Why Christmas isn’t so great for some.

I struggle with Christmas and here’s why. I brought my kids up as a single parent; for whatever reasons their dads were not involved in their lives at all. The run up to Christmas was always a bit stressful, but I liked making sure that the kids had everything they wanted and they were always really grateful.

On Christmas Eve I would wait until they were asleep and creep into the living room as quietly as I could, lay out their stockings and take a bite out of the mince pie and carrot. Then I would go to bed proud that I had done what I could to make them happy.

But there was always something missing. I always wished that I had someone to share both the responsibility and the excitement, and that felt quite lonely. The days of creeping with stockings are over now, and my children have very different lives. I’ll see one of them briefly over Christmas and the other in the New Year, and that’s fine; I’m proud that I gave them the ambition to fly. I will spend the day at my parents who are utterly brilliant and make sure Christmas is great every year.

People have come and gone, but for various reasons few shared Christmas. So I have always had a little hope that one day I will have that shared Christmas morning experience. That I can wake up with someone ready to enjoy a day together. I don’t ever want sympathy, that is just how my life has panned out, but I always hope that people understand that for some Christmas is difficult. It’s a reminder of what you haven’t got as much as what you have got. It’s a reminder that life is a bit different for you.

Everyone’s houses look lovely and I like seeing people happy and the world a bit glittery, especially when the world at large seems to be caving in. But it is always tinged with a slight feeling of failure, a failure to have someone to share it all with. I always have hope that next year will be different, that next year I will be somewhere else or doing something else. I always have hope, just that when I hit December every year, the hope has been knocked a bit. But I guess we are in charge of our own destiny.

I’m not writing this for sympathy or attention, just because there are people out there who are going through the same sorts of things I did and am now. I just want you to know that you are not alone…you are never alone. I’ll metaphorically stroke your hand and give you a knowing nod. And if you are a single parent on their own right now, I massively salute you. You will do it, like you do every day of your life, because you are amazing.

Sarah Millican does the amazing #joinin at Christmas on Twitter. It really is worth dipping into. It’s funny and hopeful and just kind. If you are struggling at Christmas really do give it a look. Or talk to me, I’ll be about at the end of a screen…I always am.

5 comments

  1. hughogilvie1 · December 15, 2019

    Dear Becky,Thank you for this. I am feeling like a failure this Christmas because I don’t seem to be able to encourage my son to go to school every day, attend all his lessons, do any homework, revise and then attend his mock exams over the last two weeks. I feel like I have failed. My wife feels the same ; so this Christmas, especially, is tinged with sadness.You are a role model for the whole world. Your calm approach has clearly paid rich dividends in respect of your own children.The fact that you don’t have another person to share the holidays with saddens me. During the last 12 months, my wife has been my sounding board and listener. I want you to find happiness as much as you bring happiness to me and countless others on Twitter and in your classroom. Thank you for being a virtual friend so far but, actually, making it real through the sheer force of your vibrant personality.Hugh. XxxSent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

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    • Becky · December 15, 2019

      Oh Hugh, you’re not a failure at all. I always think with students they have to want it themselves, it’s like everything really, you won’t succeed in anything unless you want to. Sometimes it takes time, it might be that this time he won’t succeed, but a few years later when he is ready and wanting it, he will. My children aren’t perfect, a couple of times my daughter in particular has done things that has made me cry, but I know that she is inherently a good person and we all make mistakes. Sometimes we need time and patience to deal with things, and then we move on. It never means you have failed, what is a failure is not to learn from our experiences. It’s ok, I might not be destined to ever be with anyone properly, and that’s ok. It will make me sad, but perhaps for me it’s just the way things will be. But I will surround myself with friends, I have family and I will always want to meet and talk to new people. The one thing I have is a need to love and share life in whatever form that takes. You are very lovely, I’m just me, but refuse to be anything other than me…and I will always be there for anyone else, because that is what soothes me and makes me feel content. Becky xxx

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      • hughogilvie1 · December 15, 2019

        Thank you. Your words help, even when I feel a bit numbed by despair.
        Thank you for being a light in the sometimes near darkness and for being a companion voice for hip hop on Twitter! Xx

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  2. Catherine · December 15, 2019

    Becky…your words (as always) are beautiful! Thank you for the timely reminder. I always feel a bit miserable at this time of year as during my childhood I didn’t celebrate Christmas, and so feel very conflicted. I also feel there is the ‘ideal’ Christmas put out there the no-one actually achieves…yet we all think others do!

    You are a total inspiration (and I’m sure not just to me!) xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Alicia J · December 15, 2019

    Dear Becky,
    I wasn’t sure if you had received my comment on Twitter, as I can imagine you had an influx of messages in response to your article.
    I just wanted to thank you for bringing awareness for the single parent Christmases and the inherent loneliness sometimes represented in this season.
    My Mum has pretty much been in this position since we were teenagers and so I’ve sent your article through to her to make the season a little less isolating for her, as this season is a reminder that we are here for Christmas, but that it is a flying visit.

    Your frankness is astounding and admirable.
    Thank you again for producing this and please keep promoting this openness of feelings people like my Mum really relate.
    Kind Regards,
    Alicia

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