I’ll Stay Here this Year
Sometimes we can’t be with the ones we love for the holidays. Sometimes we aren’t invited to spend the holidays with the ones we love. Sometimes we just don’t want to go home. Whatever the reason (a lack of funds, a divorce/break-up, no time off from work, or even a dysfunctional family), some of us find that we won’t be home for the holidays this year.
Maybe your parents decided to go on a cruise this year, or the love of your life turned out to be the bane of your existence. Perhaps you waited too long to price plane tickets until they were way out of your price range. It could be that you can’t or won’t face one more year of travelling all that way, just to listen to your family fight and complain for four days. However, trying to find ways to make the holidays merry and bright on your own may prove quite difficult, especially for first timers.
Expectations can run extremely high at this time of year. When you’re alone at the holidays, it can seem like everyone else is living the perfect Christmas fantasy. Everybody seems to be happy, in love, sparkly and perfect. They appear to have it all, while you may feel lonely and lost. This time of year can make a person feel decidedly unhappy, if she’s not careful.
On the other hand, perhaps you have no desire to get caught up in the consumerism and pressures of the holidays. You may even choose to celebrate an “alternative” holiday like Festivus, made popular by an episode of Seinfeld. If you haven’t heard of it, Festivus is a secular December gathering, created for those who are seeking to avoid the traditional holiday get-togethers and gift giving. While you may not go all in on Festivus (observing the “airing of grievances” and “feats of strength”), it’s important to note that anyone can define what the season means to them personally, and create their own traditions to observe. Of course, it will require that person to step outside of his or her comfort zone a little bit.
Maybe your version of the holiday celebration is to:
- walk on the beach
- donate blood
- commit a random act of kindness for each day in December
- knit at least one scarf
- rearrange your furniture
- take a huge risk
- write an apology letter to someone you may have wronged in the past (even if you never send it)
- reconnect with an old friend that you let slip away
- donate supplies to a homeless shelter or animal rescue
- pay the toll for the person behind you in line at the toll plaza
- help decorate floats for the Orlando Citrus Bowl Parade
- volunteer at a hospital or nursing home
- stay home and pamper yourself
- create a vision board for 2016
- watch a movie marathon with a theme (like Tom Hardy or Ridley Scott films)
If you’re looking for something more traditional:
- Host or attend a party or dinner for those who also don’t have plans for the holidays (like Friendsgiving).
- Seek out holiday events sponsored by social groups.
- Attend services at a church, synagogue, temple or mosque.
- If your home is in another country, find your fellow compatriots and celebrate traditions from home together.
- Create a special ritual for a lost loved one, like lighting a candle or hanging a special ornament.
We all have to face being alone at times. It’s easy to lean into the feeling of loneliness and isolate ourselves, when togetherness can so often be the remedy. Reach out and connect with friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. Whatever you do, please don’t try to medicate your feelings of loneliness with alcohol, over-spending or risky behavior. If you find that you need help with navigating your way through this holiday season, please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services in Orlando at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment.