|The Advice Sisters|
So much has happened since we wrote that article! My sister is gone, and one by one, the rest of my immediate family has passed away, too. So my own family has dwindled to just my wonderful husband and two cats. I feel the loss of the rest of my immediate family every day, but the feeling is magnified on those big holidays that most of us celebrate this time of year. So, since today is Christmas, I wanted to share this ‘How to Handle the Holidays, Solo or Not” article that Jessica and I wrote together as my gift to you. If you are alone and it’s not by choice, I hope some of the advice will cheer you. And, if you are lucky enough to be surrounded by family and friends, take a moment to reflect on your “riches.” Take a moment to leave a comment at the end of this post!
The two of you were planning the holidays together, but now there has been a change of plans. You’ll be away on business or you are stationed overseas, and there’s no way you can’t get home. You’ve pushed your credit too far this year to justify that ticket that brings you closer to family and friends. Suddenly, it seems that everyone has plans to be together for the holidays, except for you!
If you find yourself solo this holiday season, there is no reason to feel left out, or sit at home! Here are some ideas from THE ADVICE SISTERS® to make the holiday joyful, solo or not!
PLAN AHEAD: the sound of silence seems to be magnified on Christmas and New Years Eve. Try to pre-arrange a time to call family and friends..it will give you (and them) something to look forward to. Conversely, let people know that you will be home alone, and you’d really appreciate a call. Make a few, definite plans so you will know you’ve got somewhere to go and someone to see. Get foods you enjoy. You don’t have to eat Turkey or a roast just because “Mom” always made it. If you feel like vegetable curry or chicken noodle soup…go for it! Stock up on movies that inspire you or make you laugh. “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” are two of my favorites, and you can usually get these “on demand” or from Netflix.
KEEP BUSY: Volunteer: This is my favorite suggestion all year long. Giving back is the best way to feel good and do good for others. Help deliver meals to the seniors, shut-ins, and those who can’t afford a holiday feast on their own. The love and gratitude you will experience will keep you warm all season long, and put your own situation in better perspective. Help at a holiday party for the needy children, or serve meals at a shelter or soup kitchen. You’ll be with other loving, caring people keeping busy so the time speeds by. If you are single, get involved with something larger than yourself, and you could be ringing in the New Year with a potential new love!
DECORATE: Create your own atmosphere of holiday cheer. Decorate your personal space at home and at work with seasonal decorations to add cheer to your surroundings. It isn’t too late to decorate–and most decorations are going to be offered at deep discounts by tomorrow!
ENTERTAIN: If you didn’t host a holiday party before your friends took off for the their holiday destinations, call up those who are alone today, and get together. If you live in an apartment building you already know who is probably home, alone. Ring a neighbor’s bell and bring them a box of Christmas cookies. If you planned ahead, you might consider joining or hosting an ‘eating & meeting” party where everyone who is alone brings someone else to lunch, brunch, or dinner. You will all know at least one person and you’ll meet new people. This is a fun way to get together every week or month as well as at the holidays.
GET A PET: If you’ve been planning to get a pet, this is a good time to choose that grateful, furry friend and spend your holidays getting to know one another. A pet is a sure-fire way to feel loved, unconditionally, 365 days a year. Ring in the New Year with a furry bundle of cheer and you will never feel alone. You’ll have the added joy of knowing that you saved a life. *never adopt unless you have love to give your new pet for a lifetime.
DINE WITH OTHER SOLO PEOPLE: Even if the idea of “singles events” make your knees weak, consider joining a singles-only party for a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, or on New Years’ Eve. It’s not “festive” to be solo when everyone else in the room is coupled up. These events offer companionship, conversation, and if you are hoping for a new love, you just might find it. If nothing else, everyone there is in the same boat…and grateful for your company.
GET ON THE NET: Skype and web cams make the world a little smaller. But if you can’t hook up with friends and family that way, just surf the net. No matter where you are in the world, someone is bound to be in a chat room or Facebook or Twitter or other social media sites, hoping to connect and spread some “cheer.” You can tweet with me @advicesisters, for example. However, be safe and sensible as you’d be any other day of the year. You don’t know who is on the other side of your computer screen so don’t reveal too much personal information or intimate feelings to strangers.
STAY STRONG: If you get sad or upset, remember that each day is just 24 hours and then it’s over! Make the most of the time you have today, because who knows what tomorrow will bring?
Never squander your time!
Copyright ©Alison Blackman Dunham. All rights reserved. The Advice Sisters is a registered United States trademark. No content may be used or copied with written permission. If you want to use my work, please obtain it legally. For more information, Email Me. You can show your interest and support by subscribing to this blog. Several options are available on the right hand side of this blog. Also, you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter (@advicesisters). You can also read and subscribe to my National Luxury Lifestyles Column on the Examiner.com.