Finding soul in solitary
Brooke Broadbent, MA
Many people either choose to spend the holidays alone or end up that way as a matter of circumstance. Here are a few ways to make them special for you alone.
Many people either choose to spend the holidays alone or end up that way as a matter of circumstance. A solitary celebration is a great opportunity to create the holiday of your dreams. Here are a few ways to make the holidays a special time for you alone.
For my parents and their generation, spending Christmas or Hanukkah alone was a tragedy. As a result we often had strangers at our holiday table—people who my mother knew would be spending the holidays alone. My mother meant well, but I wonder how our guests felt about joining our family when they were lonely for their loved ones and wishing they were with them, not us.
Today things are very different and spending time alone over the holidays can be a rewarding experience. A holiday does not need to be shared with others to be celebrated. It simply needs to be enjoyed at home—wherever that may be. If you were to write a song entitled “I’ll Be Home for the Holiday,” what would home be for you? An activity? A place? A state of mind? Something else? Remember, it’s your home, your holiday—your dream.
There are no rules about what makes a perfect holiday celebration. It is billed as a time for reflection, renewal, love, and joy. Maybe that’s not where you are this year. That’s fine. Be fully present with where you are, and you will realize your dreams.
10 tips for a solitary holiday
What can you do if you’re alone for the holidays?
1: Embrace being alone
Recall times when you wanted to be alone. What was it you wanted to do, to say, to be? Here’s your chance. Read the book that keeps slipping to the bottom of the pile. Watch the DVD you’ve heard others rave about. Listen to music you love for as long as you want. Make the recipe to die for.
2: Embrace being with others
Attend holiday season church services. Volunteer at a local shelter. Hang out in places others congregate. Be open to meeting new people and you will.
3: Embrace your future
Think about what you want to create for next year. Collage your new reality. Keep the collage in a prominent place by your desk, in your bedroom, in your kitchen, or wherever else works for you. Tell others about it. You’ll be surprised at how collages help create the future you dream of.
4: Embrace your past
Write a New Year’s letter to your friends. Follow up with them, and foster closer relationships during the winter. That way, if you don’t want to be alone next year, you will have other options.
5: Update your online dating profile
What is it you are seeking in a relationship? Articulate it in your profile. Positive affirmations work!
6: Find the professional photographer in your heart
Take special pictures. They can reflect a holiday theme, humour, the emotions you are living, or anything else you dream of. Create an album or scrapbook online or on paper. Share it with people you care about.
7: Create a spa day
A warm bath, massage oil, soft towels, warm mulled wine, soft music, and special foods help to create a special day—a celebration of you, for you, by you. And you can do it anywhere. Alone.
8: Get active
Go skiing. Dance in your living room. Walk. Hike. Rev up your heart rate. Breathe the fresh air. Enjoy physical activity.
9: Enjoy knowing you don’t have to do anything
Maybe you don’t need to plan anything, do anything, or be anything. Just sleep. Read. Make a few connecting phone calls. Write a few special emails. Or not.
10: Be you
... be fully you.