Depending on your circumstances, Christmas Day can be a nightmare. It is up there with Valentine’s Day if you are unhappily single, and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day if your children aren’t speaking to you. You can’t pretend it is just another day and simply get on with your life. Everyone and everything is telling you it’s Christmas Day. Even the Queen gets in on the act. There are few worse days to be on your own. It happened to me 14 years ago.
Newly divorced and with a lovely new flat in a new city, I stood at my picture window and watched a family – grandparents, mother, daughter and dog – going for a bracing post-lunch walk. Seeing them striding out, with an ecstatic dog and a young daughter in new gloves and coat rushing ahead, I remember thinking, “I’m like you. I’m sure if you met me, we’d get on.” But I knew I couldn’t nip down, introduce myself and say, “I’m all alone on Christmas Day. Can I walk with you?” They would have called the little girl over and put her safely between the mother and grandmother until the strange, sad man went on his way.