Are you spending Christmas alone this year? Is it going to be your first Christmas alone, and you’re wondering how it’s going to be? Worried about feeling lonely or missing your friends and family? If so, this article is just what you’re looking for.
Christmas is a time of celebration, community, and togetherness for everyone. Everybody gets to take some Christmas holidays, and in most Western countries, you’ll see decorations and Christmas lights on streets, outside houses, and in shops and restaurants. So, whether you’re religious or not, Christmas is a great time to kick back and make the most of the holidays.
Throughout this article, we’ll discuss why spending the holidays alone doesn’t have to be a bad thing or a sad occasion – it can, in fact, be quite the opposite! We’ll explore some ideas for what to do if you’re spending the festive season by yourself and how to make the best of it. We’ll also take a look at how to help someone feel better if they’re the one who’ll spend Christmas alone this year.
Is it okay to be alone on Christmas day?
The Christmas holiday season is usually a time when families get together. Far away, family members return to the nest to be with the rest of the family, and aunts and uncles you haven’t seen since last year show up with food and gifts. Friends reconnect, maybe for the first time in many years, and share stories and news on their life over mulled wine and dinner.
Since the festive season is typically a time for reconnection and togetherness, you might feel a little strange, worried, or even embarrassed about going solo this year.
However, you need not worry. There is absolutely nothing wrong with spending Christmas alone – as long as you make the best of it.
You might be tempted to wallow in your loneliness and exaggerate how alone you are, which is fine for a moment or two, but don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity to reconnect with yourself by spending too much time wallowing.
Below, we’ve outlined some fun and interesting ideas to help you make the best of your solo Christmas. Of course, the list is not exhaustive, so you may have many more ideas about how you would like to spend your time! Feel free to add to the list, but consider our ideas. Who knows, it could even be your favorite Christmas day yet!
How to have a solo Christmas
There’s no need to worry if you have to fly solo this holiday season. Sure, it might be nice to spend the day with friends and family, but if your circumstances don’t allow for that, there are plenty of other things you can do to keep your mind occupied and make the best out of the day.
If you’ve got some time on your hands, time that you’d normally spend with friends and family, why not use it to volunteer with a local charity organization. Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community, and the cherry on top is that you get to feel better about yourself.
If you live in a big town or city, then there are probably plenty of organizations who will be looking for a helping hand this Christmas from kind-hearted people like you.
Call or visit a homeless shelter, animal rescue shelter, or environmental clean-up group and see if they need a hand this Christmas. You don’t need to spend your entire holiday season helping out – even just a couple of hours a day or a few hours on Christmas day itself will be of great help.
2. Buy yourself a gift
There’s nothing quite like the joy of unwrapping a gift at Christmas. Sure, it might not feel the same as when you were a kid, running downstairs to the Christmas tree and pulling presents from underneath, throwing wrapping paper without a care in the world, heart beating with excitement to see what Father Christmas brought you this year, but it’s still a wonderful experience.
Buy yourself something you’ve wanted for a while, such as a new phone, a painting set, or a new dress – whatever you want (and can afford). Don’t hold back – wrap the item and place it under the tree (if you have one), and don’t open it until Christmas day!
3. Enjoy the peace and quiet
If you’re used to noisy, hectic, and dramatic Christmas days with your family, you’re not alone. Though typically a time of joy and celebration, many families find themselves fighting and arguing over Christmas.
There’s an expectation for everyone to be happy and jolly, so if one or more family members aren’t feeling the spirit of things, other family members might berate for bringing down the mood. Other people tend to experience feelings of sadness at Christmas as they reminisce over friends, family, and loved ones of the past who are no longer around.
Combine all of the above with extra alcohol and the entire family in one house, as per the nature of the holidays, and Christmas can quickly become a time of stress.
Instead of losing your mind this Christmas and looking forward to leaving your family behind until next year, soak up the subtle joy of being alone; appreciate the peace and quiet around you.
Make your space nice, warm and cozy, and claim the day as your own. Find some comfy clothes to wear like warm pajamas or a big wooly jumper, grab a blanket, make some tea, and watch your favorite tv show or movie.
4. Take time to set intentions
With the new year only a week later, Christmas is a great time to get started on your intentions for the year to come. Set aside some time to reflect on the year gone. Remember the intentions you set the year before – how did they work out? What did you achieve this year? What did you let slip?
Even better, what did you let go of this year? What things were holding you back or bringing you down that you finally managed to release? For the year to come, look even deeper into yourself and figure out which things in your life are obstacles and which things serve your highest good.
Get a nice notebook (a Christmas present to yourself, perhaps?) and use it as a personal journal. No matter what time of year it is, journaling is a great practice to develop. It helps you develop greater self-awareness and helps you stay accountable for the intentions you set for yourself.
5. Let go of expectations
As mentioned, many of us are used to spending the Christmas holidays with others, so spending it alone can feel a little strange. Strange, however, does not mean bad. It is entirely possible to enjoy the day by yourself, but doing so involves a choice to enjoy it. You can also choose to wallow and feel sorry for yourself.
Just because you’re alone, this Christmas doesn’t make you a lonely person. There may be many reasons why you have to go solo this year.
By holding onto the expectation that Christmas shouldn’t be a certain way, you rob yourself of the opportunity to make it your own. It can be however you want it to be. You don’t have to watch Christmas movies, eat pudding, or eat a specific meal. The day is completely yours to enjoy!
6. Take a trip
Since you don’t have any responsibility to stay at home with family, why not take a trip for yourself this Christmas. Since many people will be at home; hotels, Airbnb’s, and home-stays are likely to be a little cheaper than usual. Is there somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit but never found the time?
Take a little holiday in your home country. Visit places within your country you’ve never been before, or a place you’ve already been but loved dearly. You don’t have to travel too far. Consider visiting a nearby city or staying in a different area in your own town or city and enjoy the luxury of a hotel room with breakfast included!
7. Have a lazy day
Forego all the tasks and chores you do on a regular day and allow yourself to have a lazy Christmas! Enjoy a day of self-care. Throw on some comfy clothes, get some movies ready, and zen out for the entire day. In our regular lives, we rarely take the time to rest and let go of our deep-wired need to be productive. Allow yourself some space to kick back and not worry about getting this or that done for the day that’s in it.
Food is a key part of most people’s Christmas. If you’re spending this one alone, don’t hesitate to make it delicious. You don’t have to go out and buy a turkey or any other traditional Christmas food – you’re by yourself, so eat whatever you want. Recall your favorite Christmas dinner and make that if you’re feeling nostalgic about Christmas in your childhood.
What are your favorite dinner foods? How about dessert? The day is completely your own, so you can do with it whatever you wish. Take some time before the day to go out and buy all the ingredients you’ll need to have a solo feast day.
Let go of the diet, stop watching the carbs, and indulge in all the foods that warm your belly, satisfy your soul, and make you feel happy.
9. Call friends and family
Are you currently in another country and not able to see your family? Called away for work? There are many reasons why you might be spending Christmas alone this year, but as long as you can connect to the internet, you don’t need to feel completely alone.
Make time to reach out to close friends and family. Call, text, or organize a Zoom meeting to catch up with those you love around the world. Your family might even set up a device in the dining room so you can join them for a virtual Christmas dinner.
Remember that even though you miss your friends and family because you’re spending Christmas alone, your friends or family members probably miss you a lot too. Make their day better, and yours while you’re at it, by reaching out and having a chat. Catch up on all the news you’ve missed out on, and let them know how much you love and miss them.
10. Decorate your house
A solo Christmas doesn’t have to be a solemn occasion. Splash out on some decorations like tinsel and a tree or whatever decorations you’re used to having around Christmas, and decorate your house or apartment with them. Put up fairy lights around the house, or make a light show in your garden and impress your neighbors!
11. Make a snowman
If you’re lucky enough to see some snow this year, make the best of it by heading out and making a snowman. Make it as large as you like and dress it in quirky clothes.
If you live in a residential area, gather your neighbors and organize a snowman-building competition! Getting out and playing in the snow is a great way to have fun with your inner child and reconnect with his or her innocence.
How to help someone feel less lonely at Christmas
Spending Christmas alone can be tough, but hopefully, with the tips and ideas outlined above, you’ll be able to enjoy it. Still, you may have friends and family who are also spending the festive season by themselves and who may feel lonely.
Stephen Buckley of mental health charity Mind explains: ‘Feelings of isolation and loneliness can be especially challenging during the festive season. The expectation of happiness that comes with Christmas can also amplify any negative feelings that people may already have.’
Below we’ve outlined some things you can do to help those who feel a little lonely this time of year.
Call for a chat
Help those who might feel lonely this Christmas by reaching out and checking in. If you have an older relative who is forced to be by themselves, make sure to give them a call and see how they are.
Catch up with them if it’s been a while since the two of you have spoken. Let them know what you’re up to, and let them know that you’re spending the day alone too! Share some of the ideas we’ve offered above and encourage them to make the best of being alone.
Do you have a neighbor or friend struggling with their mental health? Mental health issues are always a cause for concern, so it’s important to regularly check up on those you love.
Still, as Mind’s Stephen Buckley explains, feelings of loneliness are usually exacerbated at Christmas time. Make sure to reach out to those you love and let them know that you’re thinking about and that you’re here if they want to have a chat.
Send a gift
Send a gift or even just a card to someone who has to spend their Christmas alone this year. It doesn’t have to be large or expensive – it’s the thought that counts. Receiving that gift could make their day a whole lot better! Think about the joy of opening presents and feel good about offering that joy to someone you love.
Make a house call
If you know that some of your neighbors will be alone this Christmas, don’t hesitate to make a friendly house visit and offer them some wonderful company. Bring some treats, tea, or any gift you think is appropriate and call over, even if just for an hour.
This is especially helpful for older adults or older relatives who may be alone this time of year and are unable to get out of the house.
Invite people over
Got a spare seat at the dinner table? A spare bed? Make the most of it by inviting someone over to spend Christmas with you and your friends and extended family. If you’re also spending Christmas alone, inviting a friend or neighbor might also help you battle loneliness.
Have a Merry Christmas!
Hopefully, by now, you’ve realized that although Christmas comes with expectations and family rituals, these are not rigid. You might be spending Christmas alone, but that does not mean you have to feel lonely.
It might feel a little strange at first, but if you can get the hang of being alone without feeling lonely, then you might just have one of the best Christmas days of your life!