on being alone at Christmas

There are a few out there who are worried about me or others that they know and care about being alone at Christmas. For me, in many ways I have been alone for years now. Even longer before Mom had to go to the nursing home and things at least looked more normal around here, in a very real way I was alone.

I miss some of that family stuff that came with Christmas many, many years ago. I think what I miss is being a child and having that genuine excitement and wonder that should come with the season for children.

This is the first year that I am physically alone at Christmas and it’s a little weird, I guess. In some ways, it’s a little better. I’m not really doing anything different from last year or the year before, I just don’t have the added stress of trying to force Christmas to be Merry Dammit. I thought I was trying to force Christmas for Dad but perhaps I was doing it for me. Either way, it’s less stressful this way.

And I’m okay. I am making myself a nice, if simple, dinner. I already got my present to myself and I love it. I will relax, read, eat, and not worry about forcing anything.

I liked the way that Celia, over at The Kitchen Garden, described being alone and wanting to be alone at Christmas. For those of you out there who may want the same thing, it’s okay. We are not alone in this feeling.

You see, some of us might discover sadness in the oven with the ham, the flip side of gaiety be it forced, bottle shaped or otherwise shuffles about in the basket of fresh steaming rolls, the rising descant in melody under the melody of clinking crockery that comes from missing your own people on Christmas day muddles about in your salad. The ones who came before and left before too. You miss them. So do I. The little box in your mind where you have stashed your longing for the lost ones, or the far away ones, or the faded ones creaks and rocks its moorings, that bulging little box with the curved lid that you have to sit on to snap the latches closed heaves up into your throat. Days like Christmas Day tug at the locks and handles of the box. Fingers scratching with tips of wet green nails. There is a wobble in the hinges of my steadfastness, my determination – on Christmas day. It is easier to manage without the morphine of merriment.

The Kitchen Garden

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8 thoughts on “on being alone at Christmas”

  1. I think accepting being alone (or being with people) is the best way-that way you can make the best of whatever the situation is. If I let my thoughts linger in the past, I get very maudlin, so I’m trying to enjoy the mess and noise of having both daughters here, doing crafts and throwing their bags/clothes all over the family room. 😉

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    1. What? Accept the way things are? Yes. I think that is the first thing. I think having a couple daughters around to provide mess and entertainment could be a good thing. For me, I’m glad I don’t have to try to force merriment this year. I’m not melancholy about it, the peace of alone time is mostly what I need. I think what we’re both saying is that people need different things and that’s okay.

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  2. Merry Christmas,Zazzy ! !
    Hugs……)))))) ((((((

    I like to share the legend of The Yule Cat with you………
    The oldest written sources on the Yule Cat are from the Nineteenth Century. These refer to the fact that those who do not get a new item of clothing for Yule are destined to become offerings for the Yule Cat. It may sound strange that the deprived ones will also become the sacrifices, but this tradition is based on the fact that every effort was made to finish all work with the Autumn wool before Yule. The reward for those who took part in the work was a new piece of clothing. Those who were lazy received nothing. Thus the Yule Cat was used as an incentive to get people to work harder.

    A woman describes a scene from her youth in the last century thus: “We were lazy doing this chore. Then we were reminded of the Yule Cat. We thought that was some terrible beast and the last thing we wanted was to be one of his offers”.

    One of Iceland’s most beloved poets in this century, Jóhannes úr Kötlum, wrote a lay about the Yule Cat. It follows in the translation of Vignir Jónsson, who says: “You’ll have to forgive me but I didn’t make it rhyme – I’m not much of a poet.”

    More in the link.I hope you enjoy reading legends !
    http://www.simnet.is/gardarj/yule11.htm
    (At the bottom are other Yule links.)

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    1. I very much enjoy legends and fables. This reminds me a bit of the story of the ants and the grasshopper. Kind of hard picturing the cat being the bad guy. 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

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  3. I think Christmas shines a spotlight on and enhances any feelings knocking around at the time and you don’t have to be alone to feel lonely, or feel lonely just because you are alone. I find this a really tricky time of year emotionally – my birthday and my little man’s birthday within 5 days of one another in November, swiftly followed by Christmas, all events guaranteed to make me inward looking, anxious and full of thoughts about how fleeting life is and the passing of time yada yada yada. Last year and the year before we were with my dad and his wife, but this year he didn’t want to do that, hence coming to Ireland instead of Cornwall (I find it unbearable to be at home at this time of the year as neither of our families does Christmas). This year there is less work and fewer companions and it feels strange. I’m reminded I was alone two Christmases on the trot a few years ago. I’d ended a relationship in October one year and the following year I was supposed to see my sister but the car hire place didn’t take my booking properly and so I couldn’t get there. I lived on a packet of noodles and a bottle of Bombay Sapphire all day and strangely didn’t feel particularly alone or missing out. I admit I was one of the ones wondering how this year was panning out for you, as this is the first year your dad has not been there. I’m glad you are OK.

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    1. I really felt lonelier the last few years with Dad here than I did this year. It was a fairly peaceful day with only a bit of guilt now and then when someone would be surprised that I wasn’t going to Cassville.

      I know what you mean about the time of year and looking inward. Mom’s birthday is at the end of November, mine is next week, Christmas is in the middle. Plus, of course, the NEW YEAR which is when we traditionally beat ourselves up for not achieving everything we set out to last year. And many of us slam impossible “resolutions” on ourselves during this stupor of end of the year, post holiday let down, self-recrimination hangover. Plus I have car insurance due in January.

      The more I try to keep the holidays low key and peaceful, the happier I am. I’m rather glad I don’t have children that I am trying to create the perfect holiday for – though sometimes that seems like it would be nice, too.

      I hope the remainder of your trip is fun and – restful? You know, I don’t think I’ve ever had an away from home vacation during the holidays. Maybe I should try that next year.

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  4. Sounds like the car insurance is the straw to break the camel’s back! That’s enough to tip anyone over the edge. So funny to put something so mundane after a philosophical assessment of these couple of weeks – laughing here. I remember it’s your birthday next week. I remember you blogging about it last year and it’s such a memorable date that I haven’t forgotten. I’ve been reading recently about making resolutions on New Moons and reflecting / reviewing on Full Moons. I like that idea as there isn’t the make-or-break pressure of new year. I usually go out for a slap up meal on new year’s day, 3 courses, the works, just to avoid that whole feeling of obligation and deprivation. Contrary? Me? Probably. Where would you go if you had an away from home holiday during the holidays? I tweeted you a picture of here – would you tweet me one of there?

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    1. I used to be part of a moon group – lots of insight and woman power at the full moon. I miss those ladies.

      Where would I go? I have no idea. There’s outright fantasy v. places I could actually visit. Hmmm. Something to ponder on for the next year.

      Twitter doesn’t want to let me tweet photos this morning. I will try to take a current picture in the next day or so – from the upper deck so you get a better view.

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