The life and times of a happy go lucky blogger in London
Would you dine out alone on Christmas Day?

I really wanted our Christmas day to be different, and it certainly was.

I had booked lunch at my favourite hotel in Soho so all we had to do was get up, open presents, throw on something festive to wear and roll into a taxi – bliss, bliss and triple bliss. We got a taxi into town and drove through Hyde Park – it was beautiful. The roads were quite empty and we felt that for once, our beloved London was our own.

We arrived at the hotel grinning and happy.
‘Wow Mum this place is amazing’
‘Yes darling, it’s gorgeous – look at the art and paintings’

It was so festive and sparkly, it was hard not to be in a great mood – especially after a fine glass of Ruinart Rose Champagne I just quaffed at the bar and the way they served the festive cranberry juice for the little one made it all so swish too.

As Miniminx and I tottered to our table, I looked around the room. I knew the place was fully booked and there were lots of different sized tables; some for eight, or two, or three, all sorts. Our table was laid out beautifully with flowers, silver crackers and very stylish glasses and cutlery. We sat down giggled away playing 20Q and swapping silly stories.

For a moment I got a bit serious. There’s something about living in London and going out on Christmas day which is really amazing and more than a tad indulgent but there’s also the other side of the coin, some people are not having such are great time are they?

‘Darling, if you had Christmas completely own your own when you’re a grown up what would you do? Would you come somewhere like here and eat alone?’
‘No Mum, I’d never do that, I’d find people to spend Christmas with Mum…my family or friends.’
‘But what if you didn’t have any?’
‘Well, it’s not like that, I just wouldn’t’
‘Hmmm…it’s just a thought. I think perhaps, maybe, I just might – I’m not quite sure’

We looked over our menus and ordered our food and I forgot all about our conversation for a while until an extremely well dressed, and possibly the wrong side of 70, man walked very slowly past us. He was directed towards his table which was laid out for just one. When he was seated we looked across and smiled.

‘You see darling. That’s just what I was talking about. There is a very brave man. I am full of admiration that he has done that’
‘Really?’ Ok, Miniminx was more concerned about other things, like presents at this point.

The lunch began, we enjoyed several courses of exquisite food. At one point all the lights went off and everyone cheered – there was a power cut – then the lights came back on again and everyone cheered louder! It even felt like we were in the wild wild west; over exuberant Christmas crackers made gunshot sounds as they snapped and shot the little gifts inside across the room so they landed on and under tables and one toy even hit someone on the head.

I looked across the tables and sneaked a sideways look at this gentleman, I saw that sat on his table was a lone Christmas cracker. It was possibly the only unbroken one in the whole place. Hmmm, that’s not right I thought.

‘Darling look over there, that cracker does look a little sad. Why don’t you go and ask that man if he wants to pull it with you?’
‘Really Mum? Shall I?’ said Miniminx.
‘Yes, go on darling, it’s Christmas day – everyone has to pull a cracker. Go on, go over there.’
‘Ok, I will.’ she said with a big smile.

She walked coyly up to his table and quietly asked him. He picked up the cracker and smiled as she grabbed the other end. They pulled and pulled. People had turned to look and then kaboom! It cracked and then there was a cheery ‘Aaah’ as Miniminx nearly fell on her backside from the effort. It was quite a sight.

I waved over ‘Happy Christmas to you!’ I said. He waved back ‘And to you two too.’

What a great icebreaker that was, the gentleman was befriended by a man on the table next to him who sat and talked with him for about half an hour and the mood around us became chatty and warm. I did feel my eyes brim with tears, a kind of sad-happy, happy-sad feeling.

We finished our meal and were beginning to get ourselves together to go. Me for a traditional afternoon nap on the sofa after a huge Christmas lunch and Miniminx to play with her friends and all their new toys. Before we left, the man left asked one of the waitresses to ask us if he would mind her taking a photograph of us for him to keep. We happily obliged and were so glad to see the smile on his face – he was obviously enjoying himself.

That made my day even more special, wonderful in fact.

So my question had been answered. Some people do dine out alone on Christmas day.

The thing is though, if you do decide to dine out alone on Christmas day, fear not, for you are really booking a table for one, and a hundred or so more others.

Happy Christmas one and all xx

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18 Comments to “Would you dine out alone on Christmas Day?”

  1. TheMadHouse says:

    I think what you did was the correct and wonderful thing to do. We used to always invite the little old man down the road to christmas dinner when I was young, as he was on his own and in later years the old lady next door was a frequent visitor after lunch for a sherry or two.

    It must be hard to grow old on your own.

    However, on a brighter note, your lunch sounds divine!
    .-= TheMadHouse´s last blog ..Christmas Eve Elves =-.

  2. Oh, that made me cry :)

  3. Expat Mum says:

    Wow – that’s like a commercial for something! Great post. Not sure I would have the courage but if you have no choice….. .

    • admin says:

      same here, that’s why I was thinking that and so weird that it played out in front of us but it wasn’t a commercial thankfully, it was a real event and people are much better than ads! xx

  4. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by nixd minx, nixd minx. nixd minx said: Would you dine out alone on Christmas day? My latest blog post…and it's a bit of a (christmas) cracker [...]

  5. How wonderful that you were able to help the old man enjoy his Christmas. And I think the idea of having Christmas dinner in a hotel – free of clearing up and any stress is very attractive. Although next Christmas I’ve decided we’re going to be on the beach in Oz. Just for once I’d like to experience a hot Christmas… we’ll see if it happens!
    .-= Liz (LivingwithKids)´s last blog ..Bargain hunting =-.

  6. That is a great story, thanks for sharing. I would like to think I would go out alone if I had to, when I was single I used to go to movies and lunch on my own – I figured if I wanted to go, why not? Sad to think of people on their own, our good friend lost her husband of 60 years last year right before Christmas and I think it was incredibly hard for her both last year and this year. Good to remember all pf those around us who may need some extra cheer around the holidays.
    .-= Las Vegas UK Mums´s last blog ..Peter Rabbit Returning to BBC =-.

  7. writeonmum says:

    What a lovely, moving post Nixdminx. I like to think that wonderful old man actually chose to eat alone on Christmas day because he was reserving his energy for boxing day…when his house would be overun with hyper grandchildren and loving children…I do hope so. Merry Christmas! xx

    • admin says:

      Yes, I think you have the measure of the man there! And thanks for vacating those tables at the Bull Head, we had a little bit of a Boxing Day party but the kitchen closed early so we had to vacate early and have dinner elsewhere…it’s been a wild one xx

  8. I’d never thought of eating out on Christmas Day, though I’m a London girl …might even do it next year, thanks!
    .-= Dulwich Divorcee´s last blog ..The Bauble Basher =-.

  9. SandyCalico says:

    Such a heart-warming post. The hotel sounds fabulous. I’d love to do that some time.
    .-= SandyCalico´s last blog ..Stir Crazy =-.

  10. notSupermum says:

    That made me quite tearful. What a beautifully written and poignant post.

    I’ve already suggested to my two girls that I’d like to book our Christmas dinner somewhere next year, so this was interesting from that point of view.

    A few years ago I was in a restaurant with my then husband and saw an elderly man come in and sit on his own, he looked so sad and ate his meal before leaving on his own. I felt so sad for him and I thought about him for ages afterwards, in fact still do occasionally.

  11. I’m a big believer in what goes around, comes around. I love this post.
    .-= A Modern Mother´s last blog ..I’m having fun, are you having fun? =-.

  12. Stigmum says:

    Ah, not often a post makes me well up. I’ve spent hundreds of meal times in restaurants on my own. Would I Christmas Day? I don’t know, like you say, it’s so brave. Thank you for making that man’s day. I’m glad you and your daughter had such a great one! Happy New Year, Happy New Decade!

    • admin says:

      thank you too – now, are you calling this new decade the tennies or the tweenies – I don’t know myself but just testing everyone out, ciao x

  13. Pippa says:

    Please can you put a big warning next time that there is a possibility of crying when reading this post or ones similar?!!
    .-= Pippa´s last blog ..Baby Boy Giggles – And thats all I have to say about that =-.

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