So with the holidays looming around the corner, most, if not all of us have already made our plans to be with family or friends. In case you didn’t, or can’t or, well, won’t—here’s how you can have a Merry Christmas all by your lonesome self…
Paul Tillich said, “Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone.” And wasn’t he right? You can be lonely in a room full of people. And despite Christmas being all about family, friends, and crowds in general, sometimes one Yuletide spent with nothing but your lonesome self for company can end up being a beautiful day indeed. Some of us may choose to be alone; for some it’s a harsh and depressing reality of the holidays—and still, for others, it’s just wrong timing.
That said, there’s no reason why you cannot spend a perfectly good Christmas all by yourself—doing good, spreading joy, and slaking that inner imp in you as well. I have spent not one but a couple of Christmases and other special days alone, and I look back at them with a fairly fond remembrance. Those days of being with just myself taught me a lot and made me value both my friends and family, but more importantly, the utter joy of solitude.
For those of you who practice meditation, the sound of silence on such a busy day as this can attune you to your inner self so that it’s like a crescendo of mind, heart, and soul all being together on the same plane—in pure solidarity and oneness. The only words I can use to describe this feeling: unadulterated and transcendental joy. Here’s what you can do for Christmas when you are home alone, or just plain alone…
Wake Up & Smile
No one to smile at, you say? Well, look into the mirror. Happiness doesn’t always bring in smiles. Sometimes we have to smile, laugh, and chortle our way into happiness. So if the rays of sunshine aren’t quite doing the trick, write down all the funniest incidents of your life or just rerun them in your head. The hilarious prank you pulled off, the funniest thing your kids said, or the coolest thing your parents ever did. Watch a few old videos if you have them handy, or look at those photographs on the laptop—chances are, a smile will crack through those stoic layers.
Count Your Blessings
Christmas is the day to be grateful, be thankful, and celebrate the joy of being. So write down all that you are thankful for—the people in your life, the health you enjoy, the good that you do…For today you can put all those good eggs in one basket and as you see your list grow, the world will seem so much brighter. And in case you are still feeling blue, here’s a trick I use: Write down something you don’t like in your life with a “but” following it. For instance: I don’t like being alone on Christmas but I am thankful for the big, large, and loud family I have. Or, I hate traveling on Christmas but I am thankful to be spending it in Paris, the city of love…And while you are at it, shoot off messages and emails to loved ones near and far.
Get On With Breakfast
Be generous with the calories today. There’s nothing like good food to really get you going with that good mood. So go crazy. Travel to the end of town to get to that one place that serves the craziest of pancakes with the most scrumptious eggs. Or eat sushi for breakfast if you want. Or pig out on a steak or an organic veggie platter if that’s more to your liking. You’ll feel better on a full stomach and a pleased palate.
Plan A Few Good Things
What does Christmas mean to you? Generosity? Mixed in with little tidbits to please yourself? So let’s do the generosity and giving thing first. If you are alone in a familiar city, go to the local shelter and offer your services for a few hours. If time is not on your side and money is, buy some simple essentials from a department store and donate them to a nearby charity or charity store. Short on finances? Visit the sick kids in a hospital and make them laugh with a few tricks or jokes, or go spend time with the elderly in a hospice or a retirement home. Else, buy a bag of treats and hand them around to the children you see with a Merry Christmas and a Ho-Ho-Ho! In case they ask, you are on special Santa duty today…If you put a little thought behind it, you can always do a few good deeds on Christmas—time, money, and the unfamiliarity of a place notwithstanding.
Bring Some Joy To Yourself, Too
Now it’s time to spread the joy yourself. Think hard about what you like doing. Reading, TV binging, or just walking a lot? Love movies or love animals? Do you want to be with a crowd or home alone in your jammies, watching chick flicks and stuffing pastry in your mouth? Whatever gives you joy, do that—today don’t think about what the world would say. Got for a four-hour walk dressed in your finest. Or binge-watch movies at the local theatre. Or play ball with your pet till he’s all wrung out. Be yourself with yourself and you’ll end up having a great time. Pig out on a yummy lunch and dinner—you don’t have to have Christmas fare; in fact, you can eat whatever you like. If it were up to me, I’d have sushi and chocolate cake for all three of my meals, and finish off dinner with a frothy apple cider and liqueur chocolates…
And that’s it. Being alone may not be the easiest thing but it doesn’t have to be the roughest, toughest, or the most complicated thing either. It’s a phase and like everything else, it too shall pass. So we might as well make the merriest most out of it!