I attended a friend’s wedding this year, that was in the form of a play which everyone was sent in book form, to read at the same time from different places. There were various interactive interludes, including phone calls with strangers I had been algorithmically matched with, and a big group Zoom. I liked it.

When I was a child, I had a ‘Christmas book’ that I liked, with lots of different nice things in it, like stories about the nativity, and about the Christmas ceasefire in World War I, and songs, and instructions for making foods and decorations, and descriptions of Christmas in other places.

Last Christmas I was mostly alone, since I live in America and my family lives in Australia. I celebrated by myself: I made myself a Christmas stocking full of things like pens and post-it notes and beads and chocolate (with a traditional balloon on it), and had hot chocolate, and opened presents, and then I read a book of essays that I had collected up online beforehand and printed out nicely. The theme was something like, ‘being in touch with far away people, elsewhere and in the past, and in particular trying to see what they are really like, and to remember that they are not like what I think’. There are ways you can be especially close to people by reading their words that are different from the ways you can be close by chatting and eating together, and I hoped to do those ones, I suppose.

This year lots of people are forced to stay at home, so I have plenty of company. But if I were going to celebrate relatively alone at the same time as my friends or family were doing the same thing elsewhere, I like the idea of trying to combine these ideas somehow.