Is it okay to ignore Christmas?
Is it okay to take the bits of Christmas that work for you and discard the rest?
And is it okay to enjoy the solitude of Christmas Day and indulge yourself without feeling guilty?
Bring it on!
Whether you find yourself alone this Christmas by choice or circumstance, it can be a liberating experience to buck the trend of togetherness. After all, being alone and being lonely are not the same thing.
So, make Christmas what you want Christmas to be. It doesn't need to be a day to simply 'survive'. You can choose to forget it's Christmas Day altogether, or take an opportunity to be selfish and celebrate your independent self.
Embrace the emptiness
The tiny moments of solitude afforded by ignoring Christmas Day are some of life's luxuries. They include:
- Walking along uncluttered streets
- Being the only person in the only shop that's open
- Taking your pick of the best views, uninterrupted by others
- Strolling along a quiet beach
- Sitting in your favorite park with your favorite book
- Taking in the Christmas store windows, without a queue.
In the community
Volunteering during the holidays is a way to connect with others, boost self-esteem and help people less fortunate.
Maybe serve dinner at a soup kitchen, take gifts to a children's hospital, or visit residents at a nursing home.
If it's too late to register your interest there are other ways to help. Visiting a neighbour or starting a conversation with a stranger could be just the thing both of you need on Christmas Day.
If you're a Christian, attend a church service. Christmas services are often the most popular, with naitivity scene activities, carols and if you're lucky Santa may even pay a visit!
Alternatively, some councils or neighborhoods offer a community Christmas party you may be able to join.
If you aren't able to get out of the house you can always enjoy the solitude at home. You can soak up the beginnings of summer, do some gardening, DIY renovations, or get creative. You can also:
- Be actively lazy
- Stay in your pyjamas all day
- Have a marathon movie day, or choose a TV series that you've been waiting to watch from beginning to end
- Find a book and curl up on the couch, in bed or outside
- Pamper yourself – paint your nails, shave, wax, trim, moisturize, soak in a bath, enjoy at box of chocolates, drink some mulled wine
- Dance around the house to loud music
- Enjoy your love of cooking, crafts, knitting or painting.
Decorate for Christmas
It may seem unusual to decorate when you're by yourself, but it can be a great way to get into the Christmas spirit and lift your own spirits.
Put up your Christmas tree, or for an authentic look buy a real tree. Hang lights on your house. Use your favorite decorations, buy some new ones, or make your own.
After you have decorated, buy yourself some gifts. Even though you buy yourself things through the year, it is nice to treat yourself at Christmas too. You can wrap the gifts and put them under the tree to open on Christmas morning. And if you have a pet, don't forget to give them a special present, and a special meal!
Speaking of food, make sure you plan your own Christmas meal. You can serve all your favorite foods. Go all out with turkey, ham, seafood, ice cream, pizza, or something non-traditional. Set the table however you like, lay a picnic rug on the floor, or if you are feeling rebellious... eat in bed.
Christmas is what we make it
Christmas can be a difficult day, but it can also be what we make it. It may be that you simply need to change your expectations. Make Christmas meet your needs – whatever they may be – ignore it completely, or ignore the bits that don't suit you.
This isn't to say reframing is easy. If your vision of Christmas is peaceful joyful families, the whole Hallmark scene, then stepping away from that may be hard. You may plan a perfectly 'ignored' Christmas, but find you are longing for the ideal storybook.
The thought that everyone else is having a wonderful time can accentuate the feeling of being alone and disconnected. And all of this can be a challenge.
So please know if you are alone and feeling lonely, there are services to contact for support over this time. You can call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or visit the SANE Forums.