Before we start, I appreciate some of you will be cross at the site of the C word this early in September – I’m with you on that… the thought of getting that box of those shiny things and those lights out after a sunny day out on the beach yesterday would pain me too. But that’s not what this article is about. This is about how to cope on Christmas Day when you don’t have the kids.
First thing first is to work out what is actually happening; let’s assume that you and your ex have an amicable relationship now and that you decide between you the arrangements for having the children over Christmas, or maybe you have an alternating years routine – and it’s not your turn this year.
So is it a turkey dinner for one, or are there other options?
This is going to be my first year of separation. The first time since we had the kids that me and my ex will be apart. I’m under no false impressions, it’s going to be tough – so the questions are, how will you cope, how should you cope, and what can you do to distract yourself?
Firstly, decide if you want to partake in Christmas festivities, or if perhaps you’d like a complete change – to get away from it all? If this is the case then why not look for a short break abroad? It’s time to get out the bucket travel list of places you’ve always wanted to visit, narrow it down to those suitable for a December sojourn. For ideas, have a look at Traveller & Tourist Magazine.
Another option is to spend the time with friends. Most close friends would be pleased to share their Christmas day with you, if only to offer a change in routine for their own day. Plus you may possibly have the advantage of being the guest of honour for the day – a chair reserved for you, drinks, food, and good conversation on tap and all you need to do is muck in with occupying the children… the fun uncle role as well! (all activity, no responsibility). Just be careful you don’t end up as the only single person at a all-couples ‘friend’s Christmas’, because when it comes to present time, you may find yourself volunteering to wash-up, just to avoid the ‘just-a-little-something-extra’ gifts and the doe-eyed gratitude.
Charity begins at home. Or rather, it doesn’t as you could organise to spend the Christmas break supporting a charity – maybe working in a hospice, or cooking/serving at a food bank/soup kitchen? This is a good way to take on a completely different challenge, something you may never have the open opportunity to throw yourself completely at, and to earn a little good karma in the process.
And then there is the other alternative. You know, that one. Yup… return to the motherland. Back to the parents for Christmas after more than 10 years of toughing out the world on your own. With John Denver’s Country Roads as your earworm for the trip, and lots of love and sympathy, this could or could not be your ideal way to spend Christmas Day.
Or maybe you fancy a day at home, a stack of DVDs to work through and a home-cooked steak and chips? Whatever you decide, remember it’s just another day… Happy C.