Thursday, December 20, 2018

Christmas Food by Myself

First of all let me thank so many of you for your wonderfully kind comments on my posts. And let me add that although these posts have "by Myself" in the title, I am not at all sad about spending most of my Xmas alone. The ideas that I've come up with as a sort of coping mechanism have done just what I hoped they would do! I'm really enjoying my preparations and feel pretty certain that my season will be merry and bright.

To continue with my 'Xmas Alone' ideas, let's talk food -- another one of my favorite things about Christmas! Yum yum! 

I'm fortunate to be sharing a turkey dinner with my dad and brother on the 25th. (We're the solos in the family.) And a few days later, I'll enjoy another Xmas dinner with my daughter and her little family. I love Xmas baking, so I'll do some of that both before Xmas day and over the holidays themselves. But I also decided on another new tradition for myself:  at noon on Xmas Eve, after I've vacuumed and primped, I'm going technology and people free, and I'm going to prepare a special meal just for me.

For the first time ever, I'm going to try my hand at Beef Wellington (for one) with a side of green salad and grilled asparagus. Dessert will probably be a small trifle made with lots of fruit and a wee bit of sponge and cream. 

I'll open a bottle of wine; and for the rest Xmas Eve, I'll sip my wine and munch while I watch my 2 all-time favorite Xmas movies -- It's a Wonderful Life and the 1954 version of A Christmas Carol
* Yep! "Fadoobadas"

I'm choosing to shut myself off from the world on Xmas Eve not because of sadness or anger, but because I want to take at least one day during the season to acknowledge my self worth and to practice self-care. We all need to do this sometimes as even the jolliest of us may encounter difficulty or trying times (or people!) over the holidays. And  while necessary, decompressing all by oneself can also be very enjoyable: I mean, how many other opportunities does one have for walking around the house naked with a glass of wine and no regard for food drips or your "fadoobadas"*? 

Over the holidays, I wanna take some cold crisp walks in the snow (and hopefully, sunshine) as well as lots of epsom salts baths where I emerge oily as a greased pig and relaxed as a well fed baby! 

I also want to spend some time with my God in praise for His always being near and in gratitude for His gift to me of creativity and stick-to-it-tive-ness in my determination to enjoy my new life and have a merry christmas.

Please remind yourselves of your OWN self-worth, your uniqueness and your beauty. If any of my ideas would work for you, take them! But please remember that you have value and please do whatever it takes to maintain your health and peace.

I may not get an opportunity to blog again until the new year. 
So, from me to you, thank you for being my blog friends.
And I wish you a peaceful, joyous Christmas season.
See you in 2019!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Christmas Decor by Myself

One of my favorite Christmas traditions has always been the tree: the scent; the sparkle; the memories that each ornament brings to mind; and that little bit of nature right in my living room! But although Newfoundland is a province with more wilderness and forest than towns and villages, real trees have become hard to find and expensive to buy. So, I did like everyone else does here and I purchased a pre-lit artificial tree. 

Decorating my first Xmas tree here was bittersweet with the thought that I may never again have Xmas with my wonderful NS friends. But last year's tree was just sad: I was very ill and no one came to visit.  And I remember how deflated I felt when I had to dismantle the tree after the new year. 

So this year, I opted for something totally different. I opted against putting up a tree and thought I'd add just a soupçon of a tree.

I added some real branches of fir in a vase with some sparkle and fairy lights and I've hung it with photos of the people I'd like to be spending Xmas with. (You can't see all of them.) Topmost, of course, are my other 2 daughters and some of my most wonderful international daughters. 

The scent is amazing. And over the holidays, I shall be able to gaze upon those lovely faces and raise a glass to each of them.

The rest of the apartment is festooned with swags and nativity scenes and kissing Santas and lots of fairy lights! 

It looks and feels very festive! 
As do I most days! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Xmas Gifts by Myself

I mentioned how sad I felt that first Xmas after my husband and I separated with nothing under the tree for me (save a card and money order from my Mom and Dad). Well, here's how I 'solved' that problem.

With children, I'd learned to become a huge thrifter; and I was fortunate to be surrounded by great thrift stores. So, determined to have Santa bring me gifts, I would pick up things throughout the year at thrift stores -- things that I would normally buy for myself. A great jigsaw puzzle; a couple of good novels; an 'expensive" (under $20) piece of silver or gold jewellery; a set of gold rimmed cocktail glasses. Or if I was at a mall and saw a particularly good deal/low price on a new item, I'd buy that for myself. I'd never spend a lot at one time and I didn't buy a lot for myself. 

I'd take these items home, box them, wrap with Xmas paper and tuck them under the spare bed in the Xmas box I stored all my Xmas gifts in. Most of the time, by the time Xmas came, I wouldn't remember what I'd purchased. I might remember that I had a puzzle but I wouldn't remember what the picture would be, or the names of the novels I'd bought, or the color of new socks, etc. etc. And 20+ years later, I still do that for myself. 

This year on Christmas morning, I'll sit with my coffee and whatever delectable brekkie I decide to make for myself and open my Santa gifts. And they'll add to the joy and contentment of my own personal Xmas because I'm eager to begin that new puzzle (part of my old Xmas tradition) or read a new book while I savor my quiet, alone time in my new home (one of my new Xmas traditions).

Thursday, December 13, 2018

My Christmas Plan

Christmas can be difficult for a lot of folks especially if you're on your own. I'm surrounded by family here in NL. But they don't have the same views and/or needs about this season as I do; so my ideal 'Norman Rockwell' Xmas is not going to happen. It took me two years here, but I'm finally realizing that I'm the only one responsible for my own happiness -- even at Christmas. So this year, I made a plan in the hopes of having a happier, healthier Christmas.

  • I let go of my expectations:  expectations I'd placed on others and expectations I'd placed on myself. Without realizing I was doing it, I expected my family and friends to visit; I expected them to help with meal prep; I expected them to sit and chat and bond; I expected to receive from them as much as I'd given. But one of the biggest gifts that I've been learning to give myself for the last few years is to accept people as they are and give without expecting anything in return. Harder to do with family, I think, but so rewarding for all those involved.

  • The next thing I did was to make a list of what was most important to me about the Christmas season. 
    • Spending time with family: It's up to me to make the trip, the phone call or the Skype conversation. Even if it doesn't happen, I want to let them know that they're important to me.
    • Christmas decor: What do I really want? And how much can I really do - both decorating and the dismantling of the decorations? I had to really think about my energy levels and remember my limitations.
    • Delicious food: I made a list of what foods I love to eat at Xmas -- both the store bought and the homemade. That list got culled a lot to reflect my finances and my energy level for cooking/baking. AND I had to remember that the food that I don't give as gifts may be mine alone to eat! So I choose my foods with that in mind as well.
    • Health: In spite of my 22 lb weight loss since last April, I KNOW I'm going to be eating and drinking things I wouldn't usually eat and drink. So, I'm expecting to gain a couple of pounds. And eating like that will affect how I feel physically. So, to counteract that dilemma, I'm going to make sure I get outside and walk or snowshoe. My stodge-filled body will NOT want to go outdoors; but if I want to eat, I have to get out there.
    • Something under the Tree: The first Xmas after the breakup of my marriage, there was nothing under the tree for me as my kids were still very young. I realized I was sad about that. So I became my own Santa! (I'll share more on how to economically do this.)
    • Peace: If I can follow what's on my list, then I shall have a peaceful Xmas season. But I'm also planning to make time just for myself with no phone or TV and trying to create zen moments and time with my God. This is probably the most important thing for me.
I'll expound further on these over the next week.

These ideas will not solve all the problems and sadness that can occur at Christmas. Nor will they help everyone have a joyous time. But perhaps they can spark some hope and enthusiasm in someone out there. 

Monday, December 10, 2018

Searching for a Merry Christmas

This meme came across my Facebook feed this weekend, and I thought "Yeah! This is exactly what I came to realize this Fall!"

I moved home 2 years ago and have experienced 2 miserable, sad Xmas seasons for me. I told myself that last year would be my last here in NL; but not having the finances to go elsewhere caused me to rethink things this Fall. And that's when the shoe dropped.

I now realize that my enjoyment of Xmas is up to me. Of course Xmas  here in NL is not going to be like NS -- different location with different people, different traditions, etc etc. My failure to recreate Xmas MY way does not mean that I can't enjoy Xmas in NL. It just means being open to what the season has for me here in my new life AND my creating new traditions for myself. 
So, I've been busy letting go of what was while I search for what's important to me and what I can create here. My stress level is way down, my spirits have been lifted and I'm actually really looking forward to Christmas again.

I know that for a lot of people, Christmas is extremely hard and no amount of trying to create a happy Xmas will make it happen. My heart goes out to those folks.

But for those of us who are alone and seeking for ways to participate in this season and find even a modicum of joy, I hope my ideas help. I'll share them over the next couple of weeks. And please feel free to share your thoughts on the same.


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