As the world settles down this week to celebrate Christmas Day this week, just what will you be doing?
Like so many people around the world, will you be spending it with your families and loved ones? Or will you be on your own?
Firstly, let’s acknowledge just how big a thing Christmas has become around the world with even people from other faiths treating this as a day for getting together with family & friends and having a good time.
Like it or not, Christmas Day despite its religious connotations, has become a day for partying, eating, drinking and having a jolly good time (in theory at least) with other people.
At the same time, there will also be many people on their own this Christmas. Some of these people may wonder what all the fuss is about around whilst others may feel they are missing out.
Christmas is clearly a wonderful time for families. But it is also a time when the suicide rate shoots up as it seems to really impact people who are on their own and feel that nobody seems to care about them.
Personally, I feel that there is so much media hype about being with loved ones and friends that you are made to feel there is something “wrong” if you are not spending Christmas Day with other people.
If you are going to be on your own this Christmas, I challenge you to reflect on this question:-
Is it really that bad to be on your own on Christmas Day?
Here are some suggestions for making the most of being on your own this Christmas:-
1. Get clear why you are on your own
A lot of time on Christmas Day people are on their own for practical reasons such as being too far away to travel to visit their family or they have required to work on that day. There are also circumstances such as a relationship break-up or a bereavement that could mean a solitary Christmas.
So the first thing to be aware of is just why are you alone?
2. Be thankful to be away from family
Despite all the hype, not everyone who is with their families and loved ones is actually having a fabulous time!
Whether it is Christmas or not, not all families are all happy and jolly families. Every family has disagreements and fallouts and being in close proximity for a few days around Christmas time it is guaranteed to bring forth any discord and simmering issues.
You may want to consider it a good thing that you are on your own this Christmas
3. Enjoy being on your own
I remember when I broke up after a long term relationship and I chose to be on my own for Christmas Day. Though it was a strange feeling, looking back it was also quite therapeutic.
I actually enjoyed being on my own and the peace and quiet. You can do the same.
Plan your meals and some entertainment such as TV – you can even cook for yourself and celebrate with some champagne if that is your thing. Create an occasion just for yourself.
At the same time, do telephone some friends and family members. Perhaps even invite a neighbour to pop in.
4. Find other people on their own and arrange your own Xmas day festivities
If you are likely to stay at home and wallow in self-pity since you are alone, then don’t! Instead take charge and arrange your own Christmas day festivities.
In a large city like London, there are many other single people spending Christmas on their own, but wherever you are, there will be people on their own just looking for an opportunity to connect with others.
Arrange your own Christmas dinner or throw a spontaneous party. You can of course use social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter to conjure up yuor own impromptu get together.
Of course be selective about who you invite and be very clear and specific about what your guests should bring or not bring. The party doesn’t have to be at your home – it could be some hotel.
5. Call some friends and get invited to their celebration
If you are going to be on your own, then let others know that this is the case. Ask friends what they are doing – and let them subtly know you are going to be on your own.
People are quite generous with sharing their families and Christmas festivities – give them a chance to do so.
Of course do take along a gift or a dish – and let them know in advance of your dietary restrictions if any.
I remember one time when I was invited to a Christmas dinner, and my friends had to quickly rustle up some roast potatoes and salad for me. I had incorrectly assumed they knew I was vegetarian. So make no assumptions and don’t be shy about letting them know your dietary needs.
6. Do something to help others this Christmas
One of the best things you can do if you are alone around Christmas time is to help others.
For example you can help out at a soup kitchen, visit an old people’s home or be available for callers at a crisis support centre. Through your efforts, you will positively impact quite a few lives.
A few years ago I an amazing day delivering Christmas food hampers and gifts to needy families in London. It was a truly humbling experience and I shall always remember the awe, wonder and sheer joy on the faces of little children whose Christmas had just been changed dramatically.
If you ever get a chance to do something similar, please take it up. That Christmas, I felt that I was a better human being than I had been the day before.
The point is that it takes so little to make a difference to others. People may be going through “difficult” times and yet they have so much dignity, love and humanity in them. And to see the innocence, hope and beauty on the faces of the children affected just breaks your heart.
No matter what happens this Christmas, know that only you can give yourself what you want in terms of happiness and joy.
A person can feel really lonely even if they have lots of people around them. Or they can feel completely fulfilled and content even if they are on your own.
So if you happen to be spending this Christmas on your own, look for all the good that will come out of this.
Look for the positive lessons from this experience, see it as part of your personal growth and be thankful for having had this opportunity for some “me-time”.