5 Tips for Spending Christmas Alone
Well, it's hard to believe it, but Christmas is almost upon us again. And for some people, the holiday season is a wonderful time of year to spend with their families, kids, and friends. Unfortunately, for a growing number of individuals, Christmas is actually a depressing time of year—one that they'd rather avoid. There can be many reasons for this, but the underlying theme usually revolves around loneliness.
For a single person, going to a Christmas party alone, decorating the tree alone, or not having a family to open gifts with is, in fact, understandably depressing. Even though a single person may have friends that he or she can spend some of the holidays with, feelings of being a "third wheel" often come up unless one is lucky enough to find friends who also have no real family obligations.
If you're spending Christmas alone this year, you might wonder how you wound up in this situation while everyone else around you appears to have loved ones to spend their time with. However, this may not be the best time to wallow in self-pity and get all philosophical. Instead, take heed of these five tips to make your Christmas easier.
1. Work Over Christmas
If you're looking for a way to distract yourself from your loneliness over the holidays, consider working as much as possible if you have the option.
If you work in an industry that keeps going over Christmas such as the healthcare field, you might be able to volunteer to work (getting paid, of course) so that your co-workers with kids can have time off. I'm certainly not suggesting here that co-workers with kids have any more right to their holiday time off than you do, but if you want to distract yourself, working could be the way to go.
And if you're lucky enough to get paid extra for working Christmas, all the better for you! I happen to be one of those people and plan on taking advantage of it this year.
2. Decorate Anyway
Sure, if you live alone, you might be the only one who gets to see your Christmas decorations, but that's okay! Definitely go all out on the decorations if it's your thing, but even if you don't feel like it, pick a few small things to try such as hanging a wreath on your door, getting a small tree (artificial if you like), or stringing a few cards across your living room.
Just because you're spending Christmas alone doesn't mean that you don't have a right to bask in the "Christmas-y" feel that decorations provide.
I really do suggest you make a few small decorations even if you don't feel like it, but if you really don't feel like it, that's your prerogative! I've actually gotten a bit of slack from friends (who don't have to spend Christmas alone, of course) for not getting a tree. Talk about annoying!
3. Are You Really That Alone?
Even though you might think you have no one to spend Christmas with this year, if you're really honest with yourself, you might find that you're exaggerating just a bit. Most people—albeit not everyone—can find at least a friend or family member or two to spend a little bit of time with over the holidays.
Put your thinking cap on! Maybe you have a neighbor who will also be alone this year. It might be cliché, but why not make a batch of Christmas cookies for him or her? Elderly neighbors are especially appreciative of this! Also, maybe there's someone at work this year who will be alone. Once you get to thinking about it, you realize that there are many people in the same boat.
Being alone over Christmas is not pleasant, but try to keep in mind that there are still those out there who are less fortunate than you. This is not about failing to recognize your own struggles but about trying to gain perspective!
If you have some free time over the holidays, why not volunteer at the food bank or local soup kitchen? While I don't volunteer over Christmas, one of the things I've enjoyed doing the past few years is to go out and buy about $100 worth of food for the food bank. I don't have any kids to spend my money on, and it is actually fun to see how many non-perishables I can get out of that amount.
5. Better Luck Next Year!
Again, getting too philosophical over Christmas might not be the best way to go if you're alone. But after the New Year is over and things settle down, you might want to reflect on where you are in your life. Being alone and having no one to spend Christmas with certainly does not make you a failure. There are many reasons why we can end up this way!
But if you know for sure that you hate spending Christmas alone, then start early for next year. For example, if you live away from your family, perhaps you can visit with them next Christmas—start making plans early! Or, if you're on the market for a significant other, make that extra bit of effort to put yourself out there this year. I know it's not easy, but it could be worth the effort!