Relephant Read: Why Loneliness is considered a Good Thing in the Buddhist Tradition.
For most people Christmas Day is a day to spend with people.
Sometimes, that means a lot of people (One year, I went to a family dinner with 30 people in attendance). For many, just the mere idea of spending Christmas alone is enough to send them into a panic. However, it does happen. Sometimes it is a deliberate decision and other times, things just happen.
For instance, one year, I worked at a job that required me to be back to work the next day, and I could not make it to North Carolina to visit my family. While I cannot say it was the best Christmas I ever had, it wasn’t the worst either. In fact, there were some surprising advantages to spending Christmas alone.
For those that happen to find themselves in a similar boat, here are some tips to make the most of your solo Christmas Day:
1. Set a goal for the day.
By goal, I mean decide what you want to do today even if your goal is to stay in your PJs all day and catch up on your NetFlix queue. It may sound silly, but if you set a goal your less likely to think of this as a “wasted day.” Rather, this is your day off. How often do we get to say that especially those of us who work in traditional 9-5 jobs? A day off is always reason in my book to celebrate.
2. Take the time to reflect on your accomplishments and any possible New Year’s resolutions.
It can be easy to focus on the negative especially if your goal wasn’t to spend Christmas alone, but it’s more productive to focus on what did go well. In my case (when I spent Christmas alone), I was thankful I landed my first real job even though my professional commitment to it meant I had to forgo Christmas with my family.
Also, while many wait until the last few days of the year to work on New Year’s resolutions, thinking about them ahead of time can allow you to tweak them or even discard or add new ones as to ponder just how realistic they are and how committed you are to accomplishing them. Plus, a week gives you time to accomplish any resolutions you may have at the beginning of the year and just never got around to. (After all, a lot can happen in a week.)
3. Enjoy the silence.
As joyful as the holidays can be, they can also be a time of great stress. For some, they can be downright awful because it requires them to be around people they really don’t want to spend time with, but feel obligated to do so. Perhaps you have even experienced this yourself.
Therefore, think of yourself as lucky: you don’t have to do anything today that you don’t want to. You don’t have to please anyone but yourself. Plus, the sound of silence can be a gift especially since this tends to be a noisy time in general: i.e., endless Christmas carols, ads on the TV and radio about Christmas shopping, TV specials, etc. Sometimes, it’s nice to take a break from all that.
Spending Christmas alone doesn’t have to feel like a punishment or jail sentence. Indeed, it may even have its advantages and be an unexpected gift of sorts.
In any case, whether you spend Christmas with yourself or with 100 people, it’s a time to allow love and thanks in your life. The best thing is, no one else needs to be around you to allow that to happen.
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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum