A reader of my blog recently responded to an article I had written about conducting the Great Christmas Experience Experiment. The post talked about how we can make the holidays in 2020 memorable when so many of our normal activities have been canceled. 

The reader asked, what about those of us who are alone? 

A recent statistic said that one in 5 people may be alone this Christmas. This is for a variety of reasons, one major being the pandemic. 

If you are alone, how can you make this Christmas memorable and not lonely? (Or, if you know someone who will be alone this Christmas, you may get an idea of what you can do for them.)

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  1. Celebrate how you want. You can be traditional, or throw traditions out the window and do something you have never done before.
  2. Consider having at least a few holiday decorations. It may be a couple strands of lights, or a tree. Even a small Charlie Brown Tree can add some brightness to your celebration.
  3. Eat what you want. If you want to be traditional, cook a small ham or cornish game hen, or throw convention out the window and eat sushi. This holiday is about you so pick your favorites and enjoy every bite.
  4. Be indulgent. If you want ice cream, get the good stuff. Same with the chocolate or sushi. Don’t skimp this one day of the year.Treat yourself.
  5. Buy yourself lots of little presents and decide when you want to open them. All at once or sneak one or two a little early. Wrap everything so you have a lot to open. This can include your favorite snacks or a new pair of pajamas to lounge around in.
  6. Schedule a time to open presents with family through Zoom or Skype. This way they can see your reaction and you can see theirs. 
  7. Schedule time to talk with your family and play a game together. There are lots of apps where you use your phone to play with your friends or relatives who are distant such as Among Us and Psyche. 
  8. Listen to some of your favorite music, holiday themed or not. Get up and dance, time to work on some new dance steps before events get going again.
  9. Take some time and write letters to others who may be alone at Christmas, such as those serving in the armed forces or those who have to work on Christmas away from their families such as healthcare workers or police or firefighters. Expressing gratitude takes us out of ourselves and fosters connection with others. 
  10. You can be a Secret Santa for someone who is alone this Christmas. Planning and preparing gifts to give to someone else who will be alone can take away the loneliness of the day.
  11. Pamper yourself. Give yourself a facial, a conditioning hair treatment, or a mani and pedi. Take a bubble bath and soak in the tub with a good book you have been wanting to read.
  12. If you have graves nearby of family members who have passed on, make or buy a wreath to decorate and take it to the graves. Look at pictures of the deceased and consider writing your memories of them.

This year does not look like any other and we can create happy memories that will beat back loneliness and foster connection with others.

Merry Christmas,

Dr. Paul