Do you find yourself alone for the Holidays? Strapped for cash and do not think there is anyway to enjoy yourself? Many people across the world find themselves in this same position.
I spent the better part of my life alone for the Holidays Season as I have no family. What I did for Holidays was volunteer at our "Resource Center". It is a "grocery" program. I made small feast with the things I love to eat. I decorated in whatever whimsical idea floated into my head. I had the "Ultimate Me Holiday".
Flash forward many years later and I cannot help but remember the first year with my husband. That was some of the best memories. Literally the first year into our relationship we found ourselves barley able to pay our bills. He was in school full-time. I was working as accountant and painting commercial properties on the week ends to make ends meet. Even the electricity was shut off the week after Thanksgiving and the 50.00 I saved for gifts had to go to "reconnection" fees. So, I made him cookies (they burned to a crisp) and Candied Candy canes. It would end up being a tradition that I kept for over a decade. Now, ten years later, I have become quite the "Christmas Candy Lady". What is the point to all this? Make your holiday a happy experience and enjoyable just for you. You have earned it!
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As clichéd as it sounds, helping others will make you feel better. You could volunteer at a local soup kitchen, or how about at a senior's residence? Lots of people who are spending Christmas alone there who would love to see your smiling face. Don't just limit your good deeds to people though, you could also volunteer at an animal shelter walking dogs or cuddling cats. Don't you feel better already?
Take a Vacation
Take a vacation, preferably a volunteer vacation, so that you're making a difference which will make you feel better or an adventure vacation. Don't take a vacation where you will have time to sit on the beach and feel sorry for yourself - you can do that at home for a lot cheaper. A couple of years ago, when I was spending Christmas alone, I signed up for a kayaking trip to the Florida Everglades with the Sierra Club. Plans changed and I ended up having to cancel as but I still think that would have been a wonderful way to spend Christmas. Plus you would meet other people who were spending Christmas alone as well. Another benefit? There are some fabulous travel deals right before and at Christmas time. Right after Christmas the rates soar.
Embrace Christmas Traditions That Make You Happy
Just because you're all alone on Christmas doesn't mean that you have to forgo your favorite Christmas traditions, in fact you should embrace them. Put on your favorite Christmas CD, sing your heart out, and whip up some of your favorite short bread cookies. Feel even better when you give some of them to a lonely neighbor. Get in your car or walk around your neighborhood with a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy the Christmas lights. I personally like to rate them and come up with a "winner" at the end of the night and by going by myself there's no one to disagree with my choice. If you don't have any Christmas traditions that make you happy, invent some and be creative. Perhaps it's cooking the ultimate Chinese as your Christmas dinner, or shoveling your elderly neighbor's side walk or learning how to kick box in your living room. The sky's the limit and it's your tradition, so there doesn't have to be anything traditional about it.
Round Up Other Christmas "Orphans"
If you ask around your workplace, or acquaintances, you may be surprised at how many people are spending Christmas alone, chances are they are just not advertising it. If this is the case, arrange a Christmas "Orphans" Dinner, potluck style. I'm part of an outdoor club and they arrange this every year and it's always well attended. Plus you could end up meeting some great people.
Get Outside and Get Moving
Exercise has been found to have a similar effect as antidepressants on mood and its effects are amplified if it's done in nature so put on your hiking boots and get walking. Explore a new park in your area and look for animal tracks, see how many different types of birds you can identify. If there's lots of snow, try snowshoeing. It's easy to learn (just pick up your feet and walk), great exercise and snow shoes can be rented from an outdoor store for the day, plus it's always a pick-me-up to try a new activity. You will be surprised by what an incredible mood booster being surrounded by nature is, even if it's just for a few hours. Not to mention that you're getting in shape too! While you're at it, make a snow angel. It's impossible not to have a smile on your face when you're lying in the snow flapping your arms and legs about.
Think of what it is that you like to do and do lots of it. Are you a movie fan? Go to your local video store and stock up for a movie marathon. Love to read? Head to your local library and come back with an armload of books. If you're not sure exactly what it is that you like to do, pick up a new hobby. Now that you finally have some extra time, it's the perfect time to perfect your painting technique or start that novel that you never seem to have time to write.
Think Yourself Happy
Lastly, believe in the power of positive thinking. If you think that you will have a miserable Christmas you probably will. If you think that you will have a fantastic Christmas, even though you are spending Christmas alone, you also probably will. I'm not saying that spending Christmas alone is easy, it isn't, but a lot of it depends on your perspective. I too was once all alone on Christmas in Thailand, a Buddhist country where Christmas isn't widely celebrated with no family or close friends to speak of. Was it a perfect Christmas? No, I was lonely, but I chose to use that time to reflect on how lucky I was to have family and good friends to miss, I got caught up on some reading, went for a run in a new park I had just discovered which was beautiful, and then met some Thai friends for a regular dinner. Year later when I reflect back on it I think that it wasn't such a bad Christmas after all.
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TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood Chronic Pain ModeratorMail
Post Edited (Dani Henson) : 11/25/2010 6:08:04 PM (GMT-7)