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It's More a Blessing than a Stigma
Being Alone At Christmas
Member Name: Aspen
Being Alone At Christmas
Date: 27/12/01, updated on 27/12/01 (507 review reads)
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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