Being alone is hard. Being alone at Christmas time is even harder!
I have always had family around me. I have not always had a significant other. Even when surrounded by family, it is possible to feel very alone at this time of year. You look around and it seems like everyone else is having more fun than you. Cousins are bringing their new partners to Christmas lunch, There are young children in shopping centres, at the dinner table, at the pool and in your spare room. Lots of women seem pregnant.
You wrap gifts for everyone you know and some people you don't know. You know that you will not receive nearly as many gifts as you are going to give... even though it isn't about that. The gifts you get are impersonal, unsuccessful attempts to show kindness to the single, childless aunty/uncle, sister/brother, friend. These gifts usually come in the form of chocolates that you don't like, shortbread biscuits that you don't like, low fat recipe books, speed dating vouchers, bath items or crazy cat lady coffee mugs (even though you don't drink coffee or have a cat).
Christmas can be a difficult time.
It isn't that you don't appreciate the effort people have made. It isn't that you aren't happy to see the family. It isn't like you don't love playing hide and seek and sitting at the kids table because the adult table is full of couples. It isn't like you are would rather be at home in your P.J's drinking wine and eating ice cream from the tub. It isn't any of those things. It isn't that you don't want to be loved. You do want to be loved and appreciated and included.
The thing is, sometimes it's easier to stay home, than it is to spend the game on the bench! (Look at me using an appropriate sports metaphore!)
I say a lot about choices and consideration around here. I believe that happiness is a choice. I know that we all get along better when we simply take the time to consider the feelings of other people around us. Maybe you can't see things from the perspective of some people. Maybe their view of the world is so messed up that there is no way you could anticipate their reaction to the fifteenth fruitcake they have received this Christmas. That's okay. You can't be perfect. Maybe we should consider the idea that no one can be perfect. No one has a perfect Christmas. No one!
The mum surrounded by husband and kids at Christmas time - the one you watch with a bit of envy and disappointment in yourself - sometimes looks at you that way. You see smiling children in cute Christmas outfits and a husband with an arm around her waist. She sees a mess of wrapping paper, more toys to tidy up, extra loads of washing, streaky silver to clean, children on a sugar high and all she really wants for Christmas is a nap! Sometimes the grass looks greener but is actually synthetic.
What is my point?
Your Christmas experience might be a bit depressing, but rest assured you are not the only one. Your efforts are appreciated. Don't buy bath products or chocolate for the single childless aunty who is dieting and don't send her on a singles cruise! Focus on the positive and if all else fails; Write a blog post about it and accept that you will probably be misunderstood.