If family and friends are busy or far away during the holidays, don’t despair. There are many ways to celebrate by yourself, postponing the get-togethers until later. By being creative and giving yourself a few diversions, you don’t have to be lonely or bored. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Either cook yourself a meal, or buy one somewhere and take it home. A great place to get the whole Thanksgiving meal without any fuss is Boston Market, who offers entire meals even through the drive thru. If you enjoy cooking then go all out, and do it all; the turkey, stuffed with dressing, homemade mashed potatoes, gravy, a can of cranberry sauce and of course, pumpkin pie for dessert. If you don’t feel like doing it all from scratch, you can cheat and go get a baked chicken at most Deli sections of your local grocery store, get the pie from the bakery and get yourself a big box of potato flakes, and make yourself a big batch of instant mashed potatoes. Once you’ve had a filling dinner, or during preparation, call your family far away and talk to them as if they were there with you.
My parents live across the country, and we talk turkey and chat while we cook to lessen the pain of being so far away from eachother. By going ahead and giving yourself a nice meal, watching the traditional parade on television and talking to those you care about even for a moment, the holiday will be brighter any way you look at it. Leave the family squabbles out on this day, since it’s a time to be thankful for what we have, and having loved ones is something to be appreciative of.
Christmas or Hanukkah
One great way to enjoy the holiday, whatever one you celebrate, is to decorate your space a little. Wherever you plan to be on the holiday – your home, office cubicle, or car; do something festive like hang an ornament, put up a menorah or string up some lights. Whatever gives you a boost to your mood. Play songs on the stereo or Ipod, or go see a movie. Getting out to malls and shopping, then mailing off presents is always part of the season. Absorb the colorful window displays, laugh at the cranky shoppers, and check out the latest cool gadgets being put out for sale. Get a big, fat and gooey cinnamon roll at a bakery. Calories don’t matter at the moment, fun does. Sure, holiday season can be stressful, but it’s all a matter of mind control. If you find ways to dispel stress, and find distractions to make the time pleasant, it doesn’t have to be something negative at all.
New Years’ Eve
Sure, it’s normally a couples’ holiday and singles can be frustrated without having dates on New Years’ Eve. You don’t have to be alone if you don’t want to. Find a party, get together or function to go to somewhere near your home. Whether it’s a church service, parade, pot luck dinner or just going to Starbucks (assuming they’re open), do something away from home at least part of the day. Sitting home and getting depressed is the last thing you want to do. There is a great function in many American cities called “First Night” on New Years’, an alcohol-free, family event that draws people of all kinds together to enjoy various functions. It offers a variety of safe venues to enjoy the holiday, for one fairly low price. Tickets can be bought through some grocery stores, so ask at the front desk of your local grocer’s. During my “First Night” experience in Pittsburgh a few years ago, I was able to go to see a shortened symphony in a gorgeous opera hall, jazz at another theater, amazing fireworks on the river, and see a big display of international celebrations at a local company. It was wonderful, and worth the twenty dollar entrance fee.
If you regret being all grown up and have no place to beg candy from, then go to the store and get yourself a large bag of something chocolate. Then chow down to your heart’s content. Peanut butter flavored M & M’s usually does it for me. One good splurge and it holds me for a whole year. Do you miss those old holiday parties that you went to as a kid? Throw one yourself, and invite others who have nothing to do, either. Let yourself be a big kid, and do something you don’t usually do now, as an adult, like make caramel apples, carve a pumpkin or eat powdered donuts (a favorite concession at parties I attended in the late sixties and early seventies). It’s about having fun. Eat healthy and count calories another time.
During the holidays, give yourself time to enjoy life and live a little. Just because you’re alone doesn’t mean that you need to forget about having fun. Later, when you can be with those you care about, there will be more celebrating to do. For now, put the work down, think of something you like and just do it. It may seem little to you, but in truth, it’s important. We have only a certain amount of holidays in our lives, so we need to make the most of each and every one of them. Go ahead, and make yourself have some fun. Start a new tradition that you can enjoy, you’ll be glad that you did later.