Of course for many of our best friends Christmas still seems quite bleak. When you haven't got much spare money or any birth family Christmas can feel rather pointless. It becomes quite easy to slip into the role of an outsider looking with ill-concealed envy at other people having fun. For some the safe familiarity of a small council flat can replace looking for human interaction and for others working extra shifts can seem preferable to a chicken leg eaten on your own.
Which is why Ella and I always make the effort to have an Open House for our friends.
Our 2014 Christmas "Open House" was the best ever. As always our husbands Chris and Mark played a crucial, but unglamorous, role. Chris drove the hired minibus to collect our guests from assorted pick-up points in the morning but even more importantly then drove the same people back to their pick-up points late on Christmas evening. Mark had an identical role but used his car for those who couldn't conveniently access the minibus option. They are both total stars!