This post is written for anybody who may not be looking forward to spending Christmas on their own.
I have spent several Christmas’s on my own. The first time, I was not really looking forward to it. I was single, I’d just moved into my own flat and I had no close family to spend Christmas with. After the initial, realisation and sadness that I really was going to be on my own, I decided that I was going to get through the day and have as good a time as I could. I ended up having a great day and choose to spend Christmas on my own for several years afterwards.
I think learning to be on my own at Christmas has actually made me more resourceful and self-reliant.
If you really don’t want to spend Christmas day on your own then you have several alternatives. You could go on holiday where there are lots of other single people. I spent one Christmas as a single person on a tiny island designed for backpackers and travellers off the coast of Fiji. I woke up at 5am on a wonderfully warm and sunny Christmas day, wandered down to the beach, sat on the sand and dipped my toes in the water. It was great fun, very beautiful and very spiritual. There were back-packers there aged from 17 to 70!
Or you could spend the day as a volunteer perhaps working with the homeless or with animals in shelters. Giving of your time and your energy can be very satisfying.
I think there is so much pressure and expectation to have a fun and jolly Christmas surrounded by a loving family that if you are on your own you can feel lonely and at odds with everyone else.
So, here are my tips to survive (and dare I say even enjoy) Christmas on your own:
Start now to have a good clean up and de-clutter. De-cluttering tends to have a therapeutic effect and makes you feel good. Getting into action also tends to help you to lift your mood.
Plan what you are going to eat and drink over the festive season, including breakfasts. If you will be spending Christmas Eve at home don’t forget to have something nice for that as well. If you don’t feel like cooking then you can always get ready meals. On my Christmas Day, I would have a lovely breakfast. Then I had a glass (or two) of Champagne while I cooked my dinner. You don’t have to cook traditional Christmas Food. This is your day, you can have whatever you want. If you are drinking alcohol though, please remember to eat something even if it’s just snacks so that you don’t just get drunk and morbid.
Treat yourself to a present or two and wrap it up so you have something to open on Christmas Day. I always used to buy myself some cosy socks and new lingerie.
Plan what you are going to do – watch TV, listen to music, play DVD’s or PlayStation games, or you can go online to chat with others on different forums, Facebook or Twitter. Or curl up with a good book. Do not watch sad films or listen to sad music! Find something to make you laugh.
Open the blinds to let the light in. If it’s mild enough then open a window even just for a short time to freshen the room. Have a lovely bubble bath or shower, wear aftershave or perfume, makeup, and get dressed. I have spent the day in my jammies however I always have a lovely bubble bath beforehand, and do my hair and make-up before putting on my cosy socks.
Put on some up-beat music and dance like no-one is watching. Okay if you don’t like dancing then how about going out for a short walk? It will lift your mood and bring a rosy glow to your cheeks.
It would be great if we all came from loving families who got on well with each other. The truth is for a lot of people being thrown together with people who at any other time of the year you wouldn’t normally hang out with can be very stressful. If you start to wonder if everyone else is having a better time than you then make a list of everything good about being on your own from having control of the TV remote to eating what you want. You might well be having the best time of all!
One of the things I learned to avoid was well meaning friends who assumed that I was going to be miserable spending Christmas on my own. It really didn’t help feeling sorry for me. And I’m sure there are several people who used to feel unnecessarily guilty because they didn’t invite me for Christmas. The truth is I would much rather spend Christmas on my own, in my own home, with my own things around me than be somewhere else where people felt sorry for me.
Later on in the day create a cosy atmosphere. Fairy lights can create a lovely warm and welcoming atmosphere along with lovely spicy scents. I used to get and decorate a Christmas Tree but if you are not into Christmas decorations then candles or a nice fire give off a lovely glow.
You may have heard the phrase: This Too Shall Pass. You may be alone today but this could change. So take advantage of this time you have to be on your own. Take each Christmas Day as it comes.
If you do feel that things are just too overwhelming then here are some useful links for you:
Samaritans – for confidential, non judgement emotional support
Befrienders Worldwide – for emotional support for people in distress