The thought of spending Christmas day alone without your loved ones might sound like a nightmare scenario, but one author believes she’s cracked the secret to being solo on December 25th and actually enjoying it.
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In 2016 food writer Janneke Vreugdenhil, 49, from The Hague in the Netherlands, who has just released a new book, Solo Food, was on her own for Christmas while her two sons spent the day with their father, his girlfriend and their new baby sister.
After finding the experience surprisingly enjoyable she’s shared her tips for anyone else who will be celebrating alone on 25th December – and with an estimated 42 per cent of marriages ending in divorce and solo households on the increase it’s a reality that many of us may have to face at some point in life.
‘It is possible to party alone and to enjoy it,’ Janneke told FEMAIL. ‘The trick is to think of it as a luxury: having no one to take into account means you can spend Christmas any way you like.
‘It means you can completely and unashamedly surrender to your deepest desires. Really, there are no rules. You can do whatever you want, watch whatever you want, eat whatever you want, drink whatever you want. And yes, you can even open presents.’
Food writer Janneke Vreugdenhil who has penned a book on Solo Food has shared her tips for spending Christmas Day alone and really enjoying it
The author said that you should be as lazy or as active as you like, as long as it makes you feel good. A bonus of spending Christmas Day alone is being able to cook and eat whatever takes your fancy instead of being bound by tradition
Janneke made this discovery during her first solo Christmas, which she wasn’t terrified by but wasn’t looking forward to either.
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She explained: ‘It was just one of those “firsts” I needed to survive, and then, afterwards, ‘seconds’ would be easier.
‘And then the unexpected happened: my first Christmas alone proved rather enjoyable.
‘In fact, I think it was on this very day – almost a year after my husband had left me – that I discovered I could be all by my lonesome and feel completely comfortable with it.’
DECORATE THE HOUSE: It doesn’t have to be much, and it doesn’t have to be a tree. But hanging up a string of Christmas lights will definitely help you get into the mood.
BUY AND WRAP YOURSELF SOME PRESENTS: Seriously, if no one else is going to do it for you, why not doing it yourself? You do deserve them, don’t you?
FORGET ABOUT TRADITION: When shopping for food, forget about the old reliable for Christmas dinner. Just think of what food you would like to eat and indulge in that. If it’s a roast, buy the best meat you can afford. If it’s a sandwich, get ingredients for the best sandwich you can dream of.
If you don’t feel like cooking, cut yourself some slack and buy good quality ready made stuff. Tinned duck confit for example, tastes fantastic with onion confit from a jar and lentils or baguette. A few salad leaves and you’re ready to party.
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Tradition can go out of the window when you’re celebrating solo
BE AS LAZY OR AS BUSY AS YOU LIKE: Come Christmas day, watch television in your pyjamas all day. Read that novel that’s been by your bedside since last summer. Take a long bath. Do nothing at all if you like.
Or get busy. Take a refreshing walk, treating yourself to a mug of hot cocoa on the road. Clean out that bulging wardrobe, dusty attic or those sticky kitchen cabinets. Do yoga. Do anything, as long as it feels good.
DON’T SPEND ALL DAY COMMUNICATING: Don’t fill your whole day skyping or phoning with family or friends far away. Of course, you’ll want to speak to loved ones. But pick a moment – for example at 4 in the afternoon, when it’s getting dark and it’s the perfect time to virtually raise a glass with them – and then get back to your own celebrations.
The same goes for social media. If you’re going to be on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram all day, you have a good chance of suffering from FOMO. So by all means, communicate with the world. But only as long as it makes you feel good.
MAKE A REALLY DELICIOUS DINNER: Make it as simple or elaborate as you want to. Set the table with your favourite tableware. Light a few candles. Open a really nice bottle of wine. Put on some music and enjoy your own company.
Janneke said that ‘nothing spectacular’ happened, but she took the opportunity to make the day all about her.
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‘I slept in till nine thirty and had an espresso in bed. After which I had a long and luscious bath with Joni Mitchell on the speaker – whom my ex couldn’t stand and would never let me play,’ she recalled.
‘Then I made myself a huge plate of scrambled eggs with salmon on toast and snugged up on the sofa for a binge watch session of my favourite Netflix series.
Janneke Vreugdenhil is the author of Solo Food, published by HQ, £16.99
Indulge yourself by all means, she says, but it’s wise to avoid social media on the day itself
Janneke spent Christmas Day 2016 without her sons, who spent it with their father
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