The internet is filled with articles on ‘how to spend Christmas alone’, from tips to stay in your pyjamas all day eating chocolate, to advice telling you to be extra productive, there are many opposing suggestions on how to be alone over the holiday period.
Ultimately, though, the experience of spending Christmas alone will depend on why you are spending it alone, whether you have experienced a solo Christmas before, and how you feel in general about being alone.
Alone does not always mean lonely- though for many, at this time of year, it can feel that way. Perhaps this is a moment to write down how you personally feel about how you will be spending your Christmas. Remind yourself, it is ok not to be ok.
This year was going to be the first year I properly celebrated Christmas, having grown up in a culture which did not partake in its celebration. I had plans of staying in a cosy winter cottage with some of my queer chosen family.
Whether you are spending the season alone by choice, or because of other factors, here are eight suggestions to help you shape your solo Christmas into one you can enjoy.
- Clean and tidy your space before Christmas day
A clear space does wonders for our mental health; it makes us feel safe. Try putting on some music for an hour or two, whilst you clean and organise. Change your sheets, and make your space feel fresh. It’s one less thing to do on the day!
2. Decorate your space
Even a small bit of festive sparkle can lift your spirits and remind you that you can still feel festive alone. Buying yourself some Christmas chocolates is also a nice thing over the festive period, and why wait for someone else to do it?
3. Do a Christmas food shop
Food is one of the joys of Christmas. I am an advocate for comfort food all year round, in all seasons, but especially at Christmas. Who says you can’t have a roast for one? Indulge in some treats that remind you of happy times. No rules! Just something you will enjoy.
4. Plan a flexible itinerary for Christmas day
Rules are made to be broken, however, having a plan may make you feel more secure in spending Christmas alone. Perhaps this is the year you pick the novel you will ‘read every Christmas’. Maybe you plan to spend the day watching a series, going on a long walk, or calling various friends and loved ones. Whatever your plan is, have a think about it and write it down before the day.
5. Buy yourself some gifts
You can even wrap them! Whatever money allows, even if you purchase things you need. Buying yourself things can feel silly or irregular for this time of year, but it may make all the difference on the day, and it is absolutely deserved.
6. Make yourself a Christmas Day playlist
This doesn’t have to be Christmas songs. Just a playlist of songs you love, which are guaranteed to lift your mood. It is lovely to make a playlist which makes you feel comforted; perhaps you can group together with some friends or family and ask them to add songs they love too.
7. Show that you care from afar
Sending gifts, perhaps a little hamper of affordable gifts or a handwritten letter, can show those you love that you care. Prepare a Christmas quiz or, if you have had enough of quizzes in 2020 (you are not alone), choose a movie to watch together online. Thankfully, with the events of this year, the world has become far more equipped for us to stay connected from afar. So use those tools to your advantage and resist the urge to isolate yourself.
8. Ignore all suggestions and do what you like!
Ultimately, as much as many of us love it, Christmas day is just a day. There is pressure to be joyous throughout the season- and even in an average year, that can be hard to live up to. Keep your plans loose, and remember to stay connected and to be kind to yourself.
I hope this can be a Christmas of self-compassion and treating yourself, especially if you are spending it alone. Remember, you are not obliged to make a solo Christmas into a positive experience. Honestly, this is hard even without the pressure of the pandemic.
It can, though, be a calm, cosy time for reflection, and it is possible to use it as a time to unwind, and prepare for a new year- a new year which, hopefully, will end with us all far better able to safely see those we love .