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

For some years I have joined my youngest son, my daughter in law and grandchildren for Christmas. My daughter-in-law’s brother has room to hold Christmas dinner and all the family contribute by bringing food courses or sundries. This year the family dynamics have changed – I have been invited but have decided on an alternative Christmas.

This year, I’ll be spending two days in Edinburgh by myself. It’s only a 40 minute bus journey. I have invited my daughter to join me, but she has depression and anxiety and it is unlikely she will come. The invitation is open ended though.

I am excited. I planned ahead, got a hotel within walking distance of city centre at a good rate. I’ll go to the Christmas Market, shopping, a carol concert and midnight mass on Christmas Eve. It’s been years since I could go to midnight mass! Have a leisurely breakfast on Christmas morning followed by a walk up to Princes Street gardens. There is little or no traffic, none of the usual crowds. There are not many people at all in the centre of Edinburgh on Christmas day. You can stand at one end and look right down. Walk slowly and just enjoy the peace. There are places open for coffee as well as Indian and Chinese Restaurants that you do not have to book (although with a big breakfast I may wait until evening to eat…) There are several programs on television I want to watch as well.

Christmas dinner can be stressful – I have digestive problems and I eat what I can but people sometimes comment on how little I eat, or they try and offer alternatives which can add to the stress for both myself and others. I won’t have to worry about that this year.

My only concern is that my family might find this weird. People don’t think it is right if you are alone at Christmas. In reality it is only one day as Edinburgh will be busy on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.

If you’re also by yourself, think about what you would enjoy. You may want to ditch the usual Christmas menu and have something totally different. You may want to buy something special for breakfast, have a main course at lunch and a nice dessert or cheese and biscuits at tea time. Think about whether there any films you enjoy – you can borrow DVD’s from the library. Treat yourself – a nice bubble bath, biscuits etc. Go out for a walk. It does not have to be a long one.

Yvonne, 66, Dunfermline, Scotland

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