I am 100% sure if media and society wouldn’t put too much pressure on single people around Christmas so many single people would be less depressed/ much happier.
I anticipated that my first Christmas as a single girl, after 5 years, alone in London was going to be a “torture”. In the last 5 years I had been part of, and with, a lovely family who had children running around, great food and all round fantastic celebrations. I was lucky enough to experience how amazing Christmas can be. Christmas when everybody is together and everything is perfect. I will never forget those years.
This time however, by the time I had started to think about (/face) Christmas I didn’t have a chance to buy a ticket to go home. I was going home on the 27th for a couple of days but until then I was facing a lonely Christmas on my own, in my new hole.
It wasn’t the first one. I will always remember my first lonely Christmas. I had finished my degree, left my home and I was working in a restaurant. Being the newbie meant that I had to work the Christmas shifts. No chance to fly home. I worked on the 24th of December, walked “home” to an empty house, stayed there for 2 days and did nothing. I cried and survived. Sorted! I had been away from my family for only 4 months (the first 4 months!). It broke me completely. My housemate/ friend went home of course. She wanted to buy me a tree but I forbid her to do that. I didn’t want to know that it was Christmas… A bit harsh I know, but you can only understand this if you have experienced something similar.
So 7 years later I was facing the next one and even though I didn’t feel as scared because I knew what to expect, I was definitely not excited either. In the lead-up I tried not to think of the full set of decorations I had in the previous years in our house- the silver rain deer, my big fluffy pink stocking, the Christmas card holder string etc. I tried not to think of the fact that I had no one to buy a present for and I wouldn’t be getting a present either. When you can’t share the experience with anyone Christmas just doesn’t feel the same. When you can’t go ice-skating with anyone or to the market to drink mulled wine and try the silly rides. And all the other social activities mainly designed for couples which London is full of…it all feels so lonely around Christmas.
It was 1 week before Christmas and I had nothing planned but within a day that all changed… leading me to realise that miracles do happen! My best friend bought me a spa day as a present, I am truly blessed. It was just the beginning. I met with a Spanish friend who went home for Christmas but her cousin was staying behind. Even though her cousin spoke hardly any English she explained that she would be sending Christmas with her uncle, in London and asked me to join them for lunch on Christmas day (I made the cheesecake)! I was blown away by the random act of kindness. This would mean no loneliness and I could experience a Spanish Christmas! On the same day my best friend (aka my American angel) called me. She called me because she was around and knew I would be alone so she invited me for dinner on the 25th. A Spanish lunch and an American dinner?! My hopes and excitement for Christmas had dramatically improved! Later that same day I decided to knock on my neighbours door to say hi (I had only been living there for one and half months by then and wanted to get to know my neighbours). A Hungarian guy and a Polish girl welcomed me in and we had a lovely chat. It was a bit later into my evening with them (and to my utter surprise and delight) that they invited me to their house Christmas Eve for a Hungarian and Polish combined Christmas dinner!
Christmas does bring people together and it really made me think about the bigger forces. I was looked after. I felt loved and it was amazing. I had the nicest Polish soup, which is very good when you have a hangover apparently. I had artichokes with anchovies and mayo, a typical Spanish dish and also the nicest homemade ravioli with some special American dishes.
When I woke up on the 25th in my flat on my own I had a present waiting for me, which brought only happy tears this time. I actually had a present to open! One tiny wrapped perfect present. I have many friends and I know I am the luckiest person ever. This present was from one particular friend who I call my butterfly girl. Why butterfly? Simply, because she loves butterflies simply but also because you cannot compare her to anyone else. Her butterfly collection is amazing. She showed me Tropical wings and since we have known each other we always buy each other something to do with a butterfly. She is full of kindness, she is smiling constantly and without doubt she can always cheer you up. Now she lives in Australia (because fairy tales still exist – another post one day) but still she sends Christmas and birthday presents every year and here I was with her beautiful present. So I wasn’t without present after all….. And on the 27th I was loved and spoiled by my friends and family. And this Christmas turned out to be a very special one, one I will never forget…
(Author: An, edited by my lovely friend Sarah)
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