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Being Alone At Christmas

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      27.12.2001 05:49
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      You know, I didn’t really want to do this. I’m heading home to Aberdeenshire tomorrow, weather and the apparently rather inept Bear Scotland permitting, and though I had already indicated I would be absent over Christmas and New Year, that wasn’t quite true. I was home for one day in between, but didn’t anticipate having time to log on. But here I am. In very Festive mood. Regretting the fact that I had asked Jo and Simone to create new topics for me to write on over the break. Although I fully intended to do so. But partly ‘cos I’m not here much, and partly ‘cos they’re serious things, they’ll have to wait until after Hogmanay. Yes, I was reading some great ops tonight, and looking for a category to write some funny, Aspen-type, tongue in cheek, p*ss-taking, un-crown-worthy, but suiting-my-festive-mood opinion, when I came on this subject by accident. Having found it, I now have to do it justice. Firstly, it is a crying shame that the very wording of this topic should imply “sympathy”, or “being sorry for”. But it does. It seems to be a knee-jerk reaction in our society that being on one’s own at Christmas is socially unacceptable. Now I am the first to recognise that there are many, many people, who spend Christmas alone NOT out of choice. I had a great aunt, who died many years ago (bless her), who became housebound in her last few years. But she was such a sociable character, it broke her heart to be unable to get out and walk down the street on Christmas Day, and call in to her even more infirm pensioner neighbours. So, despite the young family at the time, my ex-wife and I always found and hour or two on Christmas Day, to visit my housebound great aunt. Because she craved company. What society fails to recognise, is that some people crave solitude. Sorry, but that does not make them s ocial misfits. It simply means they are individuals, who are capable of thinking for themselves, and are capable of making their own decisions. I had a family (I still have, obviously, but they are grown up now), who loved Santa. Who loved Christmas. Christmas is a wonderful family occasion, and when the kids were young, we all enjoyed every Christmas moment every year. And I would not go back and change a single thing. But things are different now. The boys are men. I will see them between Christmas and New Year, and we are as close as we have ever been. But Christmas for them now is spent with the families of their respective partners. My ex-wife has a new significant other. I’m not entirely sure what they do for Christmas, and it’s none of my business. They boys don’t go there, but even if they did, I wouldn’t mind. My point is this. I have an ex-family. We spent many, many bloody good Christmases together. For me, the only drawback was the inlaw involvement, which left me with a love-hate relationship with Christmas. I loved the bits of Christmas which I spent with my immediate family. However, in the few recent years I have been on my own, my sons have invited me for Christmas. My elderly parents have invited me for Christmas. My friends have invited me for Christmas. Sh*t, even my ex-wife and her new partner have invited me for Christmas. Why is it so bloody hard to find excuses to decline? And what so many people fail to understand is this. Some people actually enjoy being alone at Christmas. Some people actually find it a great relief to be able to do their own thing, without having to fit around someone else’s agenda. And it’s not as though the well meaning offers aren’t appreciated. Believe me, they are. They are appreciated for being well-meaning. And please, do not let this opi nion influence you against visiting a lonely neighbour this Christmas. All I ask is this. Keep an open mind. Not everyone feels as you do. At Christmas, and at all other times of the year, treat your fellow humans with care and understanding. Those who have different needs, and different priorities, are not weird. They’re just different. And for their own very personal reasons, they may just WANT to be alone at Christmas. © Mike Clark 2001.

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        27.12.2001 00:05
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        You know, I don't actually mind spending Christmas on my own. Personally, I feel Christmas has become too much of a farce. Maybe I'm a bit of a baa humbug, but there are a number of reasons why I'm beginning to get dispondent about Christmas time. Years ago, Christmas was a time of remembering the birth of Christ. People would dress in their Sunday best, and the WHOLE family would go to Church to celebrate this. A few simple gifts, games and a lunch would be sufficient. But, nowadays - things are well and truly different, aren't they? The sheer madness of it all has gone way past my head! People are running around like headless chickens spending all their money and then some on the gifts their loved ones want or what they say they need. Shops are opening late because of this, and Asda have been open 24 hrs a day over the festive season. People tend to think of Christmas as a time for partying, food and drink. Yesterday, I phoned my brother up to wish him Merry Christmas, and he was plastered! So, that cut short that conversation! For these reasons, I'm quite happy to stay put at home on my own. Well, not entirely! I've got my dog, and she's good enough company for me! I seem to have had it up to my eyeballs with the whole Christmas palava. People drive me mad at the whole mad rush of it all. There's simply no need for all the rushing around and drunken stupors they get themselves in. Now, I'm not saying not to have a good time and enjoy yourself. Far from it! I mean, it's the Lord's birthday, and this we must celebrate, like any birthday! But, it's the way we go about it that's all wrong! If we got things into perspective, and celebrated Christmas like Jesus would want us to, then I'd be quite happy to celebrate with others. But, until then, I'll be staying home alone and celebrating it in my own little way. Thanks for reading this, an d enjoy yourself!

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          20.12.2001 10:45
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          I was selected to participate in the 37th UNESCO International Research for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering in Tokyo for one year. I arrived in October this year and was excited to go and experience all the modern electronics that Tokyo can offer this Christmas. True enough, Tokyo is really filled with all sorts of lights, lasers and other electronic gadgets this Christmas, but down deep inside seems to be people who does not understand what the essence of Christmas is for. So behind the bright flashing Christmas lights are quite meaningless celebration of Christmas. Now 14 of us were here from different countries around the world feeling the loneliness of spending Christmas here. I thought that this is no way to spend Christmas, we could either allow the easier way of just staying in our room and let Christmas pass as we expected it to be, or to kindle everybody's heart and fire some warm Christmas spirit and celebrate Christmas. I took the other option and started to write everyone a Christmas letter of what Christmas and world peace is. Soon enough, a number of positive responses came and we are now quite busy preparing for our Christmas party. Now we have a Christmas party on Dec 25 at the Tokyo Institute of Technology International House. Everyone is now busy preparing special food and presentation from his country. Although we are having some arguments on the food preparation (some people are vegetarian, some prefer spicy foods, some prefer etc...), it is much much better than the original picture of us spending Christmas alone and lonely in our rooms. This Christmas party will be unique because it will have 14 different nationalities, 14 different languages, 14 different food taste and 14 different traditions in Christmas sharing a common feeling of oneness this Christmas! We are all brothers and sisters in this world! We had the option of just staying in our rooms and sleeping this Christmas eve, or the opt ion of getting together and form a global Christmas celebration.

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            18.12.2001 23:34
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            You might be able to save a life this Christmas. Your own. Christmas is a dangerous time. Any policeman will tell you that. But whereas we are bombarded with drink-drive adverts at this time of year, no-one bothers to tell you that the biggest danger might not be in a bottle. It might be in your own mind. Or in a member of your own family. Many, many people are silently dreading the 25th. They probably won't voice their feelings to anyone for fear of being called a 'killjoy', for fear of being compared to people who have 'real problems', for fear of simply not being understood. Christmas is a desperate time for many people. People who are alone for some reason, even in the company of others. My best friend was widowed in terrible circumstances two Christmasses ago. She joined the masses of bereaved people who can never enjoy this festival again. People with mental health issues are dreading the requirement to be happy and be sociable when they are too ill to do so. The end of another year is too much for them to bear as it highlights what they haven't achieved and the many losses in their lives. The suicide attempt rate will rise dramatically over this time. All over the country there are broken families with their own private heartache who turn on the TV only to be bombarded with images of the ideal family Christmas. Children from violent families will ask only for peace from Father Xmas as domestic abuse rises dramatically over the next few weeks. The shops are shut, the doors are locked, and the home becomes an isolated inferno of physical, sexual, or emotional cruelty while the rest of the world carries on. I could go on. All of the above situations are highly distressing. But when they reach the point of being unbearable you need practical advice on what to do. And because, if you're in one of these situations, you'll probably n ot feel like reading tonnes of advice, I'm making this short. DAWN'S TWO-STEP SURVIVAL GUIDE TO CHRISTMAS 1. THE 'ONLY ONE DAY' MANTRA. These days Christmas is very, very short. Think about it. After lunch on the Day itself they start advertising Boxing Day sales and New Year holidays on the TV! it's no sooner here than it's over. CONSTANTLY remind yourself of this fact. Plan to visit the shops at the earliest possible moment to prove the fact. One especially difficult year I went down to Woolies first thing Boxing Day. All the Christmas stuff was half price and they were already stocking up easter eggs! That's how quickly it goes these days. I left the shop feeling a sense of relief - 'it's over - and I survived'. If necessary stay in bed for the whole day. Sometimes we need to retreat from the world in this way when our pain is unbearable. Forget the accusations of 'killjoy' by others. they do not have to walk in your shoes. Keep reminding yourself - it's only 24 hours. You can do it. Keep breathing, go with every minute, don't try to rush the time. Whatever your personal tragedy, Christmas only has one day to highlight it. Let it run its course, do its worst. This time in 24 hours it won't BE Christmas any more. You WILL get through it. 2. GET THE RIGHT KIND OF HELP If you are in ANY kind of danger you owe it to yourself to get help. If you are in physical danger from anyone - family included, phone the police. Don't feel a misguided sense of loyalty or pride. If you are in emotional danger phone the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90. or if you prefer, email jo@samaritans.org If you are a child in any kind of danger phone Childline on 0800 1111 (0800 400 222 for Minicom). Don't rely on friends, however well-meaning, to help you. The wrong thing said or done can sometimes b e fatal. There are many of us who find Christmas difficult or even intolerable. We each have our own reasons and those reasons are as valid as anyone else's. There is no 'league table' of suffering. If you feel this op is too gloomy, depressing, and pessimistic, be grateful that you haven't experienced these depths of suffering. Maybe you can try to support someone who has. There might be someone close to you who is clinging onto life, and you never even knew. Christmas might literally be a life and death crossroads for them. Can you make that difference? With the right 'emergency plan' in situ, you will get through. I wish you all peace of mind for Christmas and the coming year. Dawn

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              10.12.2001 01:27
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              Top ten Christmas list for lonely soles. 1) Usama bin Laden…Doesn’t celebrate the season of good will and wont be decorating his cave. Has no friends, as they will trade him in to America for $25 million. Has a risky upbringing of booze, girls and Jonathan King parties. Not a good Muslim youth. 2) Liz Hurley…..Had to take drastic measures after yet more film flops and successful ones for her leading man. Jealousy often drives beautiful attention seekers to not so calculating risks. Kate Winslett is not the only British actress who will sleep around to make it big (get it) and “fill”the tabloids for publicity. 3) Chris Eubank……The obnoxious plonker is stuck in the Middle East for over two months now as he’s afraid of flying back to England after Sep 11.Hes been crawling back on planes trains and automobiles with him currently cowering in the Yeomen. Will the wally make it home to his family and friend in Brighton and Hove.Do they want him to. Does any of us want him to!. 4) Gordon Brown……..A man confused about his career prospects, as he is his sexuality. While Blair goes back on his pledge to share the presidency, err Prime ministers job, becoming more God like every day. He is going to be left to go down with the American led recession. 5) Michael Owen……The poor boy is stuck up front on his own now that Fowlers gone.All he has for company is the musclehead Heskey and the permanent injury that is Litumen.If Billy Whiz is injured then Liverpool’s title challenge disappears down the tube. 6) George Bush…..A peanut of a brain hidden in a vast dank dark head full of booming guns and baseball scores. The man with his finger on the button with Iraq on the errr mind. 7) Prince Edward…..No one thinks the poor chap is male enough to take the royal purse. And now his wife has lost the baby, in his mind yet more of a refle ction of how inadequate he is to the notion. He looked totally bemused holding that explosion of flowers outside of the hospital. I actually felt sorry for him for the first time ever. 8) Alex Ferguson…. The embattled Man United boss ahs band all media contact to him and his team. No one is allowed anywhere near the Theatre of Dreams to criticize the team. But fear not newshounds, the legendary manage has a book out next week for Christmas detailing his last year in charge of the worlds biggest club. The red nose one will be available and keen as Posh Spice at the MTV awards. 9) The women of Afghanistan…….Even though they Muslim faith in the embattled country don’t celebrate the nativity,there is few Christmas cheer for the girls still imprisoned under the burkha and strict Islamic rule. Kabul women are still beaten for showing flesh or laughing loudly under the new far evil anarchic tribal regimes. It’s not the Thalban that are out of order or the religion, but the men. The Americans will soon be retiring to the oilfields in the New Year to leave them to starve and fend for themselves. 10) Yassa Araft and Sharon……I think just about everyone on this planet would like to see them as the next suicide bombers in a desert all alone on Christmas Eve. Again this is totally tongue in cheek with fairy lights on it. A nice pristine white angel smiling down from the tree. If anyone tells me I can’t spell again I will tell them, ta feck of owt of it.

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                06.12.2001 06:42
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                Now first off I feel that I should apoliguise to barrytoplis for writing on this subject so soon after he has and a great opinion it was to and all the best to him do give it a read but I felt that I have to send a reminder to him and everyone else out there of the REAL feeling of being alone and without those you love at christmas through death's in the family be them natural or not. I as many people here know by now am a fireman who works in the south london area and this time of year is very bad for incidents and some can be truely gut wrenching and heartbreaking I am sure that you have heard about the little boy who died only the other day and the last that was seen of that poor kid was teddies being thrown at an upstairs window trying to break it the boy was three years old and his parents and siblings will be feeling alone this christmas even if they have each other. The one thing that really pulls at my heart strings and that I find hardest about my job is when you have to deal with somebody who has lost a loved one in a fire or a whole family in one case those people are the ones who will feel really alone this christmas. The fire regarding the little boy was caused by the mother lighting a candle and then leaving the house to buy some more because of a black out and when she returned the house was ablaze and I really feel for her and what she will feel like it will be the worst christmas of her life. I would like to take this chance to remind everybody how important it is at anytime of year to be careful of causing a house fire but especially now when the merriments begin and lot's of cigarettes are being lit,lights being put up,candles being burned etc that we must be so careful and just stop and think are you being safe and do you want to have to feel that loss of a loved one be it christmas or anytime. Right I have done my rightous bit and probably have you all saying who on earth does he think he is but hey if that stops one fire this christmas or saves one life then I don't give a damn. Enjoy christmas and every other that comes to you but don't forget that there are many people out there not as well off as you even if you are alone it will not always be like that. BE SAFE *JOHN*(your in house fireman)

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                  06.12.2001 05:01
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                  Now I don't know if I qualify to write about being alone at Christmas but to be trueful this is the idael place for me to tell all my friends on Dooyoo about my fears of not spending another happy christmas again after this one and why is the question well I will try to explain without seeming to self pitying. I have a three year old daughter and I have spent every christmas of her life with her at christmas and it really is so mcuh fun having a little one around it sort of put's some real feeling of spirit and joy back into the event but unfortunatly my relationship with my partner and the mother of my child is completely beyond repair and although I will be spending christmas with them this year I am really scared of being alone next year and wonder how I am going to handle it. I know that many men and women have been through it and they have pulled through but the thought of being alone seeing as my family are so far away and I will be losing what I thought was a happy family life will not be there with me and plans have already been made for next year that involve my partner and daughter but not me. I have spent many christmas' alone in the past and to be quite honest it has not bothered me that much but the thought of not having the most important and loving person on earth there with me (thats my daughter of course)really not only scares me but almost brings me to tears,seeing her little face light up when the decorations come out,or when the presents are put under the tree,sharing dinner with her and what was my family around us all this is such an important thing to me now and to know that it can never be the same again scares me. I know there are going to be people worse off than me this year and yes I do feel rather unqualified to be writing this and I apoligise to anyone who is really in a bad way but suppose what I really need is some support even if it is just advice on what to do or examples of things wor king out it would really help me as I am feeling bad enough losing my family but to think of not being able to spend christmas with the most important person to me on earth is unbearable. Sorry if this all sounds like a bit of a moan but I could really do with any support or advice you can give. Thanks Barry

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                    01.12.2001 22:00
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                    If you had read any of my before list you might know that I now live alone by myself and I will be spending my christmas by myself Some years ago my dad died in a canoeing accident and my mum is in jail and that only leaves me alone I will go and visit my mum in jail and take her some cigerettes even though she does not smoke My friend will be with his mum and dad for christmas his mum did ask me to come over for christmas dinner but his dad said that it was a bad idea after last time And my friends girlfreind will be with her big family for christmas And I just remembered that sharron will be with me I have decided that I will spend christmas watching telli what I will do is to buy a radio times magazine and then I will sit down and put a circle in pen around everything that I want to watch and then on the day of christmas I will watch all of the shows I have circled Iam hoping to watch chitty chitty bang bang digby the biggest dog in the world the great escape something with monkeys in sound of music mary poppins james bond bedknobs and broomsticks muppets xmas carol but I donot know if they will be on yet I donot think I will watch the queen because that is when I shall have my dinner what iam going to do is watch some programmes about cooking like jamie oliver and ainsley harriott and see if I can copy a really good christmas dish from them What iam hoping to have is Turkey Little sausages Roast potato Sprouts Stuffing Batter pudding from yorkshire And for afterwards Christmas pudding and brandy butter and cream It hink that this will be a nice pleasant day for me but mayby I will be a bit sad because it will not be as good as last year when I got a lot of gifts from my mum and her man friend But it turned out that they were all stolen from costco

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                      01.12.2001 21:02
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                      I spotted this category this morning and thought that I might be well qualified to write in it! I really hope that I might be able to help at least one person. Christmas is a family time. If you do not fit into the so-called "normal" mould it can be a stressful time. I have had very strange Christmases for the last 16 years. I would really like to explain a little and share my strategies for coping. For those of you who have read my op on step-parenting you will know that I have had to manage without my husband a great deal in school holidays in order that he could see the children from his first marriage. We did not spend a Christmas together until our daughter was four years old. Tony figured that while she was tiny she would not really be aware that he wasn't about, or of what Christmas was. As a baby of course she wasn't. But I was, and it hurt like hell. On the alternate years had the children from my first marriage for Christmas day and that helped. The pain was always there. You see other families preparing together and see couples shopping together on Christmas eve.You wish you could be the same.I used to wish that Christmas would go away. Our daughter Caroline was born in early December and that year took some struggling through, I can tell you. I was totally alone for 10 days over Christmas with a brand new baby. Having had complications at delivery I was also unwell. I did not think that life could get any worse. This pattern has continued for years.He has been with us for only 5 Christmases since 1985. Each year I utterly dread Christmas; later I will tell you how I have learned to cope and why this year, for the first time I am looking forward to it. On one or two occasions Tony was so worked up about Caroline and I being upset that he had to go, he just disappeared.Then, the culmination in 1996 when at 3am he left and I told him if he went he would not come back. < br>I had to explain to our 10 year old daughter when she woke up that Daddy had left us.She now also has bad feelings about Christmas. I am not going to bore you all with the minutiae of what happened as I am sure you have the gist of it. Suffice to say it has been hell on earth sometimes. How did I survive all this? How did I cope? The early years of it were especially difficult. Everybody is different and has different needs and ways of coping. Some people need to have people around them and lots of support. That did not work for me. I felt terrible seeing my family with their spouses and felt like an outsider looking in. If you know somebody who is going to be alone, do gently probe and find out what would really help them. I used to do all the present shopping on one day. When Caroline was a baby I pretended it was not Christmas. I had a snack lunch and reserved the day for some serious decorating. The television and radio never went on. It could have been any other day. That worked really well. If I ever don't have the kids now, I do the same. It has the advantage that you are pleased with a job well done. I needed to be alone and ignore the fact it was Christmas. People found it very odd, I think! I was under constant pressure over the years to conform and go to stay with family. They meant well, but for me it made things worse. If you have a friend or family member in this position think about what I have said and please don't make them feel obliged to come to you.They will let you know if that is what they need by eagerly accepting your invitation. If you detect the slightest reticence don't push too hard! I always bought myself a nice treat and lots of beauty goodies. In the evening I had a bath with candles and really pampered myself. As the years have gone on it has been easier. I expect not to be excited but I no longer feel as sad. I can watch Christmas TV without crying my eyes out. This is a big step forward! Tony will be home this year for the first time in 5 years. It will almost seem strange. I am pleased for my daughter's sake. Gradually you learn to cope. You can manage alone. After the shock of the first few years I discovered it was quite nice to get the kids to bed and know you could watch whatever you liked and not fight over the remote control! I always bought myself a special present, something I really wanted. Something for me, not for the house! I always wrapped it up and put "to Kim from Kim" on it! It probably sounds silly but sometimes you have to treasure yourself, especially if you are alone with children. When mine were young if I felt a bit overwhelmed I would bundle us all up in warm clothes and go for a lovely walk after lunch. I also got into a lifelong habit of buying a really good family game. It is hard to feel sorry for yourself if you are concentrating and having fun. It is vital, if you have children to find hidden strength. Christmas must stay a special time for them. This is almost the hardest bit. If you are lonely and depressed you really don't want to bother. Try as hard as you can, my children got me through some years. I always tried to have a really interesting present for each of them; something that would keep us all absorbed for some time. I never did crack that electronic Lego!I am going to find it from the attack this year and get Tony to make the motorised sports car. Better late than never, eh! You can have fun, despite yourself. It is very easy sometimes to wallow in self pity. There is always someone worse off. Try visiting the hospice on Christmas morning. I did that once. It makes you see things from a new perspective. If you are alone because a loved partner has left you, remember, you are special. It is their loss. If you sit and mope then they have won! Have a great time without them. It is so hard, but you can do i t! It is a very gratifying feeling getting through and knowing that you coped. Last year I felt brave and went Carol singing! It was most cathartic. Sometimes you have to embrace your demons in order for them to go away.Now I am looking forward to all the preparations. We will have a tree and decorations (they were always a no no before). The interesting thing is ,that I felt like this before I knew the old man was coming home for Christmas! Good luck! Happy Christmas to all of you. Don't expect too much of yourself and you will get through!

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                        01.12.2001 12:07
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                        I will be all by myself on Christmas but unlike Thanksgiving it will be by choice. My so called family probaly will wonder what is wrong but why should this day be any more special than the 364 others that I am spending in misery and solitude? It is bizarre to think that some particular day can have any signifigance over any other. If my destiny is to be by myself why should I alter my mindstate for one day? Nobody gives a damn about me the rest of the year at least you can let them wonder where you are on one day. The past few months with my wife running off with my kid has been real rough of me and I want to smile while the world kicks me in the mouth. Why bother to pretend that some level of normalcy can be had when in reality it never can be? Last year all of us kids had spouses with us. Now not a single one of us will. That is funny. My family elected to go off and do their own thing and either the big city lights or the roar of the ocean was more important than keeping the family together. And another thing I don't want gifts from anybody. I want what is mine not some scraps. I will go eat at the shelter for solitary and destitute people. That will make me feel better. There is nothing like seeing poor people suffering that uplifts my spirit. To know that at least I have a nice home and a good job will go far when I see these people. I like seeing poor people trying to dress up and look nice. All they can manage is to look like poor people trying to look nice. I will go eat the ham and turkey and then I will drink a bottle of Southern Comfort and smoke some of my last few packs of Gitanes. I am mad at everyone. All that stuff of the 29 previous Christmases is over and will never be back. I refuse to pretend that the world did not stop turning for me when my wife left. Who knows, maybe next year can be different, or the year after that. But for now it would be wrong to pretend that I have picked myself up and put myself back together. Anyways I bought some Christmas music to hear on that day. It is called the Mennonite Classical Christmas. It has some Amish kids choir singing in their own "Dietsch" dialect (and that is not Deutsch misspelled). I also got lucky and literally found a new cassette of Irish harp christmas songs. I went to the libray to get some Arabic language tapes and somebody had stuck this tape in with the ones I was supposed to get, is that wild? I am trying to learn Arabic to annoy people, having a knack for languages has been especially fun lately. Maybe something good will be on TV too. That is all I can hope for. I may have some problems that need worked out. But it won't be any time soon. I think I will get me some of those pickled mushrooms too. A a variety pack of cheese and some of those jello salads. That would be perfect. I might even get some sort of festive potpurri. All you people that can enjoy the holiday have a great time and appreciate it. Don't worry about some drunk bloke that will be trying ever so hard not to enjoy it. Maybe I can go celebrate with the workers from teh Chinese restaurant. I wouldn't be intruding on them.

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                          20.10.2001 08:45
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                          Last year I spent my first Christmas alone. I had originally planned to spend it with the family, but with us being us things didn't go too smoothly, so I left the day before Christmas Eve, a bit scared, a bit excited. When I got off the train I decided that Christmas Day wasn't just going to be full of the usual Christmas baubles. It was going to be my day. I did feel a little sad, but after giving my sister a blackeye (She came home drunk and punched me in the face) all the festive spirit was somehow subdued. So I set off to Tesco and bought a trolley full of all my favourite things. I also bought scented candles and a face pack. I arrived back to my flat with various messages from various friends offering me a piece of their Christmas, but I decided I quite liked the idea of not having to be polite to my Dad while he took the piss out of my new top... and I'd always had to sit through the bloody Morcambe and Wise Show, with the volume on loud so my Taid (Grandad) could hear it. Then of course there was the Boxing Day Tea that was religiously held at my Auntie's place where I'd be given the obligatory Bailey's ( I hate it) and be consigned to sit in the corner. Don't get me wrong I love my family dearly, but it's such an effort to try and spend a whole 48 hours with them all and try to keep them all happy. So, last Christmas, (I gave you my heart :) ) No, actually, I had a chicken curry for my dinner with mango chutney and the works. With a nice chilled Chardonnay by my side, I lay on the couch and watched all the films that my Dad would usually denounce as 'shite'. I did feel a little sad , but I also felt amazingly free, relaxed and grown up. I am tempted to do it again this year, apart from the domestic violence bit, but, I have promised my favourite cousins that I will go and see them instead. They live within walking distance of my Mum's, s o if I get too stressed I can go there. And she is the most excellent of cooks. So... if you know you are going to be alone this Christmas, don't let the idea fill you with dread but instead, 1. Buy yourself treats. Indulge. Pamper. 2. Do plan your meal in advance. It may seem like a huge effort when cooking for one, but you'll enjoy it all the more. 3. If you ARE spending Christmas alone, try to make plans with friends for New Year's and then you will give yourself a social boost too. 4. Try not to dwell on childhood Christmases if you know it will upset you... 5. Choose all the things on TV that you wouldn't usually get a chance to see if the family were around.

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                            05.10.2001 19:08
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                              24.09.2001 02:16
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                              This forth coming Christmas, take a while to think of how lucky you are, that is if you are lucky - if you're with your family and friends and loved ones - some people have to spend this magical time of year all on their own, and it often makes me think that I want to do something to help them, many different ages of people spend Christmas alone. So one year, when I was 17, I went with a few friends and helped out at a shelter, giving out dinners to the homeless - it was actually really rewarding doing that, I would definitely do it again. It's all voluntary, and it shows that your helping those who need it - in the real spirit of Christmas. Sure, so the food we had to serve didn't look all that fantastic, but believe me - they appreciated it so much, I even made friends with a couple of people - they've managed to get back on their feet, are now working and it makes me so pleased that I might have helped in some small way. I don't think anyone should stay on their own at Christmas - it's a time for sharing presents, company and time - if it helps those who need it by bringing them together and actually giving them a meal, then that's a good thing. I normally spend Christmas at home, if I can, with my family and my friends, but I really like to do something different occasionally, I may go to Australia surfing one Christmas - sounds good huh? Thanks for reading - you are not alone, don't be alone, make friends and have a great Christmas :)

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                                30.07.2001 01:22
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                                This forth coming Christmas, take a while to think of how lucky you are, that is if you are lucky - if you're with your family and friends and loved ones - some people have to spend this magical time of year all on their own, and it often makes me think that I want to do something to help them, many different ages of people spend Christmas alone. So one year, when I was 17, I went with a few friends and helped out at a shelter, giving out dinners to the homeless - it was actually really rewarding doing that, I would definitely do it again. It's all voluntary, and it shows that your helping those who need it - in the real spirit of Christmas. Sure, so the food we had to serve didn't look all that fantastic, but believe me - they appreciated it so much, I even made friends with a couple of people - they've managed to get back on their feet, are now working and it makes me so pleased that I might have helped in some small way. I don't think anyone should stay on their own at Christmas - it's a time for sharing presents, company and time - if it helps those who need it by bringing them together and actually giving them a meal, then that's a good thing. I normally spend Christmas at home, if I can, with my family and my friends, but I really like to do something different occasionally, I may go to Australia surfing one Christmas - sounds good huh? Thanks for reading - you are not alone, don't be alone, make friends and have a great Christmas :)

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                                  22.12.2000 01:12
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                                  For me touch wood Christmas is great, I have my husband and my daughter and the rest of the family. But, what about spending Christmas alone, mustn’t it be sad and awfully lonely. I don’t think I wouldn’t be able to cope. All the media hype about the festive spirit and being with your family. But, what if you have no family, what do you do then? So, I ask all Dooyoo members to think long and hard and see if they can invite someone over, and make their day for them. I know some people like being a lone but there’s no harm in asking. I normally make so much food that there’s so much that I end up chucking it away. But, this year I am going to take some turkey over to a few people I know who would gratefully appreciate it. And I have invited my aunt who was recently widowed to come and join us for Christmas dinner, she was so happy that it made me happy and my day. Christmas should be more than presents it’s about remembering people and showing a bit of kindness and this way I am doing my bit. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR.

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