Saturday, January 8, 2011

Would you invite an unrelated person a family member knows to your Christmas dinner?

This a guest post by Lyndsay

Lyndsay is a woman who studied biology and psychology, then teaching (Secondary School) in Ontario, Canada. She finished school last May and is still figuring out life and the world post-school. In the meantime, she has travelled, lived in the U.K., met people from various countries, learned a lot and had a lot of new experiences. For example, she has learned she loves mulled wine and that not everyone reads music with the letters A to G. 

I am a Canadian who spent Christmas in Europe. I've been living in the U.K. since August. Flights to Canada cost three times more during Christmas so that was out of the question for me. So the question remained of how I would spend Christmas. On the one hand I didn't feel too heartbroken over missing my family's Christmas dinner for one year. On the other hand, Christmas is special to me and I didn't want to spend it alone. As Christmas got closer I realized everyone I knew had plans with their family and I still had no plans. It started to occur to me how exclusionary Christmas is to people who either are not in contact with their family or are too far to be able to get to their family. I started to wonder what it would be like if I tried to invite a friend to my family's Christmas dinner. I had a hard time imagining some of my family members welcoming someone who is not family to our celebrations. Thus, I started to want to ask this question: Would you invite an unrelated person a family member knows to your Christmas dinner? Christmas is in practice "about spending time with family". But maybe we could think about expanding our idea of what Christmas is about if we hear about someone who could be alone at Christmas. I also ask: Have any of you celebrated Christmas with family AND one or more people who are not family?
In the end, on December 22nd a close friend invited me to his family's Christmas celebrations in Paris. At first all the buses were booked but I managed to get a night bus on the night of the 23rd. I had a very relaxing French Christmas celebration with his family on Christmas Eve. It was my first Christmas without presents (except chocolate) and I didn't miss them. I got everything I had wanted.