Being alone at the holidays is not something anyone would activity wish for, but it's not all bad. Actually, there are some perks.
Tomorrow morning, millions of women will get up at, if not before, the crack of dawn to put the turkey in to roast. Between then and dinner, they will rush around the kitchen making side dishes, baking rolls, and decorating pies—hour after hour of hot, sweaty, often messy, work.
Me, I'll be sleeping in. My boned, half turkey breast is already swimming in its hard cider brine. The leek, mushroom and herb stuffing will take a grand total of ten minutes to prep and cook. Tomorrow, I will quickly flatten the turkey into a roulade, add the stuffing, and put it in the oven to roast for a grand total of 90 minutes start to table. A savory artichoke bread pudding will join it for part of that time. Six minutes for the asparagus and I'm done. Time away from reading latest Rhys Bowen mystery: less than 30 minutes. I call that a win.
What else does the "average" mother/wife/hostess have to do? Clean, decorate, get dressed, get the kids ready... The list varies from house to house, but it's always long, exhausting and, frequently, underappreciated.
Let's go through the list backwards in my house. No kids, and my Golden Retriever is happy to curl up and sleep. And he never whines about not wanting to watch White Christmas or kiss Aunt Mildred. Get dressed? Don't make me laugh. I can stay in my jammies all day if I choose. Who's going to comment? Certainly not the dog.
I will set the table with china and the good silverware, maybe even light the candles, but that's my choice, not a necessity. Cleaning? The dust isn't going to get any worse if I put it off a few more days and, again, Murphy the lapdog isn't complaining.
Yes, family reunions are wonderful—arguments aside—but being alone doesn't have to be depressing. It can be a time to enjoy a nice meal, a glass of wine, a good book or movie, and the opportunity to be thankful for all the other blessings in one's life.
Oh, I forgot the last good thing: everything fits in the dishwasher at once with room to spare.