What do the Lonely Do at Christmas?: 5 ways to keep your spirits up during the holiday season


Am I the only one who loves that Emotions song, “What do the Lonely do at Christmas?”

I was listening to it earlier today and it got me to thinking, what exactly do the lonely do?

The Christmas season can pose special problems for people who spend it alone. If you are single or don’t have many friends or family, Christmas is just one of those holidays that can make you feel especially lonely and like you’re missing out. If this holiday season finds you alone and/or feeling lonely, here are 5 tips to help you get through the season:

1. Get into it!

Christmas only comes around once a year. In a few weeks, this Christmas season will be over and done with.  So enjoy it while it’s here upon us.  Just because you don’t have anyone to spend it with, doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the season.

Here are some ideas to get in on the Christmas spirit:

  • Send Christmas cards to everybody in your address book.
  • Go see The Nutcracker live.
  • Watch your favorite Christmas movie (Mine is Trading Places except for Dan Akroyd’s 5 minutes in blackface. Ugh!)
  • Relive your days as a child and watch A Charlie Brown Christmas or that cute but kind of weird clay Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
  • Make a Christmas song playlist and play on repeat.
  • Make a Christmas movie playlist and play on repeat.
  • Decorate your house and buy a tree.
  • Make hot chocolate and sugar cookies.
  • Go to your local Christmas festivities.
  • Cook a holiday dinner and bring leftovers to work to share with co-workers.

The holiday spirit and a festive mood are not solely reserved for people with significant others and children. This is your Christmas season too. Your life does not begin after there are others around you. It’s happening now, so live it. Get in on the fun.

2. Do something for others

Each of us has so many gifts.  And since Christmas is the season for giving, use the season as an opportunity to spread your gifts. Spending some time thinking about how you can connect to others by sharing your gifts might also help you feel less lonely. If you’re stuck on how you can do this, you can start by donating your time to a charitable organization that might need extra hands during the Christmas season.

If you are a member of a church, you can find ways to get more involved with different service groups or ministries. You could go to a homeless shelter and ask how you can help.  You can also help out closer to home by asking an elderly neighbor if there is anyway you might be of service. Doing things for other people just feels good, and who knows you might have some fun and get the chance to meet new people.

3.  Go on an Adventure

If you can and are up for it, go on an adventure this season. Who says you have to be at home on Christmas? Since you are alone, you get to define what this season means for you. Maybe it means it’s the season for your next adventure. And it doesn’t have to be elaborate. Just try to do something you’ve never done before.

Adventures remind you that there are always new experiences and new opportunities to be had. So harness the power of the unknown and go on an adventure in order to invite new energy into your life.  Take a drive or hop on a bus and explore a nearby city. Perhaps you can take advantage of the day off from work and spend the night in a hotel in your city’s downtown. Ooohh or even a spa trip! Sounds like fun to me.

4. Do something really nice for yourself (I mean REALLY nice)

Sorry, I just couldn't resist...
Sorry, I just couldn’t resist…

Take this opportunity to give yourself a gift. The point here is to treat yourself. It can be a material item like that pair of shoes (or car) you’ve been wanting to buy. Maybe get a mani/pedi. Or you can finally forgive yourself for something that happened in the past. Whatever it is, be sure to treat yourself nicely during this season. Take care of your lovely self.

5. Do not isolate yourself

Now is not the time to isolate yourself. Make sure you attend that office holiday party or that dinner party that your neighbor invited you to. Be sure to send well wishes to the people who are actually in your life even if they aren’t loved ones. Send out all those “Merry Christmas” text messages  and respond to those that send them to you.  Place those Happy Holidays phone calls (Do people even make phone calls anymore?)

I know that even if you do all these things and more, sometimes feeling lonely can be too much. If the feelings of loneliness seem unbearable or too much for you to deal with, please make sure to contact a counselor or therapist to speak with who can help you manage these feelings. Remember that you do not have to soldier on alone, there are people who can help you. So be sure to reach out to them.

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4 Replies to “What do the Lonely Do at Christmas?: 5 ways to keep your spirits up during the holiday season”

  1. During the Holidays, I enjoy watching old Xmas movies. One of my favorite movie to watch is GROUNDHOG DAY. I enjoy watching this movie because it has a significant meaning in it. Life circumstances has a way of repeating itself until we learn to get it right. I find myself sometimes feeling as though I’m caught up in a situation over and over again until I learn this important lesson. A lesson that will help me grow and become stronger in my journey of life.

    Thank you as always, for your helpful inspirations and tips to overcome feeling lonely this Holiday season. HAPPY HOLIDAYS.

  2. What if you have had a family breakdown , loss of employment renting a room at high cost with little or no income over Xmas??? Middle aged with no access to any internet , TV …there are many like myself . I can see myself in my car in the cold.

    1. Jenny, that sounds really tough. And you are absolutely right, there are many people who are going through tough times during the holiday season. Just please remember to treat yourself as well as you can under the circumstances. And to seek out help from as many sources as you can, though I know this can be difficult. The holidays are a time when people feel especially giving, so you may be able to find resources in your community that might be able to help with your financial difficulties such as food pantries and clothing drives. Also try to connect with other people who may be in your life as this may be an opportunity to begin deeper relationships. You can also try to connect with those who are in situations similar to yours. Since there are people who are going through the same thing, none of you is truly “alone.” And lastly, Jenny, please know that just because things are difficult now, doesn’t mean they will be forever. I wish you well and hope things get better for you soon.

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