The prospect of spending the holiday season on your own can be downright underwhelming. If you can’t visit your family this year, you might feel a little down and not in a particularly festive frame of mind. But as frustrating as that might be, there are ways to make the holiday special — even if you may have to skip opening up Christmas gifts in the immediate company of your nearest and dearest.
That could involve making the most of the occasion in your own special way and creating a tradition that’s all your own, or it could mean connecting with your loved ones virtually and establishing a new precedent for those rare occasions when the family simply can’t be together. In the modern world, nearly anything is possible, and there’s no reason why this can’t be a meaningful holiday, even if the circumstances are a bit different. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind.
Sure, spending time with one another on camera has a decidedly different ring to it — but because it brings you together with the people you love the most, you can overlook the impersonal nature of it all and revel in the fact that in the 21st century, you can easily be with your family members in far-flung locations no matter where on the planet you might happen to be.
Make it special by planning a few different virtual holiday gatherings. If you love to bake, maybe you and your family members who enjoy cooking can all meet the day before Christmas and cook with each other virtually. Get into the spirit of the season by breaking out your favorite Christmas kitchen and dining pieces. Place that festive tablecloth on the table (yes, even if you’re the only one sitting there) and put on some holiday tunes. If not now, when?
On Christmas morning, things may feel especially different if you’re used to the pleasant chaos of family surrounding you as they excitedly open their presents. The television blares in the background, someone is whipping up something delicious in the kitchen, and there’s a general feeling of merriment in the air. While all of these may be a bit dull when you’re on your own, you can still enjoy the next best thing by arranging to connect with your loved ones as they open their gifts.
This will feel especially good if you sent your nieces, nephews, or other young relatives gifts and watch to watch the delight on their faces. You’ll know right away how much they loved that cool backpack, the hottest toy of the moment, or the trendy kicks they’ve been eyeing for months. And you can savor the experience of opening up your own gifts in front of family, too. It may not be quite as good as being together in person, but this is an easy way to show how appreciative you are in the moment.
What does your ideal Christmas look like? If you know that you can’t be with your family, then you may feel a little bit low — but try not to let that be the reason you can’t enjoy your day. The idea this year may be to establish a few new traditions that are yours and yours alone. Think about what might make the day more meaningful to you. If you love to cook, you could prepare your favorite food, for example. If you absolutely adore holiday movies, have a marathon film fest and enjoy every single one uninterrupted.
Now is also a good time to break out the Christmas decorations and introduce some joy and festivity to your environment. You don’t necessarily need to be around others to enjoy the beauty of a tree or the twinkle of lights. Hang a wreath on the front door, line your mantel with fresh greenery, and place little holiday accents around your home. Indeed, it’s not quite the same as it is when there are others around, but if you love the season, then there’s no reason you can’t enjoy every aspect of it even when you’re on your own. Make the most of the season!
No matter what the time of year, it simply feels good to do something kind for others. During the holiday season, it’s especially thoughtful to consider how you can be of service to someone in need. Look for volunteer opportunities in your area with soup kitchens, animal shelters, or food banks. Not only does this allow you to help people, but it also keeps your social connectivity strong during a period when you may otherwise feel a bit lonely.
Think about opportunities to treat others to little gifts, too. This is a great time to provide the staff at the location where you’re volunteering with a beautiful Christmas wreath for their front door. If you’re on a budget, baked goods are always a welcome gift that your recipients are sure to treasure.
What better way to make the most of the season than to embrace it fully? While it may not be business as usual, if you can’t be with your family, you can still do everything possible to make it special. Savor every moment and enjoy the joys of connecting with your loved ones however you can.