Bah humbug — as far as I’m concerned, this year you can stuff Christmas in the business end of the turkey and baste it with a big dollop of curdled indifference.

After decades of being the Christmas Elf — diving head-first into the season with all the heft of a sumo wrestler, feeding droves of family, including the ex-husband, as well as random lost sheep, with their siblings, dogs and visiting mothers — I am finally throwing in the tea towel and abstaining.

Why? Because I am 63 and, for the first time in my life, I’m going to be on my own this year. So I’m free to either feel self-pity or embrace the possibility of not being able to get into the spirit. This is the one I choose.

My house seems completely empty of any festivity as I sit here.

Marion McGilvary, 63, (pictured) explained why she will be boycotting all festivities and spending this Christmas alone with her cats

Marion McGilvary (pictured), explained that she would not participate in any festivities this year and will spend Christmas with her cats alone.

In years gone past, I’d have it all out of the attic by now — the tree, the lights, the carefully collected decorations from every city I’ve ever visited, the swags of evergreen tied with ribbons on the stairs, the homemade wreath to hang on the door. I’ve always loved the prequel just as much as the day itself.

Last year, I went so far as to fill the picture window with fake snow, twigs, birds and fairy lights for the neighbourhood children’s Christmas trail.

But this year, I’ve done none of that. Perhaps I’ll string a few lights on the Swiss cheese plant. Or then again, maybe I won’t.

Family get-togethers always sound so wonderful, but in practice they’re stressful and demanding, especially if you are a lone parent with no partner to back you up in the inevitable squabbles.

As a child, I would joke with my children that their family wasn’t democratic, but a dictatorship. If you got sick, I would sleep on the ground next to them.

These days, however, are over. I have four children, aged between 25 and 35, and this year — for the first time ever — they have all found other places to be.

One is off to a romantic tryst with a ‘friend’, another to her partner’s family in Scotland and a third is at his grown-up home with his wife and newborn son.

It’s still possible the fourth will invite me to his house, but frankly I am so looking forward to my solo anti-Christmas, I will think at least twice about accepting.

Marion (pictured) said for women of a certain age, it feels like the last taboo to admit to having tried your hardest when a family reunion is anticlimactic

Marion (pictured), said that for women over a certain age it is a taboo to confess to trying your best when the family reunion goes sour. 

In the meantime, my own partner and I will travel to his family as we do every year. This means that I’ll be spending the day alone with my cats. Although they haven’t yet invited me.

Although I still enjoy the festive season, my enthusiasm for the family Christmas reunion has diminished over the years. Mothers of mature children know the dangers.

My 4 children make their own small gangs, and they tend to rebel as teenagers.

They don’t like to eat, they raid the refrigerator and consume the food you made for them tomorrow. Then, they take over the couch and control the remote. There are many in-jokes that they enjoy, of which I appear to be the butt.

It’s becoming more difficult to see what my speech will sound like before I speak, lest it be too irritated. It’s mob rule.

But still I’ve always done it. The truth is, I’ve tried my hardest and yet it’s often been an anti-climax. This is a taboo for women over a certain age. I’ve woken at 4am to bake an entire Christmas village of chocolate cake houses, decorated with Smarties and glittery icing, and then watched as nobody ate them. We’ve all waited with food in the oven for the arrival of the last child, only to receive a text in the evening saying he was staying somewhere else instead.

Marion (pictured) said she's fed up with cooking meals and getting the timing wrong, or ordering it all from posh pre-made shop Cook

Marion (pictured) said she’s fed up with cooking meals and getting the timing wrong, or ordering it all from posh pre-made shop Cook

I’ve invited Austrian neighbours for a drink ‘on Christmas’, only to find them on the doorstop in sparkly dresses on Christmas Eve — the main day of celebration in Austria — when we were all in our pyjamas.

I’ve dutifully shopped and provisioned and wrapped and made the house twinkly and warm. Once, yes, I got flu and couldn’t get out of bed, but even then the kids came round. (They ordered pizza and didn’t leave any for me.) However, I now realize that it was more win-win to be able avoid the whole thing.

The jewel in the Christmas crown was last year. My lovely daughter-in-law decided to host, and the whole family was going to her and my younger son’s house for the day. It was Christmas at 62, and I had finally been invited to celebrate. Jubilation.

Covid then made everything impossible. As my partner and my eldest daughter were in my bubble at the time, my husband and I found ourselves under house arrest and had to rush to make food and wine while we opened presents with Zoom. Although we had a good time, it was a little too short and flat.

The truth is, I’m tired of it all. Especially the food — all midlife women know how much of a hassle the food is.

I’m fed up with cooking meals and getting the timing wrong, or ordering it all from posh pre-made shop Cook and then the freezer breaking down and it not tasting right after being defrosted.

Marion (pictured) said maybe next year her Yuletide cheer will return, but for now she's boycotting everything and not even doing proper presents

Marion (pictured) stated that maybe next year, her Yuletide cheer might return. But for the moment she is boycotting all things and refusing to give presents 

I’ve had enough of doing a vegetarian dish and a turkey that nobody likes, or of not doing a turkey and everyone wondering why we’re having beef.

I won’t miss those Brussels sprouts I could just as easily grab from the pan to the bin, or that Ham that always hangs around longer than the tree. Maybe it’s the pandemic that’s to blame. Yet, Christmas is about crowds. I’m still very nervous around people. As Christmas movies are shown, crowds of maskless shoppers throng the cinemas. I am terrified of parties. I’ve forgotten small talk and none of my clothes fit.

I truly don’t want to take any risks with Covid for the sake of a warm glass of supermarket white and a cheese straw.

Call me Scrooge, I don’t care. Maybe next year my Yuletide cheer will return, but for now I’m boycotting everything. I’m not even doing proper presents.

I’ve told the kids they are getting cash, and for everyone else I am making presents. If you’re familiar with me, be prepared to receive a macrame pot holder. Ho ho, bloody!

Sad? Lonely? Pack away all the violins. In secret, I’m enjoying the freedom to go it alone. Christmas is this year a vodka-tonic and Call The Midwife Special.

For a fair proportion of the country’s many hard-working mothers and festivity-hosting grandmothers, that surely sounds like a rare sort of bliss.