The holidays are upon us once again, and for many, it’s a time of the year they spend alone. There are many reasons this occurs, whether it be because we can’t afford to go home, or we have no “home” to travel to. Sometimes we just find ourselves alone for the holidays.
I’ve been alone for Thanksgiving, and I’ve been alone for Christmas. Sure, it’s easy to fall into a funk and begin to feel sorry for yourself and your situation. Sometimes it was by choice, and other times it wasn’t. In any case, when I was alone for Thanksgiving, I found a way to make the most of my situation and looked at it with from a very short-term perspective — I may be alone this year, but who knows what will happen by next year.
It’s also a great time to do something completely different and go outside of your comfort zone or shell of security. If you’ve never volunteered at a food bank or kitchen, give it a try. Gather together a few fellow co-worked or friends you think are also going to be alone for the holidays and throw your own little holiday pot-luck dinner. Sometimes the plans made at the last minute can be the most fun and exciting.
One year when I was alone for the holidays, I spent a day helping out at a local food bank. It wasn’t something I ordinarily do, and I’m always a little nervous going into a situation that I’ve never been in before. But it was great — it took my mind off of being alone for the day. It helps that I often feel at my best when I’m doing something, anything. I like to help others, too, so this was the best of both worlds for me.
Other people might not enjoy volunteering, and I understand that. So here are 10 other suggestions you can try if you’re alone for Thanksgiving or Christmas. And if none of those things float your boat, well, here are even more suggestions on how to make the holidays a little less lonely. Remember, you can be alone for the holidays and not have to feel lonely.
And if you feel like you’re missing out on the ideal holiday Hallmark scene, it helps to be brought back to reality. For most families, holidays are often a time of stress combined with a time of togetherness. It’s not all flowers and sunshine, and some people absolutely dread getting together with their family because of family expectations of “togetherness.”
That’s part of the problem — this sense of “togetherness” comes part and parcel with the holidays. As psychologist Dr. Elaine Rodino noted in this article about coping with the holidays, “There’s so much hype for this wonderful time of togetherness, that it accentuates the feeling of being alone and disconnected.”
Although we may sometimes feel very much alone in the world, we are the makers of our own reality and feelings. If you’re alone this Thanksgiving or Christmas, change your expectations — change something up this holiday season — and you can change your holiday from one of feeling lonely and sorry for yourself, to one of feeling alone — but content.