If they did bother to buy me a present I didn't know where they had put it. Mine to them vanished from under the tree so I guessed that they took it with them. My aunt came round for tea on the 22nd and from Easter onwards it was sorted out that I would live at her house during the university holidays. My cousin had moved out to live with her long-term boyfriend so there was going to be room for me. I think we were both rather shocked at how difficult Nan and Granddad had been. Me living with them was their idea but they seemed to do nothing but moan about it.
Christmas Day was always going to be rather difficult. It is supposed to be a happy, family day but I was feeling rather sad and abandoned. I was very firm with myself – so every time I felt sadness coming on I had a square of chocolate and then told myself to stop being so silly! It felt rather strange opening presents on my own, particularly ones I had got for myself. But various relatives had been very kind about sending me something, although really I suspect under normal circumstances I would have counted as too old. GParents phoned at 7:45 to tell me that they would give me my present on their return from holiday. (I guessed that it hadn’t been purchased yet!).
I went off for my Christmas dinner to one of my friends from school who lived 4 doors down the road from where I used to live. They made me feel very welcome but they were one of those families who open all their presents after lunch and it was a bit awkward just sitting there while this was going on. I just smiled and joined in the conversation.
Boxing Day lunch was at the home of a mature student who was on the same course as me. There were six of us altogether. All people who didn’t, for a whole range of reasons, have family to go to over the Christmas holiday: including two overseas students (Singapore and South Africa) who didn’t have enough spare cash to go home. We had a really good time and I was pleased that I went.
I know it seems a strange thing to do but I went home via the cemetery where Mum and Dad are buried. I “told” them how grim it had been staying with Nan and Granddad. The generation gap was just too much to deal with. We never seemed to want to do the same things. Even watching the TV was a stress. Once all they wanted to watch finished off went the TV, never any "anything you would like to see dear" to be heard. If I went to my room instead I was moaned at for being "anti-social".
I am quite proud of how I coped over the holiday. I could have spent the entire two weeks just sitting around feeling miserable. Instead I kept myself busy and the time went by quite quickly.