appreciated.


I suppose the point is that if you learn to enjoy your own company

Anonymous Fri, Dec 5th 2014 @ 9:50pm

Christmas alone? I wish!!

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