I wrote this last year but I wanted to reshare in case you’re spending Christmas Day/ the holiday season solo.
…The other night, as I began to Google, ‘Spending Christmas…’ in a bid to discover potential holiday destinations over the festive season, what followed as the top search was, ‘Spending Christmas… alone’, which took me aback. I’m not naive enough to think everyone spends it with others but to find it was the most entered search term, deeply saddened me..
It reminded me of a girl at uni, many moons ago, who was due to spend Christmas solo, her parents, divorced, her unsure of where to go, and another friend, a student with family overseas, again alone on Christmas Day. I’d invited both girls to spend Christmas with my family and I, in Leeds but both had declined. They’d wanted to spend the day alone they’d said-or perhaps they ended up together, my memory fails me now, but I remember how sad I felt for them, girls in their late teens whiling away that special day, that day that was meant to be spent with loved ones.
That’s how Christmas for Christians has been presented to us well, forever, really, Christmas Day is a day spent with, and dedicated to those you love, a chance to make memories together, eat more than you can consume on any usual day (7000 cals supposedly) a chance to argue with relatives you rarely see at worst or a perfect day to treasure with all the family at best. A chance to give and receive. For that you need more than one person…
Yet so many spend Christmas alone. By choice or not.
Separated parents who now share kids on Christmas, taking it in turn year to year might find themselves alone, or those going through a break-up, now orphaned or with faraway family might find themselves with no one to see on the big day.
And of course, not everyone chooses to be around others either. Many work in the medical and police services too of course, giving up their Christmas to ensure we’re safe and healthy and others want to take time out on the day and do it their way.
A close friend of my father’s opts to chill out on Christmas Day rather than spend it with others/us. Whilst he’s enjoyed lots of family Christmases with us in the past, he tells us he now prefers his own company to simply do as he pleases, without the fuss of travelling anywhere, simply having his Christmas on his own schedule and terms and why not. He loves to catch up on movies he’s been meaning to watch in front of the fire, appreciating this time to unwind while the rest of the world is busy.
Having chatted to others who’ve spent the day alone be it because they live far from home, have separated from partners, are travelling or simply want to go solo, has led me to compile my top 5 tips on ways to spend the day on your own this Christmas.
I hope they help you seize the day.
- Christmas is a day to do what you fancy, a window to watch and listen to exactly what you want without others grabbing the remote or you needing to be somewhere at a specific time. Telly is traditionally awesome on Christmas Day with blockbuster movies usually available on terrestrial channels and gripping TV drama on the box, so get the Radio Times and plan your entertainment marathon in advance. Eat lots, drink yourself merry if you like (another Port? Don’t mind if I do) and enjoy a day off where no one will bother you with emails, cold calls or work questions. It’s the only time ever everyone collectively switches off. I often say I’d love a day alone to do whatever I like. No deadlines or responsibilities. Just me, myself and I. It can be rare, so cherish it.
- Volunteer at local charities and spend the day helping others have a better Christmas this year. Huffington Post have curated all the ways you can help others from Food Banks to Helping the Homeless and beyond. You won’t be alone and even better, you’ll be helping others feel happier this Christmas.
- Roam the empty streets with a camera, capture the sunrise first thing or sunset in the late afternoon, those magic hour photos really are just dreamy. I adore the shot above that Peter my husband took years ago of the view from my parent’s house. He went out for an hour or so solo and just snapped away. Do the same. Simply, revel in the quiet. If you’re lucky enough to have snow where you are on Christmas Day, wrap up warm and get yourself out and exploring making snow prints as you do. Nature is humbling. Appreciate the beauty that surrounds you, (snow makes everything beautiful) and breathe it in. For camera tips on photographing in the snow check out this super post. I personally enjoy a long walk on Christmas morning and vividly remembering hobbling through Richmond Park by our home at the time, heavily pregnant but determined to get some fresh air on the big day. Get out and about where you’ll find lots of other like-minded people strolling, running and cycling no doubt before their mega massive lunch.
- Bake, eat and drink hot chocolate in front of the fire/carpet picnic style. Nothing makes me happier than baking and when I do I batch bake enough treats to open up a bakery of my own. Go get cake inspo on Pinterest and get your bake on Mary Berry style. This chocolate cake of mine is a favourite at Christmas.
- Feel connected via social media. Granted, this could have the opposite effect and make you feel a little lonely as others share their day on there, but Twitter in particular can help you feel connected without a timeline of images. People ‘talk’ more there and you might discover other people in similar situations to you. Twitter was a lifesaver to me back in 2010, helping me through a dark period in my life after my first son was born. It never sleeps and there’s always someone online over there day or night. You are not the only one on your own at Christmas so reaching out to others on social media or on online forums can offer you company, if you feel you need it. Following hashtags for films and telly on the day too makes for an easy way to chat to others.
Of course, if you’re feeling depressed and need to speak to someone, there are people who can help so know you’re not alone. Call the Samaritans for support.