My Wonderful Christmas Alone by Claudia Carroll – Guest Post

Hi guys, and happy Saturday! Today I was supposed to be a part of Claudia Carroll’s blog tour however, when yesterday I saw the blog tour poster, I noticed there is a mistake and it mentions other blog. I tried to get in touch with the lovely Louis from Avon but it was probably too late – my fault, I should have checked the poster earlier, but with the new job and life getting in the way all the time I am not yet too well organized, so please forgive me everybody. However, as I have the brilliant guest post by the wonderful Claudia Carroll, I am of course going to post it here on the blog – enjoy, guys!

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My Wonderful Christmas Alone.

            You get quite a number of weird reactions when you tell people that you’re planning to spend Christmas alone. Firstly, you’ll get a lot of concerned lip biting and concerned head shaking, as people treat you like you’re a complete weirdo and assume that you’re a potential suicide risk.

Secondly, you can be guaranteed you’ll get a last-minute ‘guilt’ invitation to ‘come and have Christmas dinner with us. Just the family, it’ll be great fun, you’ll love it!’

This I have done many, many times and –without sounding ungrateful, I hope – let me tell you exactly how it goes. You’re put sitting opposite your pal’s nine and twelve year-olds, who I can guarantee you by dinner time on Christmas Day will be just about crashing down from the day’s sugar high and who will start a fight that descends into full-on temper tantrums at the dinner table.

Then you’ll be introduced to ‘John’ from your friend’s office. ‘He’s a lovely guy,’ you’ll be assured, ‘just your type and you both have so much in common. He’s on his own for Christmas too!’

This ‘John’ by the way, will turn out to be in his early sixties, with an ex-wife, halitosis breath and a severe gambling addiction. In spite of all this though, John will have no difficulty telling you that just because he’s a man he’s therefore in a buyer’s market and that he’s confident he’ll have a thirty-something draping his arm by New Year’s Eve. And the sad thing is that he’s probably right.

And that’s just option A. Option B is that a concerned relative will insist you come over to them for dinner, so you can sit in silence between her and her perennially depressed daughter, who at forty three still lives at home and whose only comment offered throughout the whole desultory dinner are ‘we didn’t bother with the plum pudding and brandy cream this year; all that saturated fat only brings one of Mum’s gall bladder attacks.’

Well you know what? I’ve done both and here’s my idea of a blissfully happy Christmas. To opt out. To just hibernate away, like we’re meant to during these dim, dark months. To enjoy the sheer bliss of having the remote control all to myself with no one to talk over the Downton Abbey Christmas special or to insist we watch highlights from the last series of Strictly, when it clashes with just about any movie that Ryan Gosling happens to be in.

Heaven on earth if you ask me.

Please don’t get me wrong, it’s not as though I don’t have family, because I do. A wonderful loving family too. It’s just that like a lot of families at this time of year, we’re all scattered to the four winds come Christmas Day and no one is willing to budge. I’m lucky enough to have two fabulous parents both alive and well and two brothers, both married, and both pretty much living at diametrically opposite ends of the country.

And they’re all incredibly generous and always insist on inviting me, Mum and Dad year after year to be with them. Which is lovely, thoughtful and muchly appreciated. But although it’s fantastic – and beyond price – to be with your loved ones on the Big Day, suppose you just don’t happen to fancy a five hour drive to their home there and back? Is it really so selfish to want to spend the day enjoying the true meaning of Christmas? Which as we all know is – in this order – food, fabulous telly and then, of yeah, telly again?

Some of the best Christmases I’ve ever had have been spent alone. After all, we spend the other 51 weeks of the year working hard and surrounded by others – so what’s so wrong about wanting a little time out to recharge? Yes Christmas is a time to share with loved ones, and that’s exactly what I do – no matter what part of the country my parents are in, I’ll move Heaven and earth to be with them at some point on the Big Day. Then, as they delightedly trot off to see my brothers and their in-laws (where they’ll generally stay till New Year’s), I’ll grasp at the chance to make my escape in the lovely, secure knowledge that I’ve got rest of Xmas night to chillax with a good book, a glass of wine and a roaring fire later on. So what’s not to love?

            And it’s not that that I’m not surrounded by others for the rest of December 25th. I’ve volunteered for Meals on Wheels that day, I’ve dished up turkey and ham dinners for the homeless that local charities have organized, I’ve even taken part in a charity fun run on the big day with a gang of like-minded pals. And we’ve had a great laugh and felt all the better for raising money for charity. But then very happily parted company and went home to really enjoy the very best that the season has to offer, which as everyone knows is the Marks and Spencer’s brandy plum pudding and of dear God, the bliss of uninterrupted box sets.

Everyone says Christmas is a time for family and friends, and quite rightly too. But supposing you’re not married and you don’t have kids, what then? Because Christmas is equally a time to relax, unwind and do the things we never have time for throughout the whole year. And surely that’s to allow ourselves a rare few day’s of total and utter self-indulgence, doing exactly what we want to do, without anyone to judge, or worse, to pity us?

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