A Christmas away from family or friends is something that everyone should do at least once in their life. It sounds sad and depressing to some and exciting to others. The actual experience can be a strange mixture.
I’ve only done it twice – in my late teens when I emigrated to Australia ahead of my parents – and in both cases it was not a complete break from tradition. In one instance I was the guest of a good friend’s family and in the second my girlfriend’s family took me in for the day. Both were spent in traditional companionship eating extremely hot dinners in an extremely hot climate. I even had the comfort of a long-distance telephone call back to my parents in Canada and this was the days when you booked it with the PMG for a specific time and took it at the main post office in the city. Laugh at that if you like with mobile phone and Skype technology today, but the six minutes over a crackley phone line that I could afford were very precious to me.
The business of taking a Christmas trip away from the family happened to my mother the year my dad passed away. I think she really didn’t want to be reminded by hearty family goings-on so she and another widow lady took a special bus tour to the south of the state for the period. She said she never regretted any trip so much – being with rooms full of complete strangers 500 Km from home proved to be a bad idea.
I did have one semi-miss a few years ago when a studio water pipe burst and flooded the place. I discovered it Christmas morning and had to phone back home to tell them to go on to the family luncheon without me while I mopped out the place. They were good enough to save a complete roast dinner for me for later…when they were all too stuffed to eat any more…and I must say that the floor has never looked cleaner.
Now that I’m older and used to my own company, I could probably enjoy a Chrissie away – if there were some good reason for it. You’d have to pick your venue, though – either a cabin in the bush all by your lonesome with a stack of books to read or the busiest of big city hotels with the fancy dining room and cocktail lounge. And a stack of books. The in-between – the country pub or motel on the road – would be too depressing for words, no matter how many plastic Santa dolls they put out.