I blame all those bloody Christmas songs. Think of all the ones written about being on your own for the festive season. Okay, now try thinking of one that is not a mournful wrist slasher.

As I thought.

Right now I have no plans for Christmas and highly likely to be home alone on the 25th. Frankly it’s not keeping me awake at night and if anything Plan B, taking advantage of one day I don’t have to be somewhere else and attempting to claw back a tiny part of this year’s sleep debt, has a lot of appeal.

However, tell some people you’re planning a lone Yuletide and watch their eyes widen in horror;

”YOU CAN’T DO THAT!!!”

The following mix of horror and faux sympathy is akin to having admitted to contracting a rare, nasty tropical skin condition. Or even worse, being a UKIP supporter.

The assumption is that despite your protests that it’s all fine and that a solo Christmas is no big deal, you must be putting a brave face on it. Or a confirmed Christmas hater. Not true. At worse it’s an inconvenience; a day off work for sure, but the gym is shut and there is no popping out for a medium Americano and a biscotti at the local generic coffee chain branch should the urge arise.

And this year I really must remember to buy two days worths of fags on the 24th as trying to find a petrol station that’s open for emergency supplies after running is quite annoying.

Christmas can be a challenge for the single gay. For myself, the circumstances are my parents are long gone, closest friends are many miles away and other acquaintances are with their own flesh and blood. Or spending it with their current life partners. The very thought of gatecrashing a couple-y Christmas Day makes me queasy. Nobody wants to play gooseberry next to the cranberry jelly.

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I really don’t feel like I’m missing out though. It’s cool to post on Facebook about just how much you despise Christmas (these posts start to appear around late August, judging from my newsfeed) or to witter on about how magical it is. But no one often talks about being ambivalent about it. There are bits I quite like but let’s face facts here, folks; it’s hard work and stressful. We spend much of lives from mid November onwards standing in queues and I can’t say I’m gripped with a burning desire to sweat over vegetable versus turkey timings or feeling duty bound to wear a novelty jumper while silently praying that the inevitable whacky photo can remain my dirty little secret to the grave.

Occasionally though I do catch myself seeing an ad on telly of a lifestyle porn, picture perfect Christmas and giving pause. Whilst staying at home is my choice, it just might be nice to go somewhere after all. There are the inevitable downsides to a lone 25th at home. For a start, no one to shower you with a mountain of beautifully wrapped gifts. Hey, I’m a homosexual; flashes of shallowness are in my genetic code.

But then us Home Aloners get wistful comments from pals; ”Oh I wish I was spending Christmas alone; you’re lucky…”. This is the special family time when we remember just why we try to limit contact with the passive aggressive sister in law and the uncle that still smells of dry rot to just once a year. The virtual house arrest of the holidays can be a pretty brutal microscope for personal relationships.

Many people have said they would like to swap festive seasons with me and would quite happily ditch the relatives and spend it on their lonesome. Really? Because when the day comes and you go for a walk in the afternoon, glimpsing others tucking into lunch or Dads in Santa hats laughing with their kids… That can be the part that stings if you haven’t fully thought the choice through and decided that you can deal with the day alone. Because for all it’s flaws, Christmas can be okay.

The grass isn’t always (Christmas tree) greener on the other side.

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