There are thousands of people spending the holidays alone. Some by choice. Others, ehhh… not so much. The first year of my marriage, I woke up alone on Christmas morning. My siblings were not tugging at me to wake up and open gifts at the crack of dawn, my mother wasn’t in the kitchen starting our early morning breakfast and my phone was absolutely dry – not one text or phone call from anyone.
I had never been alone on Christmas. I was twenty-three, my husband was on his way back from overseas, my family was thousands of miles away and I was holding down the fort back home waiting to bring in the new year in good company at least. I had a healthy interpretation of the holidays and being surrounded by love was everything to me! Then the feeling of guilt flooded my body. There were people going through a lot worse and here I am acting like a big ass baby. I knew what I was feeling was real but I had to find a way to make the holidays my own. With that, I found peace that holiday season in the practice of these three things:
- No expectations, no disappointments – Every mall, department store and front porch has Christmas music buzzing in the air and lights as distracting as fireworks. I mean, even the gas station has festive candy and maybe a table top tree posed next to the register as you utter “$40 on pump 3”. It almost seems like there is no where you can turn that Christmas is not leaking into your entire soul. But that is just the problem. Once it settles itself, you begin to question your entire life. Why don’t I have gifts neatly wrapped under the tree from others? Wait, why don’t I have a tree?Why am I single? What am I doing with my life? AHHHHH! Drop the expectation! Even the smiling families in commercials and the couple getting engaged in Hallmark movies wish their lives were a script written as such. I urge you to acknowledge that and relish in your solitude. Finding things that make you happy and maybe even creating a healthy tradition of your own.
- Volunteer – There are a ton of things going on during Christmas that can allow you to interact with others by helping to make their holidays brighter. It is a totally different sense of happiness when spreading joy to others. Get involved with holiday food kitchens, gift donations and or donating warm coats, blankets or hotel sized toiletries to those on the street this holiday. Inspiration and strength comes from helping individuals who are surviving much more than Christmas alone.
- Be the best company that you can keep – I totally already wrote a blog post about this topic but I cannot stress its importance enough! Run a warm bath, pour a cup of your favorite tea (or coffee) and lounge on the couch in some warm socks. Catch up on your favorite shows or create Christmas cards to send out with the mail in the morning. Just enjoy the solitude instead of identifying it as loneliness because no one is around.
The holidays can be brutal on our pockets, minds and emotions. I do not want to say that these tips will take away your loneliness as a whole but I do hope it can help you through January 1st with a level head. Happy Holidays!