By Claudia: It can feel strange waking up alone on Christmas Day with no pressing reason to get out of bed. The hours will stretch out in front of you; the end of the day as clear as a horizon on a desolated field against a white and blue cloud sky. Where are the usual interruptions? Where are all the cold calls, bills through the post, text messages and group WhatsApp notifications? And why isn’t anyone demanding anything from you? It can take a while to feel at ease with an empty diary.
Loneliness is never too far away and this is especially true when, in the lead-up to 25 December, we’ve been railroaded with images of families packed around dining tables and scenes of children opening presents around a tree. But being alone at Christmas doesn’t have to be a negative experience and it doesn’t mean that you’ve necessarily made a series of bad decisions – this is just how life works out sometimes. Here’s a motto for a solo Christmas Day: being alone and being lonely are not the same thing.
Spending Christmas alone? I am – and I will enjoy it
Many of us – especially those who go out to work – spend most of our lives surrounded by people. The frustration felt in a supermarket queue can feel, at the time, unparalleled, the crush caused by too many people on public transport can be unbearable, and those moments you want some quiet time but have to sit in a room of people can feel overwhelming. Spending Christmas Day alone is a holiday that money can’t buy.
What you should try to do is embrace the emptiness: walk on uncluttered streets, be the only person in the only shop that’s open for miles around, complete tasks without being disturbed, and take your pick of the best views uninterrupted by other pesky humans. These tiny moments afforded by Christmas Day are some of life’s luxuries.
Here are 10 things to do when you find yourself alone on Christmas Day
1. Volunteer. If you’re too late to help out, there are always the smaller ways to directly help the people around you. Calling on a neighbour or starting a conversation with a stranger could be just the thing both of you need on Christmas Day.
2. Christmas Day is a great time to visit and eat at restaurants in Chinatown, and areas with large Bangladeshi, Indian, Turkish and Vietnamese communities. Rebel against traditional Christmas turkey and eat a Turkish lahmacun.
3. Make use of the empty streets and take photographs. You can even set up the self-timer and walk away because no one will be around to steal your camera.
4. Forget that it’s Christmas Day altogether, and do whatever you would usually do on a day off. Campaigners have fought, and continue to fight hard, for the freedoms we enjoy today. Go flex your right to do whatever you please.
5.Stop putting unreasonable pressure on yourself to be happy during the holidays. When you have legitimate reasons for being happy, acknowledge them and be gentle with yourself.
6. Make an effort to be more physically active. Physical activity is one of the best ways to make yourself feel better. Recent research indicates that exercise stimulates the production of endorphins, mood-elevating chemicals produced by the body. Take a walk, go to the gym, get out in the country, or take on a project that calls for physical activity.
7. Set limitations. Realize that it isn’t going to be easy. Do the things that are very special and /or important to you. Do the best you can.
8. Look for someone before hand who might also be alone, to share the day with.
9. Paint your home or apartment. Do some project, especially if it is physical and can keep your mind busy. Pay your bills, write letters, etc.
10. Celebrate yourself, and therefore the Universe, and know that “being alone” is just an illusion, you’re still connected to the fabric of love that makes all possible.
I myself have spent one Christmas alone as well as a few Thanksgivings. Certain members in my extended family (which is a large family) felt that I had too many problems to be included. It is not uncommon for family members to avoid us when our lives aren’t going well. It doesn’t hurt any less however.
I remember that same Christmas, my father actually sent out Christmas cards to all the members in the family – all my cousins, my aunt and uncle…everyone but me, his own daughter. Ouch! I was “bad” because I could not get my life together and I believed that lie at the time.
One thing that did help was psyching myself out, telling myself that it was just another day.
Another thing that is important to remember, is that you may not, like I was, be in good enough emotional shape to be able to do all the above activities. That’s all right. You can only do what you can do. You do not need to put further guilt upon yourself. Know what your limits are.
You will find that you will survive this and believe me, you will be relieved when the holidays are over.
I remember what an old friend of mine who was undergoing a divorce, said about facing his first Christmas alone. He said “Holidays are cruel and the people that created them are cruel and mean. This is the worst time in my life and I’ll be dead before they are over.” Well, he did survive the holidays and the one after that and the one after that and it got easier.
“When we walk to the edge of all
the light we have, and take
that step into the darkness of
We must believe that one of two
things will happen.
There will be something solid for
us to stand on….or….
We will learn to fly.”
I will be on line to talk you if you need me. Cheers up:)
Love and light,