How I’m spending Christmas this year (Hilary’s story)

For many years I volunteered on Christmas Day then spent some time with my elderly Mother. Once my Mother died I was able to spend Christmas entirely on my own and I loved it: a walk on the beach and a lovely veggie curry for Christmas dinner.

Last year I spent the whole of Christmas at the Buddhist Centre and that was lovely in its own way.


For many years I have said I would go somewhere warm for the winter when I could. Last year I tried it out for a month and loved it, so this year I decided to fly out before Christmas and spend three months in the sun. I will be on my own in an apartment on the Algarve, Portugal. I don’t know anyone there – I’ll be there for my birthday too.

I’m really looking forward to my walk on the beach in shorts and a sun top. Not knowing anyone means there won’t be any pressure to go and join in with someone else’s – I will just be able to relax and do whatever I want all day. I feel positive and I know that my trip will be a success. It doesn’t affect anyone else. My biggest worry is getting the food in as I am self-catering and the nearest supermarket is quite a long way from the apartment!

You don’t have to fit in with other people or meet others’ expectations at Christmas.

Focus on all the things you are going to do – for example, eating all the food you love and drinking your favourite wine, etc. Buy yourself something you would really like for Christmas and wrap it up if you want something to unwrap. A friend used to buy herself presents all year and wrap them and by Christmas she had forgotten what she had bought and got some lovely surprise presents.

Hilary, 63, Yorkshire, England

Part of a series of stories about Christmas shared by followers of our Facebook page We’re so grateful to everyone who took the time to contribute.

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