Today I had a really lovely discussion with a group of business women, over lunch, about different ways of celebrating the holidays. I discovered that my husband’s family traditions, while being very British, are not necessarily what all British people do and that the way people celebrate Christmas in Britain is actually quite similar to the way many people in the States celebrate it. I love hearing what other people do and I also love knowing that I’ve created my own family celebrations and traditions from a mixture of my background and from British traditions that I’ve learned about too. Just this morning, my five year old asked me if it was nearly time to make the Christmas cookies. He now knows and remembers that we make them each year the day after school finishes!

One thing that came out of the conversation and struck me was that not everyone celebrates Christmas with family or even with their own children. Of course I knew that before and I’m aware of that, but today was a good reminder for me.

Single Mums Survival GuideVivienne, one of the ladies I was talking with is, amongst many other things, an author whose book is called The Single Mum’s Survival Guide: How to Pick Up the Pieces and Build a Happy New Life. She was talking about how difficult Christmas can be for her and in the past some of them were actually quite horrible because of her family circumstances. And now, sometimes she doesn’t spend Christmas with her children or her husband’s children. It prompted me to share her book on my blog because there are sure to be many other parents out there who won’t be able to spend Christmas with their children for various reasons. One of those reasons might be because they are back in the States or living somewhere else either here in the UK or in another country, or simply living apart. I remember my Canadian friend told me she had to alternate having her children with her from year to year at Christmas time and when she was living here in the UK, her children were spending Christmas back in Canada with their father.

I read Vivienne’s book and wrote a review of it on Amazon – please take a look and pass it on to anyone you know who might find it helpful. Perhaps it could even be a gift for a friend or loved one. Or maybe it’s something for you. It’s also out on Kindle.

For many, the Christmas holiday period can be full of family and celebrations. For others, it might be a difficult or tricky time so I hope this post offers some support and reminds others to be supportive.

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Meghan Peterson Fenn is the author of Bringing Up Brits and co-author of Inspiring Global Entrepreneurs with Heidi Mulligan Walker. Meghan is also the Director and Chief Designer at her own design company, White Ochre Design Ltd. And, she is an award winning expat blogger.