Christmas Makes Me Lonely

I have a confession. Christmas makes me horribly lonely.

I suppose it is partly because of the false cheer and images of family gatherings and the theme of happy people ‘going home for Christmas’ flung at us from all angles from around October time.

I think it makes us nostalgic for a time that may have never even existed for some of us, one where our family was united, and our excitement and experience of Christmas outweighed our expectations, when every gift was appreciated, when everything was done for us: Christmas handed to us on a plate. (Bless those super mums and dads and Father Christmas, before we grew up and found out he wasn’t real and that our parents were breaking their backs for us every year to keep the magic alive and secretly crying with stress into the brandy bottle- I joke of course, half a Bucks Fizz and my mum is out for the count).

I remember working in retail in Edinburgh in my twenties and not having the time to get home to see family, so I’d stay up there when most of my flatmates went home, and celebrate alone with a bottle of Baileys before having to go back to work the next day. It was a sad and difficult time, and one that always made me feel as though I was missing out. Sometimes there would be other stragglers, usually people from across the other side of the globe, working away from home with no way to fund the cost of a round trip. And we were all in it together in a way, in the lonely, disjointed stupor, the prickles lurking underneath the garish tinsel.  

Christmas is a much needed winter festival, but it’s also a time of stress and worry, and can make us painfully nostalgic and make us feel alone and disconnected, precisely because it is asking us to come together and unite and find joy and comfort in the midst of a bleak season. It is our demands and expectations of ourselves and others that make it so.

The end of year is also a time for reflection, which can make us feel a lot of angst over our choices that year, have we done enough with our lives, did we achieve what we wanted? Did we make promises to ourselves at the start of the year that we didn’t fulfil? (If you are in any way human, the answer to that last one will be ‘yes’.)

So whether it is because you come from a ‘broken home’, or you have to share your grown up siblings with their inlaws now , or because you’ve lost a parent, a loved one, someone who was a fundamental part of your Christmas when growing up, it is okay to feel a bit fractured, like there’s a bit missing, that can’t be masked by wrapping paper and fairy lights.

Most of us never had the family Christmas from the movies, despite all the lovely times we may have had, (I have many happy memories of Dad coming round on Boxing Day with a massive box of presents- it was like Xmas round 2! Or the times mum set her jumper on fire on a candle at the table 3 years in a row), but I also remember the year my grandad died on Christmas day. I also remember feeling alone and lonely and resenting everyone who had plans with family in their childhood home. It’s okay to not feel swept up in the hysteria of it all, it is okay to take the bah humbug approach to protect yourself, but still secretly enjoy getting presents. And it is okay to still feel like an excited child who never finds themselves quite as fulfilled as they thought they would be. Acknowledge it and don’t fight it, because it just adds to the stress.

Just get through it. But promise yourself 1 simple thing:

That this year you will appreciate what you do have instead of focussing on what you don’t. 

Abundance comes in many forms, and despite our best efforts when taking on a box of Quality Street, we all know that our empty, lonely places can’t be filled with crap. And gratitude is much less likely to give you indigestion. 

One thought on “Christmas Makes Me Lonely”

  1. Thank you for this V insightful blog. Christmas can be pants. I don’t shop at Marks n Spencer’s . I am doomed!! Being grateful is good prsctise- I am grateful that no one else in my house likes the purple chocs in QS. And they don’t give me indigestion. Thank you for keeping my head in perspective xx


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