Saturday 25 December 2010

Relationships: Spending Christmas and the holidays alone

Saturday, December 25, 2010

I can't help thinking of Monty Python. In their original television sketch comedy series, they would segway from one bit to another having the narrator say, "And now for something completely different." In looking this up on the Net, I see they put together a film of their best bits from the show and called it the same name.  I discovered a YouTube video for this.

Well now, the point to this abstruse - or is this obtuse? - introduction was to say: And now for something completely different: I am spending Christmas alone. Plus the holidays. I suppose I could have gone out of town, dug up some old friends, visited distant relatives or whatever but decided to stay home, well, in my apartment and treat the day like any other Saturday. That means do some laundry, clean the bathroom and the kitchen, dust around in various places then swab down the floor with Pine Sol for a feeling of being once again in a pristine abode.

I just looked out the window of my basement apartment and realised I'm not the only one treating this as just another Saturday. A moving truck has pulled up right to the door and some young men are setting about unloading what appears to be the contents of an entire apartment. Moving on Christmas? Then again, it's a Christian holiday so for everybody else, it's just Saturday. It's just a weekend like any other weekend. Big deal.

However for us Christians, how does one handle the holidays when being alone?

Ideas for Spending the Christmas Holidays Alone
by embitca
Skip the Pity Invites
If you can't spend your holiday with your own family or significant other, spending it with someone else's family usually sucks. I've done it a couple of times and have always regretted it. You'll spend half your time answering questions about where your family is and why you aren't with them, so it's not exactly a way to make your forget you aren't with them. The rest of the time you'll spend uncomfortably witness other people's holiday dramarama. Skip it!

If you really need to celebrate with other people, there are two options:
Spend it with other people who are also alone for the holiday. Start talking to your friends and find out who isn't going home and then start planning your own celebration. Pass the word around your office and social circle that anyone who is going to be alone is welcome to come to your party -- I suggest making it a potluck or a buffet of some kind. Just make sure it doesn't turn into a couples party. It's fine to invite some couples, but balance the guest list.

Or spend the day volunteering with strangers:
Just keep in mind that homeless shelters and other places that need holiday volunteer help tend to look askance at volunteers who only call them once a year. They have regular volunteers who are committed year round and frequently have all the volunteers they need for the holiday itself from their regular pool. So if you want to go that route, call them in September (or call them NOW!) and start volunteering immediately. Don't wait until the week of Christmas to call. It is too late by then.

Spending Christmas Alone this Year? 5 Tips to Make it Easier
by purpleone
If you're spending Christmas alone this year, you might wonder how you wound up in this situation while everyone else around you appears to have loved ones to spend their time with. However, this may not be the best time to wallow in self-pity and get all philosophical. Instead, take heed of these 5 tips to make your Christmas easier.
  • Work over Christmas.
    Extra cash
  • Decorate anyway.
  • Are you really that alone?
    There is always someone: friends, neighbours.
  • Volunteer.
    Helping others can be therapeutic.
  • Better luck next year!
    Plan early to visit others The bliss of Christmas alone
Caroline Sullivan - December 21, 2010
A Christmas all alone? What's the problem? I've spent Christmas all alone for years, and I can't think of anything better. By "alone", I really mean alone: without family, friends or, usually, neighbours... it's glorious – 24 hours when I don't have to talk to anyone or do anything I don't want to...
I know how it sounds to someone who's never tried it – absolutely pitiful, right? Who deliberately spends Christmas on their own? For most Brits, December 25 is a non-negotiable togetherness day – unless aloneness is forced on us ... Most people expect to spend it with a houseful of relatives, and supermarkets are stuffed with multi-packs. There's no turkey meal for one.

But if you think of it as a day for being incredibly self-indulgent in an unselfish way, you might understand the attraction. Unaccountable to anyone, I can eat, read for hours, go for a walk or, as I did on Christmas Day 2000, strip wallpaper while listening to Radio 1... It's always a day well spent.

It's not that I don't have other options. Most years I get asked to visit friends... It's just that, ever since that first solo Christmas in 2000, when I was newly and unwillingly single, I've grown to love solitude, to the point where I now automatically decline invitations.
...the most important thing is attitude. Being alone is only lonely if you want it to be.

All Alone on Christmas? Don't Despair
By LRobbins
All alone on Christmas? Poor you. No family nearby, no significant other to speak of? Friends are all busy with their own families? Everybody has someone to celebrate Christmas with except for you right? OK, no one is saying that being all alone on Christmas is easy, but to a large degree it depends on the approach you take.  Now that you’ve had your pity party it’s time to get on with things and have a wonderful Christmas alone. First, you are not alone, many people are also all alone on Christmas, but this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. How many horror stories have you heard from friends about how all they did was fight with their family during the holiday?

As clichéd as it sounds, helping others will make you feel better... volunteer at a local soup kitchen ...a senior’s residence?...  Don’t you feel better already?

Take a 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.

Embrace Christmas Traditions That Make You Happy
Just because you’re all alone on Christmas doesn’t mean that you have to forgo your favourite Christmas traditions... Get in your car or walk around your neighbourhood with a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy the Christmas lights.

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...  Christmas “Orphans” Dinner, potluck style.

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... 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.

Indulge Yourself
Think of what it is that you like to do and do lots of it.  Are you a movie fan?...  Love to read?... you finally have some extra time... 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.

Final Word
I spent Christmas eve at the movies watching Barney's Version, a film I really enjoyed. Today, Christmas day I intend on going back to the flicks to see The King's Speech which seems to have been accorded 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. I will review that one for tomorrow.

In the meantime, I'm cleaning the apartment; working on completing some exercises (sit-ups, push-ups and the like), writing my blog and fiddling with some other literary endeavours. All in all, a busy day. As the various columnists have said, it's a question of attitude, of perspective and of doing something.

I just checked the news:
  • A suicide bomber kills at least 45 people in Pakistan
  • The son of former Newfoundland and Labrador premier Brian Tobin has been arrested after the 24-year-old's friend was run over by a pickup truck in an Ottawa parkade. Jack Tobin has been charged with impaired driving causing death and dangerous driving causing death and driving over the legal limit result in a death.
  • At least 32 people were killed in suspected bomb blasts yesterday in the central Nigerian city of Jos, where violence between Christians and Muslims has left hundreds dead this year, police said.
  • A 42 year old woman is dead after a fire broke out in an apartment in Toronto on Christmas eve.
  • 2 days ago, a 9 year boy drowned in Ottawa after slipping into the Rideau River.

My Christmas isn't so bad after all.


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your blog sooo much -- the supplemental information gives such dimension to the personal musings.

I wanted to comment on this post, because my father spent Christmas (in New York) alone this year. I spent the day in Southern California with my best friend (who was unable to fly home to see her mom).

He was in a good mood when I called, but even after reading your post, I'm not sure how I feel about this. Aren't the holidays, more than anything else, about spending time with the people you love? Then again, I absolutely respect an individual response to what the holiday means.

This thought is still unfinished...