You would think I’d be an expert on how to survive Christmas when you’re divorced by now.

But I’m not.

Because each year comes with different complications and issues.

Tolstoy’s famous quote about families springs to mind and can relate to holidays as well as in all happy holidays are alike; but every unhappy holiday is unhappy in it’s own way” and it’s so hard to get away from the stereotype of what Christmas should be. All the adverts, all the f’g cheer.

We agreed a long time ago that both of us would see the children on Christmas Day, because not having them is truly the worst part of being separated and I haven’t yet been brave enough to take myself away and pretend being without them is OK. It’s not OK. This year, I have the children for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning (hungover). I will no doubt have to wake them up just in time for them to say “HAPPY CHRISTMAS” and open a few presents before they drive off to their father’s for the rest of the day and night. My mother is always with me and often we will then go to one of my brothers or to friends, but this year, because my mother has spent a quarter of the year in hospital and can’t walk very well, we are not going anywhere. So our Christmas meal will consist of two of us. That somehow doesn’t seem enough. But at least it’s two, not one.

Also, I have definitely peaked too early. After a work trip last week to New York and a friend from Australia to play with, we have done lots of fun things already and I was feeling quite festive.

America does their “Happy Holidays” with full on enthusiasm….must be exhausting as it starts straight after Thanksgiving. This is the Rockerfeller Tree, newly switched on:-

Baubles at The Petersham:-

A rainbow tunnel cheered me up on my way back from my mother’s last week:-

Attending the turning on of the Christmas lights in NYC:-

Now I’m home to a Christmas flower on my plant that makes me happy:-

Don’t forget the splendid London lights – these are in South Molton Street:-

I bought this tacky little sparkly Christmas tree that glows, changes colour and has glitter in it in FAO Schwartz. Very pleased I did, despite nearly losing it through customs – this too makes me happy:-

BUT, after all that, now, my daughter is really unwell with flu and I can’t muster up any enthusiasm to get a tree or decorate the house and I’m feeling well…flat.

Flat.

Not helped by my wandering around singing “Single Bells, Single Bells, Single All The Way” in manner of slightly mad cat lady.

Single is not good at Christmas. Lack of children is not good at Christmas. Unwell mother is not good at Christmas. Unwell mother who desperately misses my father (as do I) is even worse. Lack of siblings is not good at Christmas. My friends keep suggesting I come to them or go to the pub with my mother but this year, I think it’s better if we hunker down and accept the peace and quiet. We will just have a small, relevant party for two. Get a few nice bottles of fizz in and make the lunch very easy to cook so that I can then be positive about not having to cook for millions.

So. We have a plan. Just a small plan. But that’s fine. I will try not to be miserable when my children leave and will look forward to seeing them the next day (even more hungover and full).

But hey, who doesn’t have a bit of Christmas misery to deal with? I just keep thinking of Grace’s family this Christmas, the 22 year old girl who was murdered in New Zealand. What a horrendous time they are going to have without her. The same applies to many other people going through trauma and discomfort for various reasons.

I’ll be back next week with a more cheerful post hopefully!

Off to look for some Christmas spirit.

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