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It’s really stressful facing your first Christmas alone.

Perhaps, you like me, are finding that you have had 20 years of family Christmases with tinsel and turkey, kids unwrapping their pressies in pyjamas with the Carols singing out on the stereo, the log fire blazing and a full house brimming with family.

Then it all changes.

But your first Christmas alone doesn’t have to be terrible.

But it does need planning !

Make sure that you plan what you are going to do well in advance and that you arrange to keep busy over the holiday period.

Be organised and don’t leave any spare time when you might brood. Don’t worry about what your ex partner is doing or who they are spending it with; make sure that you are so busy having a good time that it doesn’t matter what they are doing. Don’t let any negative feelings (anger, jealousy) about your ex get in the way of enjoying yourself. ( Tough I know, first hand, but an important mindset to get into ! )

Prior to the Christmas break take advantage of all the parties you’re invited to. If you haven’t got a company party or a networking ‘do’ to go to then why not throw your own party? You can even throw a themed party – there are lots of pamper, chocolate and jewellery parties available, and if everyone brings a bottle and a plate of food hosting a party doesn’t have to be too expensive and you’ll start to feel back in control of your life again in small ways – which is really important !

One option is also to go away on holiday. Why not fly to the Canary Islands with a friend to get a bit of sunshine on your face?

If you don’t know anyone who is single why not try Buddies4Travel (www.buddies4travel.co.uk) who can help you find a suitable and lovely travelling companion.

Why not try something new and completely different – I’m off with my friend and her kids to  have champagne by a swimming pool on Christmas Day ( we are off to Teddington Open Air Pool for salmon and champers ! )  It’s about doing something new, and creating your own NEW traditions for yourself and your kids.

Alternatively, if you lead a hectic life, you could decide to spend the time on your own and have some quiet ‘me’ time. Stock up on your favourite foods, a good book and some classic DVDs and relax but if you think you may get maudlin plan something sociable as well !

Don’t forget to buy yourself a self-indulgent present such as a beauty treatment, a massage or a new outfit.

If you have other single friends who are going to be on their own over Christmas you could get together and have a house party. Why not play some board games such as Scrabble,  Trivial Pursuit or a Murder Mystery? You don’t have to be a child to play games! If money is an is tight  make a pact not to buy each other presents (or limit the cost of presents) for each other and share the cost of the food and drink to make it all manageable.

Another option is to volunteer to work for a charity over Christmas. Why not help provide lunch for the homeless or visit a lonely elderly person? These websites provide some ideas about how you can hel:-

www.timebank.org.uk/volunteer_christmas/ www.do-it.org.uk

If you have children you should communicate with your ex about the arrangements for the holiday well in advance. Reassure the children that you will be OK while they are spending time with your ex, that you have plans and will not be sad or upset.  Ensure that they are happy with the arrangements that have been made for them.

Have a very Merry Christmas!