Our top alternative lifestyle columnist ontapping into the Christmas spirit
Our top alternative lifestyle columnist on tapping into the Christmas spirit
More and more people, particularly women, are now living alone. The figures are increasing all the time as the divorced baby boomers as well as career-minded younger women choose to live a more independent life while others simply find that life’s journey has unexpectedly taken them in that direction.
It certainly wasn’t my intention to be living on my own in my sixties but divorce, my children grown and a number of moves have left me living a very different life than I had planned when in my twenties.
I am certainly not complaining as I enjoy my space and am not short of friends and family in my life. And although for some women, living alone is devastating, with 20 per cent of British adults now living by themselves, the good news is that no-one is alone in being alone.
And yet there can be no worse time for feeling lonely than the holiday season and particularly Christmas when traditionally we are conditioned to being with our loved ones eating a big festive lunch, giving presents and enjoying each other’s company.
This year I will be in my home in Mallorca while unusually my children and grandchildren will beat their homes in England. We will have an early chanukah/Christmas lunch before I go which will be a wonderful opportunity to enjoy each other and for me to be with my four little grandchildren.But most unusually I will be waking to my own company with my trusted animal companions this coming Christmas morning unless I decided to send out some last-minute invites.
I occasionally contemplate the idea of spending the holidays on solitary walks and meditation without the overeating and overspending that the season inevitably brings. Infact one of my young friends said spending the holiday season at a Buddhist retreat was one of the best Christmases he’d ever had.
And one of the first Christmases after my divorce, when my children were with their father, I went on holiday by myself to a beautiful tropicalisland and although I ended up typically bumpinginto loads of people I knew, I did choose tospend some time alone meditating and dancingon the deck of the house I rented above theocean feeling sad and joyful in waves.
But I must admit I am a sucker for theChristmas holidays with all the trappings and thisyear will be doing my share of entertaining as wellas being entertained with my close friends wholive in my village community of Deia.
“The good news is that no-one is alone in being alone”
I truly believe that none of us have to be on our own over Christmas. If you are happy to be the one who entertains, why not think of all the single folk you know and invite them over? Everyone can bring a dish and help with the washing-up.
Volunteering at the local homeless shelter or care home over Christmas is without doubt going to bring as much pleasure and joy to the helpers as it does to the recipients. I don’t want to imply that it is what I will be doing but as I am writing this column, I am wondering if there is a women’s refuge centre on my island that would benefit from some lovely food and gifts for the children.
At my local village church, the whole community comes out for Midnight Mass, whatever their belief system, followed by carols over a big outdoor fire in the village square. In fact there are wonderful excuses for community get-togethers throughout the whole period for those with the stamina to get to all of them.
And if you don’t live in a friendly little village and you are going to be on your own, take your choice on how you want to spend the holidays.Unlike many less fortunate in the world, you are lucky enough to have the freedom to decide how you spend your Christmas – enjoy!
Embracing an alternative Christmas
If you have some spare time on your own this Christmas, take a quiet moment and decide if the Christmas holidays are a quiet time for reflection and contemplation, with wonderful walks in nature; an opportunity to get to know your neighbours, particularly the elderly and invite them into your home or a time to volunteer to help out at one of the many homes or centres for those a lot less fortunate than yourselves.
And if you are surrounded by your family and friends, you still might want to take sometime out and enjoy some alternative ways to spend the holidays which may well give you more joy than eating too much and just collapsing onto the sofa watching the Christmas re-runs.
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