I can’t imagine what it must be like spending Christmas Day alone, and hopefully I will never know.

For many people December 25 is the one day of the year they get to spend with the whole family. With busy work and family schedules, getting the whole family together - no matter how big or small - can be quite challenging.

I am fortunate, because I live less than 20 minutes away from my family (at least the family I want to spend Christmas with).

However, some of my friends’ and colleagues’ families live in different parts of the country.

For some the idea of a solo Christmas may be “traumatic”, but not everyone sees it as a bad thing.

For admin assistant, Ziyanda Mgwili, 26, Christmas may not be a family affair, but it is one she still looks forward to.

“I am going to relax, eat, drink and be merry all by myself.

“I have decided not to go home (Eastern Cape) this year because it won’t be the same,” Mgwili says.

“Last year it was me, my mother and my siblings and no one wanted to be part of it; everyone made their own plans.

“Christmas is dead to me. There are other events happening on the 25th.”

She says “things changed” and her family stopped celebrating Christmas together after her cousin died in September 2008.

“My cousin passed away in September and in December that year we were still mourning her death.

“We always spent Christmas together and when she wasn’t there any more, it wasn’t the same.”

Mgwili tried to reunite her family in 2015, unfortunately the reunion didn’t go as planned - because “everyone else had plans”.

“I wanted to do this and people had their own plans.

“It felt like the family didn’t value (Christmas Day) as much as I do, so (this year) I am just going to be by myself.”

For journalist Viwe Ndongeni, spending Christmas alone is something she will never repeat.

A few years ago, Ndongeni was working in retail and could not travel to the Eastern Cape to spend Christmas with her family.

Instead of spending the day alone watching TV, Ndongeni, opted to work so her colleagues could spend the day with their families.

“I had just started working so preference was given to older staff members.

“I was invited for dinner by close friends and distant relatives, but I didn’t want to feel like an outsider, I wanted to be with my own people. It was horrible.”

But it wasn’t all bad for Ndongeni, who says she received gifts and money from customers thanking her for working on Christmas Day.

“I worked from 8am to 11pm and people who came, gave me chocolates and money.

“It was nice, but I was longing for family time.”