We have this perception that holidays are characteristically a time to spend with family and friends but some of us will be spending Christmas alone. Due to distance, travel cost, work commitments or strained relationships, not everyone has the luxury of listening to their grandma’s endless stories or fighting cousin Bob for dibs on the turkey leg. In fact, some of us don’t even have a partner to share this time with, making the season feel a bit lonely.
If you find yourself flying solo over the holidays, know that you’re not alone in your situation. Plenty of people are spending Christmas alone! However, being alone doesn’t have to mean feeling lonely. There are many things you can do to make the holiday season merry and bright. These five solo celebration ideas will get you started.
1. Volunteer Your Time
There are worse things than spending Christmas alone. There’s homelessness, for example, and you can do something about it. Giving to those who have less can give you perspective on your own life. Whether you volunteer your time at a soup kitchen or another organization, or log some hours researching charitable organizations to which you can give money, the act of volunteering and donating will enrich your holiday season—and your very existence. You may just discover a passion for giving back or make new connections with people you otherwise would have never met.
2. Have a Get-Together With Friends
Connect with others who will be spending the holidays alone. If no one in your immediate circle is free, reach out to your social networks to see if you can find acquaintances or friends of friends who would like to meet up and celebrate together (or do something decidedly non-holiday-ish) instead. You might also choose to host a celebration with your friends before or after the holidays as a way to ring in the season. Chances are that many of your pals will be free.
3. Take a Solo Vacation
Get out of town and opt out of the holiday season. Choose a country that celebrates in a totally different way so you can experience another culture’s interpretations of the holidays or pick a place that doesn’t celebrate at all if you’d rather just completely detach. Going far from home will give you a healthy distance from feeling alone and you’ll feel revived by immersing yourself in a new place.
4. See a Movie (or Five)
Make a list of all the films you’d like to see over the holidays and get yourself to the theater. You’ll be transported to new worlds without having to travel at all. Plus, being at the movies will take your mind off of the fact that you’re spending Christmas alone, which may be all you need to make the holidays more bearable. Remember that most people are obligated to make small talk with relatives they don’t really like while you’re enjoying some freshly popped popcorn and candy.
5. Adopt a Furry Friend
You may feel lonely during the holidays, but pets at animal shelters feel lonely year round! The holidays are the best time to rescue an animal. Believe it or not, shelters often become overrun with older dogs and cats as people trade in their aging pets for puppies or kittens. (Horrible, but sadly true.) Head down to your local shelter and provide a holiday miracle for an abandoned pet. Your heart will be full and you will no longer be spending Christmas alone.