Whenever we see any kind of advertising for Christmas it’s usually all about big family gatherings, lots of people having fun together and a table full with loved ones. Sometimes, however, we might find ourselves without a big crowd. Families might be far away and friends are spending the day with their own family. This is where these festive days can potentially become a little tough. After all, there’s a general expectation that Christmas is the time for the whole family to be together, for children to unwrap gifts and for everybody to be merry together. And it can be hard to shake these preconceptions and expectations. It can even be upsetting if it happens unexpected…
Some of us might be spending Christmas ‘a deux’ out of necessity, others out of choice. Some of us rejoice at the prospect of spending a quiet Christmas whilst others might dread it and be saddened by it. Either way, there’s only one way to handle it: making the most of it and making it as cosy and romantic as possible.
If you have the option of disappearing to a quiet cottage somewhere in the countryside, then I would say ‘go for it’. Escaping home for the festive season makes spending it with one other person feel like a real treat and can be more romantic than staying home where we might actually be reminded of what’s (or who) is missing more. Things you should be stocking up on are: woolly socks, jumpers and blankets, comfy PJs, hot chocolate, wine, your favourite Christmas food (isn’t it great not to have to care that Aunty Betty doesn’t like roast potatoes the way you make them?), candles, CDs with your favourite music, books, decorations…and whatever else makes you happy.
Next, let go of any notion of having to do things a certain way. This is your chance to chill out, cosy up and do exactly what you want. No cooking to a timetable or incorporating dietary requirements for several people. Instead, settle down, wrap yourselves in woolly blankets, play board games you’d forgotten existed, watch classic Hollywood movies, drink mulled wine and forget any schedules. If you feel like it, go for a walk or visit a midnight mass on Christmas eve – both things somehow seem more enjoyable with less people.
Food is obviously an important subject at Christmas and often the source of a lot of stress. So many mouths to feed, so many people to please. Well, with just two, life’s suddenly become a lot easier and more relaxed. Whilst you can of course go all out with a big and elegant dinner, it’s also absolutely acceptable to do something a little more low-key. There’s obviously no point in roasting a whole turkey for two, so you’re free to choose something you actually really like (though I’m not saying people don’t like turkey) and that is more suitable for a small Christmas. Duck, for example, is very nice and can be roasted in really inventive and festive ways.
I know some people will embrace a downscaled Christmas and others will find it hard. The main thing though is to remember that even if we’re celebrating with only one other person, as long as it’s a person we love and who loves us, we’re still pretty lucky, wouldn’t you say?