Simon experiences his first solo living birthday and talks about celebrating solo. How will he create good times around important events like birthdays and Christmas while living alone?
It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago. Truth be told, I’ve never been a huge birthday person. Sure, it’s great when you’re a kid and have a job lot of presents to open, but I was never comfortable with parties and being the centre of attention. As I got older and naturally, as the present piles got smaller, I began to lose interest in the event.
Ever since I reached about twenty-five years of age, I’ve largely ignored my birthday. I might still receive a few cards and a couple of presents, but generally speaking, I try not to mark the day. That’s not because I’m miserable or a curmudgeon; it’s just a small aspect of life that I don’t really embrace.
So when the occasion came around, and I experienced my first solo living birthday, it was no big deal to me. I went for lunch with my mum, opened a couple of presents, had a long stroll and did some work. For most intents and purposes, it was just another day and entirely unworthy of a blog article.
Christmas alone, on the other hand, was an entirely different experience. My first Christmas living alone was an odd day and one that I was largely unprepared for…
My perfect Christmas
I really enjoy a traditional Christmas, but a traditional Christmas for me doesn’t involve any carols or church services. It doesn’t involve listening to Cliff Richard or The Pogues, wearing a silly jumper and a paper hat. It doesn’t even need turkey or the Queen’s, now King’s speech.
For me, a traditional Christmas involves eating and drinking far too much, far too early in the day and falling asleep in the afternoon while feeling extremely content with life. It involves spending time with loved ones while putting the day-to-day stress of life to one side. And then going to bed feeling satisfied, relaxed and content. Most importantly of all, I love the present opening rituals and the fun of investigating your gifts. Do the clothes fit? Does this need a battery? You really shouldn’t have gone to any trouble!…
So when I went to bed on Christmas Eve last year, I was anxious about how the 25th of December would play out for me. As it turns out, my anxiety was well-founded. I had no presents to open or hand out on Christmas morning. I couldn’t even open the bottle of Bucks Fizz at 9 am because I had to drive later in the day, and I couldn’t spend the morning with loved ones.
I did spend Christmas dinner and a few hours with my family, but when I drove home in the early part of the evening, I returned to an empty house and an evening alone. I watched a movie, ate some leftovers and went to bed. It wasn’t the worst day ever (and there are plenty of people who have much worse Christmas Days), but it was a big departure from my usual traditional Christmas.
Finding my own Christmas tradition
I’ve made it my mission to find a better way of embracing Christmas while I live alone. Fortunately, this very website provides an excellent starting point, and although I don’t have the capacity to try out 101 ideas, I have resolved to try out a few:
- Decorate the house: My house was a decoration-free zone for Christmas 2022. But with a new house as my canvas (more on that here) – I will make the effort to put up a tree and a few other decorations. It might not win me any awards, but it will help to make me and my home feel more Christmassy.
- Treat myself: I’ll still have a few presents from friends and family members, but this year I’m going to make sure I treat myself to a good Christmas present, and I’ll try my best not to open it until December 25th. Please note: I may fail in that aim.
- Plan the day: If you’ve read my previous articles, you’ll know that I love planning. So this year, I am going to plan Christmas Day meticulously. I’ll plan when I’m going to open presents, when I will go out, to what movies I will watch. By writing down how I’ll spend the day, I will look forward to it much more.
- Indulge: Christmas 2022 was not a very indulgent one for me. I had Christmas dinner, but aside from that, I didn’t eat a great deal and only had one glass of wine. Some nice food will be in for the evening, plenty of my favourite snacks and a bottle of wine will definitely be on the agenda this year. After all, it is Christmas!
- Connect: Inevitably, I will be alone for chunks of Christmas Day, but I also have a few friends who will be in the same situation. Therefore, I’m going to arrange Zoom calls so we can all share a drink, a mince pie and a chat.
Will this be as good as my ‘traditional’ Christmas’? Who knows, but I’ll make sure I throw myself into it and try to make it as enjoyable as possible.
Celebrate your way
You may have your own solo living Christmas traditions already. But maybe you’re new to celebrating birthdays or Christmas alone, or perhaps you’ve spent a few celebratory occasions alone and are yet to find a way of embracing it. Whatever your situation, think about what would make you happy on your birthday or Christmas Day. You might not be able to tick all the boxes, but you should be able to think of suitable alternatives.
Of course, my idea of a traditional Christmas may be totally at odds with yours. But hopefully, the suggestions above will inspire you in some ways. The positive way of looking at it is that because you are living alone, you have somewhat free rein to celebrate your way. Okay, this might not be exactly what you want from the day, but you can create your own new traditions and find new ways of enjoying occasions. That is certainly what I shall be trying to do this Christmas.
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