Christmas means different things to different people depending on your circumstances. We all have our own personal views on Christmas and the Christmas period. Parental Choice asked Louise Voss, established thriller author, for her views on Christmas and what it means to her:
“I sometimes wish I was the sort of person who could think of Christmas as ‘just another day’ – but I’ve never been able to do that. I LOVE Christmas. I love everything that’s real about the true, celebratory meaning of it. I love that it’s a time for family and Christmas stockings, presents under the tree, eating and drinking too much, wearing silly hats and playing silly games, and I love the community spirit of it – the one day of the year when people out for walks will actually smile and talk to strangers.
Sadly, though, in the eleven years since my divorce and then my lovely mum’s descent into Alzheimer’s, my visions of Christmas and the realities have been steadily separating, to the point that, this year, for the first time ever, I will wake up on my own on Christmas Day. I can’t afford to go away, but I’m determined to be positive about it, and not spend the day with a quivery lip, silently weeping into my plum pudding for one as I try and force my cats to wear paper hats…. I wish I had a huge family, or that I was close to my cousins – but then, don’t we all wish for a lot of things that are never likely to happen?
My child-free Christmases have in the past been spent, variously, cruising the Caribbean with an American friend I hadn’t seen for years (that was a highlight), on a tennis holiday in Portugal, at a wedding in Philadelphia, or with friends in New York. Not every free year has been that exciting, of course, but I can truthfully say I’ve never had a terrible Christmas since I’ve been divorced. Just different.
So I have compiled a list of Positive Things that I’ve found to be true about being a single parent at Christmas on the years that the kids are with the ex:
- The generous and heart-warming invitations from friends to spend the day with them (in my case politely declined, because I don’t want to gate-crash another family’s day, but which all made me very happy to receive).
- Getting a lie-in on Christmas morning.
- The opportunity to do something altruistic like volunteering to help serve lunch at a homeless shelter.
- Not being run ragged shopping, cooking, serving, clearing, cleaning, etc.etc…
- Having the freedom to do exactly what you want (budget permitting of course!)
- Eating and drinking whatever you like. If you don’t like turkey, you don’t have to have it (In fact, now is a good time to confess that I have never cooked a turkey in my life. I’m not sure how I’ve got to my fifth decade and managed this, but I’m quite proud of it).
- Having the freedom to spend the day with friends who may also be ‘family-restricted’, or ‘family-challenged’.
- Sole control of the remote, all day. Not to be underestimated.
- And, possibly best of all: no family arguments. No overtired kids, demanding relatives outstaying their welcome, vast numbers to cater for, exhausted partner…
- Every Christmas is likely to be very different to the preceding one.
I suspect that there might be quite a few folk who’ve read this far and may well be starting to envy me – in fact, writing this has made me feel a lot more chipper about it. I wouldn’t want to spend Christmas on my own every year, but once in a while is hardly going to kill me, is it? I count my blessings every day, and Christmas will be no different. I have a beautiful daughter, a roof over my head, great friends, my health – and no washing up to do after dinner on the 25th.
I’ll drink to that. Happy Christmas!”
Louise Voss has been writing for the past seventeen years, with many twist and turns in her career. She started her publishing life with four novels for Transworld/Black Swan, the first of which, To Be Someone, was published in 2001 with its own CD soundtrack.
To Be Someone was followed by three more contemporary women’s fiction novels, Are You My Mother?, Lifesaver, and Games People Play, until she successfully switched to publishing thrillers with Mark Edwards in 2011. She and Mark were the first British indie authors to reach No.1 on the Amazon charts with Catch Your Death, where they stayed for the month of June 2011, with their novel Killing Cupid also at No. 2. This led to a four-book deal with Harper Collins.
Today Louise is a hybrid author, i.e. self-publishing her solo novels and continuing to publish with Mark Edwards. Thomas & Mercer have just published From The Cradle, their fifth novel together, and her first solo thriller, The Venus Trap, will be out in February 2015.
To buy Louise’s latest book, please go to: