Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • One year I spent Christmas with a bunch of complete strangers. (Though I had got to know them a little in the preceeding couple of weeks, as we walked around the bush, alert for wildlife. We had particularly bonded when an elephant threatened to charge.)

    I was in Tanzania, on a safari/beach holiday, without my children. I had divorced my husband, and this was the first Christmas they spent with him, instead of me. I didn't like the idea of being away from them at all, so I decided to go away somewhere really special, to take my mind off it.

    I was brought up, like most people, to think of Christmas a family time, pointless without Grandma insisting on, then dozing over the Queen's speech; Dad getting tipsy and making a hash of carving the turkey; overexcited children squabbling over the last Quality Street in the tin.

    Instead I spent Christmas morning in the village near the beach, had lunch in a women's co-operative cafe (rice and beans, it was delicious, and cost about 20 pence), went snorkelling in the afternoon and spent the evening on the beach, looking at the moons of Jupiter through binoculars and chatting. It was one of my best Christmasses ever.

    I don't believe any of these myths any more. Blood isn't thicker than water. Christmas isn't all about children. Africa isn't scary. Being part of a couple isn't what it's all about.
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.