Nonetheless, ever since he'd become more and more independent - and the various family issues were either partially resolved, ignored, or resulted in estrangement - he'd decided to strike out on his own and "do Christmas". Circumstances were such, that on his first Proper Christmas, he was alone. He had friends, all of whom had gone their separate ways to spend the day with their families; He knew other people who would be on their own, but they lived too far away for him to invite them round, or vice versa; His father was ill, and didn't have very much money, and decided to stay in The City, meaning that he would have to do everything by himself.
The biggest advantage was that, though he did have to do everything by himself, everything done was for him, and he alone. He woke up, opened his presents left for him by his closest friends, put the food in the oven, watched television, ate, drank and was merry. He even made calls to his friends and family to wish them a Merry Christmas. It was the best Christmas he'd ever had, and he vowed to repeat or better it, the next year.
He made plans with friends to travel abroad, and have Christmas in the Big Apple. When that plan fell through, he just decided to stay at his new home, now further away from his friends and father, and do what he'd done the year before. After all, there was no reason why it couldn't be a success a second time round.
Eventually, he stored up everything he had, put it to one side, and began to prepare for his second Christmas alone. He even relished the idea of being left to his own devices for at least one day.
But, in truth, he was lonely. Lonlier than he had felt in a very long time. Over the past few years, he'd come to rely on his friends' presence, and take comfort from their being just a short walk, or train or bus ride away. This time, he'd found himself further from Home than he had ever been, and all he wanted to do was hear from them and tell them that he loved and missed them. Even the new friends he had made (for he was a very likeable person, even if he did say so himself) had all gone away.
Then, one day, out of the blue, he recieved a call. It was one of his friends from his new town. She had a space at her table, and wanted him to fill it. There was no hesitation. He said yes, straight away. Despite all the time and effort he put into denouncing Chrsitmas, for all its falsehood and frivolity, the fact that someone wanted him to be part of their experience touched him; it made him feel wanted, which was the most important feeling of all, at that time of year. He didn't know what was expected of him, but he knew that he would try his best to make sure that, just like his previous Christmas, this would be one which would never be forgotten...