‘Tis the season for attending parties galore (yes, Zoom celebrations count, too!), decking your halls–and your Christmas tree–with festive decorations, checking out all the magical light displays, and binge-watching classic holiday movies. Not to mention spending Christmas Day (and eve!) listening to holiday songs on repeat, partaking in time-honored traditions, and exchanging thoughtful cards and great gifts with your loved ones (ideally, while wearing matching pajamas).
So it’s no surprise that the prospect of spending Christmas alone–whether for the first time or the twentieth time–can feel, well, not so merry and bright.
But here’s the thing: you’re not alone. The reality is that plenty of people spend their holidays on their own. Some people have demanding work schedules that make it difficult to travel, while others might not have the money for expensive round-trip tickets, or simply want to spend Christmas alone. That’s true in a normal year—but perhaps even more so in 2021, when many of us will be celebrating Christmas without friends or family due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and social distancing guidelines. Here are some tips on how to spend Christmas alone and still make it merry!
start with the obvious, Dive into a book.
Picking up a book (whether it’s a Christmas story, one of the seven reads that help Oprah through tough times, or a gripping thriller), can help you escape into an entirely different reality, and one that you don’t usually have time to explore. Didn’t plan ahead? Download a reading app (psst, Harlequin relaunched a great one for steamy reads) and try out a buzzy best-seller, indulge in a juicy romance novel, or make your way through some of Oprah’s Book Club picks. (We also hear these podcasts have some pretty good suggestions, too.)
Binge all those shows you’ve had no time for.
Haven’t caught up on The Bachelorette? Not enough vacation days to watch Emma Corrin in The Crown or escape to Schitt’s Creek? Surround yourselves with friends, even if they only appear on your tv . There’s a definite comfort in allowing yourself to just put on some fuzzy socks and commit to not changing out of your flannel pajamas all day.
Sweat a little.
While your gym might not be open and it could be too cold for a run, consider starting your morning by streaming a workout video or yoga class. After all, as you’ve heard before, exercise increases endorphins, which will help you kick start your day with your mood already elevated.
Make yourself a dish you loved as a kid.
“In the same way we think of caring for and treating our loved ones for the holidays, bring that same thoughtfulness and intentionality to yourself this Christmas,” says Dr. Leslie Nwoke.
“If you’d normally make a big deal arranging dinner with friends, use that same energy to plan your brunch or dinner that day,” says Nwoke. Treat yourself to something comforting or decadent, like a childhood favorite. And of course, while not everything’s open on Christmas, there’s always takeout.
change your mental narrative.
“Loneliness is a liar. Acknowledging that you are alone for the holidays in no way indicates that no one cares about you or that you will forever be alone,” says Erickson.“There are people in this world that want your time and attention,” she says. Erickson suggests those alone on Christmas combat negative self-created narratives with truth and opportunity. Here’s the truth: You’re alone on Christmas and that’s okay.