I was going to attempt a Christmas without family in 2012 but 'failed' due to being with my brother in Canada, however this year I succeeded! Now, I thought that it would be quite an emotional day, none of the traditions, bbqs, Mum's pavlova, delicious New Zealand berries with cream, no family, gifts or yes stress.
Taking the time to strip back Christmas day and see what it is really about, has made me question if we do have it all wrong, for starters in Australia alone they were estimating nearly $8 billion would be spent on Christmas... Imagine if even half of that was donated to charities and the good that it could do! Last year it was reported that one in three gifts would be returned, does this show that we really don't know those we are giving gifts too and therefore just doing it for the sake of it? So this year... I did no gifts, although treated myself to an Aeropress and delicious ground coffee beans.
It is a good question to ask, and yes giving is great but having spent a day whereby we relaxed, exercised, swam, ate healthy and read, this to me made the day perfect. Talking to family via the various mediums so still feeling connected, and this I know is normal for so many families especially as we travel and live across the globe.
What has an orphans Christmas or Christmas without family taught me... Well, I never thought it would ever happen, having gone now for 38 years and this time of the year has always involved, immediate and extended family, friends, camping, fun times and stress, eating way too much and afternoon sleeps, games of cricket and memories being created.
It is not as bad as I thought it would be, the world did not end, there were no tears (likely as it felt more natural, than being the single one around all the families), all in all it was a very stable and happy day. Being the single one around families at Christmas can be tough, you give more than you receive, all the normal and awkward questions get asked and no I don't have the answer to them yet... and I think it also means I have more empathy for those around who don't have family locally.
As the family units continue to change, we have to learn to live with choosing where to do Christmas, or Christmas via FaceTime, but this is life and we need to make our own memories, traditions and be aware of those around us that we can include at these times.
However you celebrated Christmas in 2016 I hope it was a blessed day and full of memories.