I wrote a piece for a magazine last December about how I enjoy going home to mum and dad's for Christmas. It was my idea because, well, it's true, and also because I felt like at this time of year there always seems to be a lot more written to the contrary – about how returning home is a drag to be endured rather than enjoyed.
The problem is, when the piece came out, and re-appeared last week – I popped up in my own Twitter feed holding up a pair of knickers I'd just unwrapped– the headline they chose to go with it was: 'Single at Christmas? It's not so bad...'.
Editors applying clickable headlines is commonplace – and journos moaning about it can be wearing – but in this instance it gives rise to an important point: why does it always have to come down to the 'single question'? My Christmas isn't defined by the fact that I don't currently have a boyfriend or husband. It's defined by the fact that I have a family whose company I actively seek and who – lucky for me – actually care whether I turn up come Christmas Eve.
Lucky is how I feel, so I'm wondering, if I were to have a Christmas hashtag, could it be #luckyatchristmas rather than #singleatchristmas? It's worth bearing in mind, surely, the good things we have rather than what's missing, or perceived to be missing?
This year, I feel for two friends who lost their dads this year, after seeing them suffer with cancer. It's their first Christmas without them being there and I'm sure that must be tough. I'm lucky because, all being well, I'll do my usual last-minute shopping dash with my dad on Christmas Eve in Huddersfield and have a couple of pints in the weird pub by the bus station, as we've done for as long as I've been drinking.
I don't think it's too ham-fisted, either, to think about those people that literally don't see anyone at Christmas, the silent half-million elderly people in the UK, or those that don't have a home at all and go hungry, again. When I was younger, every Christmas morning my dad and uncle, who both did work for the charity The Lions Club, used to take me and my cousins to deliver boxes of Quality Street to the older people near our house who wouldn't be getting visitors at all on Christmas Day. As a teenager, I moaned about doing it – after all there were lie-ins to be had and presents to plug in. Now I know I was lucky to do that. And I'm still lucky now, so shut up about being single. #luckyatchristmas