Holidays are great for families and friends, but there are many individuals who for whatever reason may find themselves alone for the holidays. Once again in our own family, our youngest son who is in the marines has spent Thanksgiving, his birthday and Christmas without anyone in our family.
I remember when I was single due to divorce. Being at home alone was enjoyable because I valued my privacy and quiet time. However, there was something about the holidays that caused me to feel lonely. Watching holiday movies or watching others celebrate with family and friends caused me to have flashbacks about what the holidays used to be like. Hearing of other’s holiday plans makes your plans to be along sound extremely depressing. Sometimes nostalgia may crepe in to the point we wish we had not made the changes in our lives because of our newfound holiday blues.
When you really think about it, we are really talking about Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and maybe New Year’s Eve/Day. Three or four little measly days, that will come and go before you know it. So, what can you do to handle your concerns about being alone during the holidays? Here are some suggestions that may be helpful for you.
1. Plan ahead. There is no way the holidays can catch you by surprise. They come the same time every year. Find others who may be alone and plan to do something together. Look in the newspaper or search the internet for events in your area that may be fun for singles. If you decide you want to be by yourself, find something to do that you enjoy doing alone and have fun by yourself. It’s a great time to read a book or watch your favorite Christmas movies.
2. Create your own alternative family. Believe it or not there are others around you who may be experiencing the same feelings. Pick up the phone and make plans to have a potluck or a tree decorating party.
3. Get out of your surroundings. If being at your home alone makes you feel even lonelier, plan a mini-cation. A friend of mine treats herself and takes a cruise every year during the holidays and she has a blast. Travel somewhere warm, where it won’t even feel like the holidays.
4. Have an electronic virtual holiday. Send out texts to friends and coworkers wishing them happy holidays. Pick up the phone and call someone you haven’t talked to in a long time. Have a skype conversation or a face-time conversation with friends or family who live out of town. Find a great message or picture to put on Facebook/Twitter or Instagram and tag your cyber friends.
5. Decide that you are going to be a blessing to someone else. Find a local shelter or ministry that is serving dinner to the less fortunate and volunteer your time to help out. Find something to give back to your church or community that will occupy your time. For example, I visit an elderly friend of mine every Christmas Eve and wrap all of her presents.
Yes, being alone during the holidays can be tough and lonely. But remember, loneliness is a state of mind. Many times we feel lonely because we have set unrealistic expectations. Don’t add additional stress to your life by having impossible expectations about what the holiday should be. Focus on the things that you can control and most of all, don’t expect others to bring you happiness for the holidays.
Hopefully you have found something that will work for you. If not, remember, “This too shall pass.” Always remember you are never really alone. Deuteronomy 31:8 reminds us: "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
Focus your mind on the real reason for the season which is the birth of Jesus, keep your head up and before you know it, it’s a brand new year! Happy Holidays!
Janice R Love, Author
First Lady, Mom, Stepmom and Divorce Ministry Coach