Sunday, 8 December 2013

Reservations For One



As I nursed the hot chocolate he had placed in front of me, and after we had talked about the small random things, generally just to get them out of the way before we talked about the real things we wanted to talk about. Questions like 'How is work? How is your Mother? How are the family', followed by empty sentiments like 'Tell them I said hi' or even worse making plans to see them, that will never be followed through. He has something more important to tell me, to share with me and to get my opinion on. 

'I went to the cinema on my own' my friend Ben exclaims as if he has just told me a dark secret. I am half expecting at any moment for him to look around to make sure we aren't being watched and then sliding an envelope over to my side of the table, which will contain further instructions and a map. 

I am proud of this development of his, there has been many times when I have recommended he try certain things and challenge himself. There are certain things I have no aversion to and doing things normally regarding as social activities, all by myself. I have often gone to see movies without the accompaniment of a friend and I have and prefer eating alone in restaurants. I love to read and eat at the same time, so it works out perfectly for me. A couple of years ago, I set myself a challenge to go out alone, and I chickened out more than once, it took the intervention of a friend to finally force me to answer that challenge, when I was invited out and then abandoned within a few minutes, followed by an encouraging text message - telling me I could do it. It was a perfectly fine evening and although I got talking to many different people, it didn't feel right. Going out, drinking and socialising is just something that I enjoy doing more with friends. But before then, I never would have walked into a club or a bar without knowing there was someone in there I already knew, now I can easily relax in a bar with a drink and wait for friends without feeling self conscious. 

So I was proud of my friend Ben, who is socially introverted and relies on the company he keeps to partake in social activities. It was this conversation that got me thinking about how I should spend Christmas this year. Possibly alone. 

The simple truth is, I would like to spend Christmas this year with the people I love, my Mother and my siblings. However I can't get enough time off work to make it home this year, with just two days off for the Christmas period. My brother is also away this year, his working keeping him in New Zealand for the foreseeable future and being so far away at such a special time, I know he is feeling very homesick. We have made plans to Skype each other on Christmas day, and depending on if he has any plans with his friends or not, I have suggested that I cook something and put in the microwave, and when he is ready to eat, we can eat together over Skype and open the presents we sent each other. 

That still leaves me with the day time, to fill and make plans for. I have been welcomed around to several different places for Christmas day and I know these offers have been made with sincere intentions. But I don't want to intrude on anyones day and I also don't want to feel awkward being around people I don't know that well. Christmas traditions can be special and private and to be honest, the whole thing seems like too much pressure.  My roommate has suggested that we cook in our flat and have some drinks, should he decide to stay in the city for the Christmas period, something which I am more open to doing. 

But I have also given consideration to what I would do, if I was to spend my first Christmas alone. What kind of humor would it put me in. In my head, I am watching Christmas movies on my couch, eating too much and feeling very much relaxed. But if I was to make that commitment to myself, could I do it? Last year, I had a perfect Christmas, spent the day with my family, evening with friends and then I spent the night alone, watching movies and dozing on the couch and I very much liked spending the time by myself. But I had the right mix of company and me time. 

Can I do it? Spend Christmas alone. I guess we will see.


10 comments:

The Huntress said...

I had to do this a few years back when I was sick. Christmas alone is weird, but once you get to the end of the day you realize that's all it really is. It's just another day.

Jay M. said...

I've spent a few alone, and honestly, it wasn't a lot of fun. Christmas in my family was always a big deal - visiting grandparents, all the aunts and uncles and cousins there - the whole shebang. So spending them alone was not great.

I get what you mean about spending your first alone, but are you really alone when you can Skype with your brother, talk to your mom and others, eat "together"? I sure get what you mean by not wanting to intrude, or sit around while everyone else "christmases".

Plan a movie marathon, maybe find a soup kitchen to help serve dinner, or sleep late, then enjoy the time reading or whatever. I think there's a difference between being alone and being lonely. If the former is what you'll be, I think you can alleviate the possibilities of the latter.

Peace <3
Jay

Mind Of Mine said...

The eating together will happen with my brother, who is in New Zealand, so will happen 2AM Xmas morning and will happen over Skype. Everyone calls relatives on Christmas morning.

You can't just show up at a Soup Kitchen over here, you have to be criminally checked and cleared. But there will be movies and reading.

The point of trying it alone, if if I will feel lonely or not.

RB said...

For the last ten years I have spent every other Christmas alone. My kids go with their mom, and I have to wait until they come back on the 27th, and then we travel to visit family. It's not so bad. I get a few movies I've been wanting to see. Some snacks. I relax for the day....unusual to be so unplugged and turned off for the day. It's not so bad. Made easier because I know I'll see family in a few days.

Queer Heaven said...

Wonderful post today I will be spending Christmas day without my family this for the first time in a long time so I know it will be really strange,but I'm sure at least on of my buddies will make me happy later in the evening

Jeffrey Rich said...

eleven years ago I spent Christmas alone. I was house-sitting for friends on sabbatical in Ireland, my folks were in Europe on a sabbatical of their own, and my brother and his partner were visiting partner's family.

I had the time of my life! I cooked, watched movies, soaked in the hot tub, drank a glass or two of wine, and just did what I wanted to do for once. Best holiday *ever*.

naturgesetz said...

I've never minded dining alone, at home or in a restaurant (and I have my book to read between courses at the restaurant or while eating at home); and I'm fine with going to plays and concerts by myself.

But I've never spent Christmas alone, so I'm not sure how it would feel. To me, Christmas is primarily a religious event, even though the family gathering tends to take up the most time and command the most attention. Without a family dinner or gift-giving, it might feel a little odd, but I don't think I'd want to get movies or watch TV nonstop. I'd probs call rellies and listen to Christmas music on the radio and post stuff on the internet. I think I'd also give myself a fancy meal (go to a restaurant?). So I think I'd be okay.

rjjs8878 said...

People generally don’t extend invitations to people they don’t want to be around. The holidays are about giving and sharing. Opening one’s home is a kind act of sharing. Consider accepting one of the invitations.
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Zippi Kit said...

This is a great post!

I hope you will accept one of the invitations for the big day. Take a bottle of red, and go make a family happy by sharing the holiday with them. It's also lovely about skype with your bro, no matter what the timing.

For the first time in a decade, some of our kids will be here for Christmas Day. I'm thrilled!

Soul Yaoi said...

Spent this one alone. I feel you. It was ok. :)