Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Couldn't be better.


Hello, from my holiday cottage, on this bright and sunny Christmas Eve. I am sitting at the wooden kitchen table, looking through the large conservatory, out over the back garden. I filled the bird feeders up this morning, my friend likes to encourage visiting wild life. In the summer the pond is full of frogs, and hedgehogs scuttle around the lawn foraging for the scraps she puts out for them.

I agreed to do this house sit six months ago, my friend wanted to be sure that Henry choc lab would be well catered for before she went ahead and arranged the holiday. He has never been in kennels, I think he would feel abandoned if he was left, he is a sensitive soul. I am sharing the duties with another sitter, so I'm coming and going a lot. Back home, which is only three miles away, my friend Janet is sharing cat duties with me, we have a rota, so all the animals are being cared for. The morning duties here are that Henry gets a one hour long and fast walk, he is a big boy with loads of energy, which suits me because I like striding out at a fast pace. After breakfast Rocky gets a more sedate stroll and sniff round the village. I don't walk them together because their needs are so different.

The layout to this house is a bit different to my own, whereas I am facing the window looking out over the street when I am sat at the table, here I have a wonderful view of the long garden and the wood beyond. It is lovely and peaceful here, I am using this time to escape from the madness of Christmas, it has all the ingredients you would want for a retreat. I find that the weeks leading up to Christmas is a time when I reflect a lot about my life and the role I play in the grand scheme of things. As I sit back and watch the world going crazy, I feel a sense of calm, a sereneness wraps itself around me.

I have always preferred being on the outside looking in. I like to see people enjoy themselves, but I haven't wanted to be the middle of the scrum. It's easier to sit on the sidelines and be happy for others. I am happy when they are happy, I don't need to join in.

I was reading an article in the BBC magazine, 'The people who choose to be alone at Christmas.'  Reading the comments I see I am not alone. Many people enjoy a quiet Christmas on their own. Here is a quote.
"I try to be as vague as possible when people ask me what I'm doing for Christmas," she says. "From past experience, when I have said I plan to be alone, some people have actually been quite hostile about it".
Yes, I have done that. I get invited to family do's, but I really don't enjoy sitting around for hours eating and drinking myself silly. It's a relief that they don't ask any more.

Another quote.
"Trite as it sounds, Christmas is what you make it. For every individual filled with the ardour of spending the day with family and loved ones, there is someone who might have no inclination or responsibility - be it familial or religious - to do "something special".
I don't feel that I need Christmas to do something special, every day is special to me. I am blessed with nice friends, we help each other.

I sincerely hope that you all have a lovely Christmas. I have two dogs and three cats to share mine with, couldn't be better. Lots of love xxxxxx

46 comments:

  1. I love this post, Ilona! yes, there are people who are very happy with their own company at Christmas. My son comes to visit, for a few hours, eat dinner with me, and that's IT. Me and the two kitties, happy campers. I am very quiet about Christmas and Thanksgiving plans, so as not to be dragged into other people's crowd festivities which make me feel very lonely, not half as comfortable as with my own home and company! but, it's true, people get angry if you don't want to join them, no idea why. Anyway, enjoy your lovely quiet time.

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  2. I love my hubby and all the kids and grands but I also love my animals and would be quite fine with them for the holidays....to each their own, eh? Anyway have a wonderful and blessed holiday Ilona!

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  3. its sounds lovely, I have in the past been a pet sitter for friends, mostly because I never go anywhere, lol, being alone at Christmas is fine if thats what a person prefers, I think sometimes we assume sadness with being alone at Christmas but that is just not so, I have no problem being apart from all the parties, not my scene at all, lol, anyway, I wanted to wish you a Happy Christmas and best wishes from home to yours, all the way across the ocean, I read your blog all the time but don't often comment, I enjoy your honesty and knowledge of frugal ways, all the while living a great life, I thank you for that!

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  4. I read and enjoy your blog every day. Merry Christmas, Ilona!

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  5. Enjoy your Peace and Quiet. I told our lot Christmas Day or not at all. So 12 here altogether but only for the one day. That way I know I can cope and go back to peacefulness on Boxing day - and lots of washing up I expect!
    Happy Christmas!

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  6. Love this post and wish you all the best. Having read the BBC article I confess to being deeply envious of people who are able to spend 25th December exactly as they want.

    We don’t have kids, we don’t have family or friends visiting, and we don’t have spiritual beliefs which have anything to do with the Bible. Husband, however, still wants deccies to come home to when he finally escapes London, and sweeties, unnecessary boxes of chocolates, and a big dinner on Thursday are important to him, so I shall comply :} Just because I'm a Gringe doesn't mean he should miss out. There won’t be much else happening - Dog still needs a good walk every day, and all the other chores and minutiae of normal living go on as usual. The most exciting thing I want to do is wash the inside of the greenhouse :}

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  7. Festive greeting from Scotland,Ilona. I love to read you crafty exploits and really admire your creativity. Slainte! Catriona

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  8. Merry Christmas to you. Christmas is different for everyone. I prefer a bit of quiet and a bit of family times. xx

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  9. im a happy solitary with a big family , but i dont think i will ever enjoy xmas , in fact it just makes me depressed fed up and pigged off . The whole family despise me because my 80 year old mother is spending xmas alone, as she requested , and i can respect that.

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  10. Well, first of all, you are NOT alone! You have all of us with you today and tomorrow and every day that you choose to post! That being said, I guess I've never actually been alone-alone on Christmas . . . always had my partner and at least one kitteh . . . and I'm sure it would be a bit different; just not sure if it would be a positive or negative different. I think it is lovely to imagine your peaceful day while so many others are in the midst of the chaos of their expectations and obligations. Bhu, Sabryin and I wish you the very, very best! xoxo Patty

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  11. Wonderful post, Ilona. I can relate. I am single like you and I'm fortunate to still have my mother nearby. When she is gone, hopefully many years away, I will likely spend Christmas alone. As Boud said, crowds can make you feel lonely.

    Your friend has a lovely home. I can picture the peaceful view. Henry is lucky you are there and I'm glad that sweet Rocky is staying with you.

    Enjoy your day.

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  12. Hi Ilona
    Wishing you and your pets a peaceful and happy Christmas. Thank you for all your words of wisdom expressed so eloquently through your blog, which never fails to cheer me up and gives me the inspiration that I sometimes need to "push my boundaries" just a little bit further. Have a very happy New Year.

    Best wishes

    Julia

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  13. I have no family apart from parents who are in their nineties. I have bought no presents, no tree and no decorations. the food is the same that I have every other day. There is no special dress (I've got nothing anyway). I would do some embroidery but my little shop is closing down and setting up on ebay and she has run out of the embroidery floss that I need. I find this time of year very sad as I remember all relatives that have died. Everything is geared up for excess - horrible. Natalie

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    1. I can relate to this! Glad when its all over! Take care!

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  14. Enjoy the peace, I love the quietness of these few days, it's like a deep inhale after a year of scurrying sbout. :)

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  15. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas ... your way. How lovely to be in the company of lots of dogs and cats over this festive season, no one to argue with and no one to tell you what you must watch on the television. I just have my fingers crossed for dry weather to enjoy lots of doggy walks over the next few days ... as I'm sure you do.

    All the very best and a special Christmas cuddle for Rocky. xx

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  16. Happy Christmas! I have only ever spent one Christmas alone away from family, and have to say, I enjoyed it immensely! And even better, Christmas with cherished furry family members is even better!

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  17. Wishing you a peaceful and relaxing Christmas. Sarah

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  18. Merry Christmas, Ilona. My husband and I will be spending Christmas at home together with our 2 black feline fur balls (Claire and Rylee) - both of which are very happy to share a wee bit of turkey from the Christmas dinner. We will get together with family after Christmas day, as that is the best time for everyone. It is usually very casual and it is a nice visit. Weird Christmas here, though. No snow. Not typical for Minnesota winter. Peace. Ranee

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    1. Also from Minnesota. Just took the pup for a walk after evening services with just a jacket. It was cool but after the crowded church felt good. What weird weather.

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  19. I hope you have a lovely peaceful Christmas Day, Ilona.

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  20. I wish you a peaceful and pleasant Christmas

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  21. Couldn't agree more, enjoy Iiona(Merry Christmas:)!

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  22. Good for you! I'm glad that you can have Christmas to suit you. My elderly Aunt is always alone at Christmas and happy to be so; she loves the freedom to celebrate in the way that suits her! Have a good break and Merry Christmas!

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  23. Merry Christmas! Thank you for the gift of all your blogs throughout the year. All Best Wishes Ruth

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  24. Happy Christmas Ilona. I read that article too. I agree too. My Mum will be spending Christmas day in her own home, as requested. She doesn't like parties or crowds. She will be getting phone calls from myself , 2 sisters and my brother so she won't feel left out. She never liked Christmas when we were young, even. Probably because all the work fell to the woman in those days.

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  25. Sounds perfect...Happy Christmas Ilona...thanks for all the interesting blogs you share with us!

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  26. Merry Xmas! Im spending my day very quietly! I am having Lunch with my Mum, who is in a Nursing Home, she has Dementia, and has no idea its Xmas Day, but I have always had Xmas Lunch with her, and I always will! Theres no other Family left now, so once my Mum has passed im alone, but im very happy being home with my Kitty, here its peaceful, and cosy and no pressure about buying and cooking and talking to people I dont like! Its good! Suits me fine!

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  27. Wishing you a very happy Christmas and New Year!

    Toni xx

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  28. Thanks for taking the time to write your daily blog. I have just recently found your website, and I very much enjoy reading them. Very best wishes and many thanks. Adrian.

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  29. Happy Christmas, have a peaceful time with all the dogs and cats, it all sounds really lovely xx

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  30. Elaine near Olde Philadelphia25 December 2014 at 01:05

    Hurray for this gift! I am another of those who choose to be alone on The Day. Through the years I've learned to tell A that I'll be with B. I tell B that I'll be with C, then I tell C I'll be with A. If I forget who I told what, I say something vague. I understand the comment in the BBC piece that some people actually become hostile if they (or I!) tell them what they do -- so I don't. Warm wishes to you, Ilona, and all who, like me, feel that you are a friend. Cheers!

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  31. Dear Ilona,
    A very happy Christmas to you, we always have a quiet one and enjoy ourselves like you. Will be thinking of you, Rocky, Henry and the pussies. I have been following your blog for many years now and you are always so interesting and inspiring. Really loved reading today's thoughts on Christmas.
    Wendy (Wales)

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  32. Merry Christmas Ilona. Thank-you for sharing your life so openly....you are an inspiration. I love your honesty, frankness, candidness , your sense of humour, your sensibility... I could go on and on...
    I get up each day really looking forward to your post.... I am half a world away (Australia,) although I do not know personally, I think of you as a friend.... like minded and supportive. Cheers Jo

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  33. I do hope you have a wonderful day and a lovely year ahead. This is the final night of Chanukah for me---a much more laid back affair. Have cancelled most plans otherwise until I get over whatever upper respiratory thing has me in its thrall. Like you, I am quite content spending time with my cats. Best to you and your animal friends.

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  34. A very Merry Christmas to you from across the pond! I admire you greatly for living your life as you please! Bravo! You are an inspiration to many!

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  35. Wishing you a Happy, Relaxing Christmas!
    I really like the way you have organised and lived your life.
    All the best to you and your cute, little friends.

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  36. thank you for sharing your life with us through your wonderful blog. Wishing you a peace filled and happy Christmas from onlyjo

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  37. My OH finished work about 2pm yesterday and ventured into Tesco. He said to me it was like Armageddon - over filled trolleys, screaming kids, boxes of confectionery ripped open and smashed, food knocked on the floor and trodden in .... It upsets me because after 1 day of closing the Boxing Day madness will also start. There is only us 2 and 2 cats and apart from the dinner which I do enjoy we have no tree, no piles of presents and no excess in the materialism that sadly Christmas has become.

    Seasons Greetings from Elaine, Oldham.

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  38. Thank you for lovely blog I read every day and truly enjoy it. Have a very Happy Christmas.
    Maggie x

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  39. Lunch was cooked and frozen weeks ago ready to assemble if and when Hubby feels hungry. Visited family for half an hour mainly to see our grandson who is autistic and hates fuss although this year he did open his gifts. We got a free wooden play kitchen which Hubby slowly revamped but its staying here so he can play with it tonight when he comes to stay. Son and his wife popped in for half an hour. All our gifts were re-purposed, bought in charity shops or collected bit by bit and everyone is happy.

    Enjoy your peace and a different view from the window Ilona. xx

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  40. Happy Christmas Ilona, thank you for each and every post, I love them all.
    I hope that the New Year is happy and healthy for you.
    You are such an inspiration to me and all of your readers, again many thanks.
    Love from Pam in TX.xx

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  41. Happy Christmas Ilona from another person who's enjoyed spending most of Christmas Day on my own. x

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  42. Happy Christmas Ilona, so glad you can spend Christmas the way you prefer. I'm not a great Christmas lover but as we are a family away from the rest of our relatives I make the effort so people have somewhere to congregate and be together for just the day. I hope you have a safe new year also.


    Jo in Auckland, NZ

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  43. Happy Holidays from Colorado! We also have a quiet Christmas. Gifts under the tree are few, OH and I have all we need and with two large dogs and two very old cats our house is full. I have a ten percent off coupon for everything at the grocery store so that is where we will spend tomorrow, get a jump on 2015.

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