The joy of being alone at Christmas: MARION McGILVARY reveals her festive plans after becoming less keen on family reunions

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  • Marion McGilvery has become less eager for a Christmas family reunion over the years
  • The 63-year-old British writer will spend this year alone with her cats
  • It turns out that she will boycott all festivities and will not even give proper gifts.

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Bah Humbug – As far as I’m concerned, this year you can stuff the business end of the turkey into Christmas and top it with a big dollop of curdled nostalgia.

After decades of being the Christmas elf — diving into the season for the first time with all the weight of a sumo wrestler, family shack including ex-husband, plus random lost sheep, with my siblings, dogs, and moms to come — I’m finally Throwing in a tea towel and abstaining.

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Why? Because I’m 63 and for the first time in my life, I’m going to be on my own this year. Which means I can either sink into self-pity or rejoice at the thought of the object refusing to enter the soul. And I choose the latter.

While I am sitting here, my home is completely absent from all the elements of the celebration.

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63-year-old Marion McGilvery (pictured) reveals why she would boycott all festivities and spend this Christmas alone with her cats

In bygone years, I’d still pop out of the attic—trees, lights, carefully collected decorations from every city I’ve ever seen, bunches of evergreens tied with ribbons on stairs, homemade to hang on doors. Wreath. I have always loved the prequels as much as the day.

Last year, I went for the neighborhood kids’ Christmas trail to fill the picture window with fake snow, twigs, birds, and fairy lights.

But this year, I haven’t done anything like that. Maybe I’ll shed some light on the Swiss Cheese Plant. Or else, maybe I won’t.

Family unions always feel great, but in practice they can be stressful and demanding, especially if you’re a single parent and don’t have a partner to support you in inevitable fights.

When my kids were little I used to joke that family is not a democracy, it is a dictatorship and I was Stalin though a Stalin who cooked, cleaned, washed and slept on the floor next to you when you were sick.

But those days are long gone. I have four kids, aged between 25 and 35, and this year – for the first time – they all have other places.

One leaves for a romantic rendezvous with a ‘friend’, another to his partner’s family in Scotland, and the third to his grown-up home with his wife and newborn son.

It is still possible that the Fourth will invite me to his house, but to be honest, I look forward to my single Christmas, I will think at least twice about accepting.

Marion (pictured) asked for women of a certain age, what seems like the last taboo to try her hardest when anti-family reunions

Marion (pictured) asked for women of a certain age, what seems like the last taboo to try her hardest when anti-family reunions

My own partner, meanwhile, would go to see his family, as he does every year. Which means I’ll be alone with the cats. However, he has not even given an invitation yet.

Over the years, despite my utterly festive spirit, I’ve become progressively less eager for Christmas family reunions. All mothers of grown children will recognize the loss.

The four of me form their own little gang and turn back into rebellious teenagers.

They turn up their noses at food, raid the fridge and cook for you tomorrow, occupying couches and remote controls. They enjoy a lot of jokes of which I seem to butt.

Plus I find it increasingly worn to preview my speech in my head before I even open my mouth, lest I wake up to something insufficient. This is the rule of the mob.

But still I have always done it. The truth is, I’ve tried my best and yet it has often been an anti-climax. Saying so to women of a certain age seems like the ultimate taboo. I wake up at 4 a.m. to bake an entire Christmas village of chocolate cake houses, decorated with Smarties and glitter icing, and then noticed that no one ate them. We’ve all waited for the last child to arrive with food in the oven, only to receive a text in the evening that he was living somewhere else.

Marion (pictured) said she's fed up with cooking and getting the timing wrong, or ordering it all from a pre-made shop cook

Marion (pictured) said she’s fed up with cooking and getting the timing wrong, or ordering it all from a pre-made shop cook

I’ve invited Austrian neighbors over for drinks ‘at Christmas’, only to find them at the door in fabulous dress on Christmas Eve – the main day of celebration in Austria – when we were all in our pajamas.

I dutifully shopped and provisioned and wrapped and made the house bright and warm. One time, yes, I got the flu and couldn’t get out of bed, but the kids came around anyway. (He ordered pizza and left none for me.) However, in retrospect, being able to avoid it all was more of a win than I thought.

Last year was to be the jewel in the Christmas crown. My dear daughter-in-law decided to host, and the whole family was on her way to and my younger son’s house that day. I was 62 and someone was inviting me over for Christmas! Glee

And then everything got canceled because of covid. At the last minute, I had to quickly rustle in food and wine for the duration of the holiday for my partner and eldest daughter, who were both in my bubble as we were under house arrest, with others currently-opening by Zoom. Was doing. We had quite a good time, but it was all a little flat and brief.

The truth is, I’m tired of all this. Food in particular – All middle-aged women know how troublesome food is.

I’m fed up with cooking and getting the timing wrong, or ordering all this pre-made from a shop cook and then the freezer is cracking and doesn’t taste right after defrosting.

Marion (pictured) said her Yuletide cheer would probably be back next year, but for now she's boycotting everything and not even giving appropriate gifts

Marion (pictured) said her Yuletide cheer would probably be back next year, but for now she’s boycotting everything and not even giving appropriate gifts

I’ve had enough to do a vegetarian dish and a turkey that no one likes, or not to do a turkey and everyone is wondering why we’re eating…

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