I'm a data analyst by day and a proud bibliophile. I'm originally from Wisconsin.
How to Celebrate Your Birthday, Christmas, New Year's Eve, and More by Yourself
I’ve spent several holidays alone, including New Year's Eve and several birthdays, and I’ve learned how to make each of these days special and enjoy my own company. I know you can too if you follow the tips in this article.
Alone doesn’t have to mean lonely! Whether your kids have moved away, you're going through a separation or divorce, or you’re isolated due to a pandemic, learn how to get the most out of a special occasion with these seven awesome ideas.
1. Recreate Your Favorite Family Traditions and Customs
If you love spending your holidays with your family, then revisit the joy you experienced as a kid by recreating those familiar feelings. If you recall that your mom baked special cookies for the holidays, uncover that family recipe or find something similar. Nowadays, you can find any recipe online. If you enjoyed little things like hot chocolate by the fire, make yourself a cup and find a YouTube recording of a fireplace. Set the mood!
Remember to keep the holiday special. Maybe you did something special on this particular holiday like unwrap presents under the Christmas tree before the sun came up. Keep the tradition alive by wrapping a present for yourself and waking up early. Bake cookies, bake a pie, or prepare a Thanksgiving meal on a smaller scale but in the same way that your family did together.
Missing Someone on the Holidays?
If you are missing someone in particular—like your grandma who passed away or a family member who is no longer with you—engage in traditions that remind you of them. You can even recreate your memory of them to feel like they are enjoying the holidays with you. Carry their picture as you go for a walk or celebrate by blowing out candles with their picture by your side.
2. Enjoy Your Favorite Meal
Our memories are also stored in scent and taste, so if food is a huge element of your family tradition, be sure to make your favorite meal! You can also order something similar to what you all would normally cook or go rogue and order a meal from your favorite restaurant if it’s open. Treat yourself (especially if it’s your birthday)!
You might really enjoy ordering Chinese cuisine on Christmas or Thanksgiving, or maybe you like to order Thai food or sushi for your birthday. Frozen foods work, too! If your parents used to prepare a frozen meal, and the brand and taste of the food takes you back down memory lane, then indulge and enjoy! Or consider learning a new recipe and cooking or baking it for the first time (and maybe have a backup meal or cake nearby just in case it doesn't go as planned).
If you enjoy beverages, make yourself a great cocktail or spiked cider and watch your favorite movie while doing a fun craft project or pampering yourself with a manicure, massage, or bubble bath.
2. Do Your Favorite Holiday Crafts
It’s important that you stay busy on the holidays, so consider browsing Pinterest for some fun craft ideas to keep you engaged. Kids' crafts are also just as fun for adults—you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy them. Find some crafts that you did as a kid and do them again. Maybe you want to make Thanksgiving turkeys out of fall leaves, cut up pretty snowflakes from paper, make a countdown Christmas paper chain, or do something else. There are tons of crafts perfect for Hanukkah, Kwanza, and any celebration you can think of.
You can also scope out fun kids' crafts on Amazon (search by popularity for good recommendations). You can work on something like a puzzle, which can be fun for all ages and allows you easily start up again where you left off, which makes it a relaxing and fun way to pass time. Adult coloring books are also great for this reason and can be fun for people who aren’t totally into puzzles. I love adult coloring books—they are so meditative! I completed this coloring book over the years and loved it, and there are also some really fun ones that you can find on Amazon or at book stores. There are some creative titles that are really tailored to the times.
4. Watch Movies You Loved as Kid
Make it a movie night and put on those familiar fuzzy-feeling movies (or a fun horror movie for Halloween). If you have a lot of days to fill, especially in December or closer to the New Year, you can create a fun movie list and watch a new one each day. Recreate that holiday spirit!
Kick off with a movie marathon and be sure to eat your favorite snacks and do your favorite crafts as you go about it. Remember, your movie marathon doesn’t have to just be Christmas movies or holiday-themed movies; they can be horror, sci-fi, or whatever makes you happy. If you are missing someone like a parent, sibling, or partner, watch their favorite movies to feel close to them.
5. Accept Whatever Feelings You Have
Be ready to feel the feels and accept what you are experiencing during these times. You might feel lonely at first or often, and that’s ok. You might also be missing certain people in particular, and that’s ok too. Know that your feelings are totally natural and other people are feeling similar. Don’t beat yourself up for what you’re feeling; it will only make the loneliness feel worse, and resistance is not good for you. It creates even more disharmony.
Save a Life—Adopt a Pet
If you truly are lonely and you’re an animal lover and ready to be responsible, consider adopting a pet that is truly in need of a home for the holidays. Shelter animals need companions, too. You need to be ready for the long-term time commitment if this is true. Animals need companionship, and they will be so grateful to have a home.
5. Create a Hygge Vibe
Create a hygge vibe! Sure, you’ve heard of hygge, but what does it mean? Hygge is a Danish and Norwegian word that describes the mood that comes with coziness and being comfortable and content. It is all about feeling good, content, and well overall.
To achieve this superb vibe, wear some comfortable clothes and turn on the fireplace or run one on your monitor (sounds and all). There are tons of free videos on YouTube that can offer this feel all for free. Once you choose the video that gives off the coziest vibes, grab a book, turn on your heater, get a warm cup of tea or coffee, and enjoy your cozy atmosphere.
6. Create a Gratitude List
One way to really enjoy the holidays even if you’re alone is to create a list of everything you are grateful for—a gratitude list! I’m sure if you really look at your situation, you can find things that make you feel blessed. This might look like good health, financial security, a warm house or apartment, good food, healthy food, delicious food, your wonderful dog, your cat, or something else. If a list isn’t your kind of thing, you can create a seasonal gratitude altar or something similar.
Take an hour to relax and think about all the stuff that has happened in the last year or your lifetime and be thankful. This works especially well if you are setting New Year's resolutions. If you’re feeling a bit negative or down, take some time to process those thoughts and move toward the positive.
7. Host a Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime Hangout
Luckily, thanks to technology, we don't have to feel totally disconnected. Do some browsing and join a hobby group or singles' club (if you're single) or set up a digital hangout with family, friends, or others. You could even host a virtual holiday party!
It's easier than ever nowadays for people to connect virtually, and it's become quite the norm. Establish an ugly sweater party, synchronize a hot chocolate break in the day, or throw a birthday bash. Get creative!
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2020 Brynn B Lewis
Brynn B Lewis (author) from Houston, TX on November 25, 2020:
Hi Nigel, that's nice you find this helpful. I've spent a few holidays alone so I know too.
Nigel Koay from Malaysia on November 13, 2020:
This is very helpful, sometimes i wont be with my family during the holidays, great article!