Colette Sheridan: Christmas alone was a cracker but New Year's Eve is pressure...

Colette Sheridan got through Christmas Day relatively smoothly, alone, with no blubbering...
Colette Sheridan: Christmas alone was a cracker but New Year's Eve is pressure...

LONELY THIS CHRISTMAS? Many spent it alone because of Covid, but Colette Sheridan enjoyed going solo. Picture posed by model

IF you’re ever stuck for somewhere to spend Christmas Day, simply declare that you’ve chosen to spend it alone — and the invitations will come rolling in.

Nobody believes that you might actually be totally cool with your own company for the one day in the year when goodwill is supposed to supersede pettiness and the family row is to be avoided at all costs.

Call me anti-social, but I got through the day remarkably smoothly, with no blubbering into my fizzy water and no self-pity, at all, at all.

But my friends and family thought I was in for a miserable old time, hence the invitations to join them.

I could have gone to any one of five households. But being Covid-paranoid, I decided to have a solitary Christmas Day. I cheated a little, however, spending an hour from midday in the garden of my brother and his family where they had laid a table with lovely canapés and drinks. We had the socially distanced chats outdoors. It was grand, setting me up for the day.

However, the brother that lives in Dublin said I was heaping guilt on him, by going solo. Sorry bro’, but that was never my intention. It was all about choice. And Covid-awareness.

Some probably said ‘to hell with the pandemic’, but it would be cruel to contract it on Christmas Day with one’s guard down.

I’d love to say I went for a bracing walk on the Big Day but in reality, I sat and read — and ate rather a lot. 

The book that is getting me through Christmas is The Weight Of Love by Irish writer, Hilary Fannin. It’s everything a novel should be; perceptive, emotionally honest and well written. Dealing with tricky relationships, both romantic and familial, I’ll be bereft when I finish it.

The Young Offenders Christmas Special was the only thing I watched on telly. This pure Cork series gets sillier and sillier every time I watch it. But I love it.

For the Christmas day offering, Conor’s put-upon mother had pneumonia and what appeared to be her dying wish was to witness a white Christmas. This was the quest that the two lads, Conor and Jock, had to fulfil.

For the first time in my life, I had Christmas dinner toute seule. 

And no brussel sprouts contaminated the plate. (I hate ’em. No amount of toasted almonds and bits of bacon can improve the indelicate taste of this festive vegetable.)

My sister, the domestic goddess, gave me tasty moist stuffing and ham to which I added roast potatoes, green beans and cranberry sauce for The Dinner. (She gave me slices of turkey on Stephen’s Day as well as Christmas pudding.)

My Christmas dinner was modest but enjoyable. I didn’t feel overly full which left room for a generous carton of Haagen Dazs. (My sister said I was ‘a hound’ for eating the whole thing. But I am powerless in the presence of ice cream.)

Spending Christmas home alone was a bit of a theme this year, being the tumultuous year that it has been. A Guardian U.S columnist, Jessa Crispin, offered a few tips on getting through the day, being an old hand at Christmas on her own. She hasn’t gone home for Christmas in more than 20 years “for reasons that are complicated and yet completely boring”.

Her annual ritual involves eating a whole tray of devilled eggs and going to the one bar she knows will be open “and filled with my fellow lowlifes”. There, she slowly drinks the day away “listening to lonely stories and Elvis on the jukebox”.

But the bar wasn’t open this year. “Either way, 2020 is when the lonely and the rejected finally have the upper hand on Christmas cheer.”

So what are this loner’s yuletide tips?

Jessa says indulging in a bit of sentimentality is inevitable. But limit it to watching just one holiday movie. She alternates between It’s A Wonderful Life and Meet Me In St Louis.

Jessa also recommends listening to two “holiday records” and spending “exactly 20 minutes in a state of unrestrained sobbing. Then take a quick shower, shake it off, maybe watch some Star Trek.”

Between the devilled eggs and the sobbing, I wouldn’t want to spend Christmas with Jessa. But each to their own.

When everyone else was nursing a sore head on Stephen’s Day, I went into town, ostensibly for the walk but really for the sales.

I bought a dress in Brown Thomas for half price. Joy!

Now, I just have to get over New Year’s Eve, another occasion loaded with significance and full of pressure to spend it at parties. Let there be no parties. Just lots of vaccinations for 2021. Happy New Year to all!

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