Meet the people spending Christmas on their own

‘I won’t be watching the Queen’s speech – it will just remind me of missing out on family time’


We see Christmas as a time of year for family, falling asleep after dinner and wearing the worst Christmas jumpers ever produced – but not everybody spends the 25th surrounded by people.

Last year’s arguments, long distance and deadlines are some of the reasons keeping people away from their families and friends during the festive period.

We tracked down the people spending Christmas alone or away from home to find out what they’re planning.

Lydia Baxter – Cardiff University

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Lydia might be spending Christmas alone, but she’s still getting into the spirit

Lydia Baxter is planning to spend Christmas by herself for the first time this year. After falling out with her family last year and returning to uni early, she now plans to stay in Cardiff for the entire festive period.

Unfortunately all of her friends will be at home for Christmas so she looks set to be alone on the day.

Lydia, who is from Kent, said: “This Christmas I’m working at my bar job on boxing day and christmas eve but we’re closed on Christmas Day. I’m looking into working in a soup kitchen because I’m too far away to travel back home.

“My mum is up for a two day spa break just before and that is enough of a present for me.

“I feel humbled that I can take the initiative and avoid the mistakes made last year. I think I’ll be able to focus on my deadlines better and will avoid emotional drama.”

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Lydia plans to use the Christmas period to catch up on deadlines, but is planning to volunteer on the day itself

Far from spending the day moping that she’s away from her family, Lydia is planning to give back on the day itself.

She said: “I often see the homeless on the Cardiff streets and being a student we live a different life, it’s just a nice thing to do.

“I still want to make Christmas dinner if I get a chance, my roasties are on point and I wouldn’t want to miss out.

“The Queen’s speech has never been my thing but maybe this year I’ll give it a go, especially since we’re about to enter a war.

“Overall I’m looking forward to it. Who doesn’t love a new experience?”

Rebecca Shapiro – Leeds/Watford

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Rebecca channeling her inner Rudolph

Leeds grad Rebecca Shapiro is halfway across the world from her family, and will be spending her Christmas Day volunteering at a homeless shelter in London.

Being Jewish, Christmas has never been the biggest date on her calendar, but since her parents recently moved to Canada, Rebecca wanted to spend this year giving back.

She said: “I won’t be watching the Queen’s speech. My dad always watches it so will just remind me of missing out on family time.

“I’m volunteering partly because I used to work at a charity shop which was a helpful reality check – but I haven’t done much since.

“I did a half marathon for charity in October but you don’t feel like you’re directly helping, so I thought this would be a good experience.

“Last Christmas I was lounging on a beach in Cambodia, so this year was bound to be a disappointment in comparison. I might as well try to do some good as there weren’t many ideal options for the festive period.”

Her day will consist of work from 3pm-11pm at a Crisis shelter on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

“To be honest, I’m a bit nervous. I’m just hoping to provide some practical, upbeat assistance and do something that’ll make me stop whining about my pitifully middle class, first world problems.”

Alice Gerwat – Sussex

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Alice and her boyfriend letting it all go

Alice Gerwat spent Christmas last year with her boyfriend in university halls, but didn’t end up there on purpose.

The Sussex students were left stranded in Brighton after bad weather got all the trains cancelled just before Christmas Day.

Alice said: “We had decided to go back to my halls for two days for my boyfriend’s birthday.

“But the trains were all cancelled and our parents were too drunk to pick us up, but we thought it might be fun to stay there anyway.

“We actually ate pizza for our Christmas dinner. The shops were obviously all closed but we luckily we’d stocked up a few days before so we didn’t starve.

“On Christmas Day we went for a walk on campus, which was completely empty. It’s a good job we had presents to exchange.”

Asma Butt – Aberdeen

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Asma (left) will be alone at Christmas

Fourth year Asma Butt has spent every Christmas alone since was 12.

Her mum works at Manchester airport and never gets to take the day off because it’s their biggest of the year.

She usually spends Christmas alone at her uni house in Aberdeen.

Giving her advice on how to handle Christmas alone, she said: “Head out on Christmas Eve. Clubs have the best of your city’s has-been poets and long game lotharios and they are always out on the 24th of December trying to prove a point.

“Tell them you’re spending Christmas alone, and you might get lucky.”

From wandering in and out of your flatmate’s rooms or eating ice cream for Christmas dinner, Asma enjoys the freedom of being alone on the day which is usually reserved for family gatherings.

She said: “Nothing’s open, you have no presents to unwrap or other commercialised enjoyment to experience so give up. You can do what you want, when you want.

“Make a mood board about all your feelings of the year, it’s still better than writing a status about it.”