Revd Dr Sara Batts-Neale has put together an excellent list on Twitter for people who might be spending Christmas alone. It’s well worth checking out.
There’s going to be a lot of folk on their own this 25th for whom that’s a new experience. I’ve been thinking about all the years I lived on my own and woke up with just me on Christmas Day. Here’s a thread of some thoughts about An Imperfect Christmas On Your Own.
If you’ve chosen to be on your own to limit the COVID risks to family, thank you. That’s a kind, generous and unselfish thing to do. But it might not make it any easier.
If you’re on your own and you didn’t choose to be, that’s hard, and you have all my sympathy.
Do what you want to do and don’t let anyone else’s list for A Perfect Christmas influence you into thinking yours isn’t good enough. Ignore all these ideas, too, if necessary; staying in PJs & eating chocolate is also good.
Plan in advance what you are going to do. If you’re feeling glum at 9am on 25th, it’s far harder to decide what will be a lovely, festive thing to do just for yourself. This is wise advice learnt by experience and hints from the most fabulous book. This 1936 advice manual on living alone is smart, witty, and still helpful today
Marjorie Hillis’s guide to life includes breakfast in bed, bowls of roses, and elaborate mind games.
This 1936 advice manual on living alone is smart, witty, and still helpful today – Vox
Have a splendid breakfast. Prep what you can on Christmas Eve so you can have it in bed with minimal time to get cold toes. Go back to bed with breakfast and a hot water bottle. Chocolate is a perfectly acceptable option.
I like to read something festive (I’ve read & re-read LM Montgomery’s Christmas with Anne story collection many times)
Make appointment times to Zoom or call your family. Gives you a bit of structure. Won’t mean your lunch burns if you’re interrupted.
Sing loudly to your favourite carols/ Christmas music. Light a candle. Pray, if that’s your thing.
Do NOT succumb to the thought “there’s no point in having nice food if it’s only for me.” Have what YOU want in. If you have time to make a meal plan so you know how you’re going to use leftovers, that’s also fab, saving money, time and effort.
Eat what you want for lunch. If you’re not sure how you might feel about a dinner-for-one, give yourself an alternative option. Prepping veg etc the night before can help you commit to a roast; they’ll keep if you decide instead you want pizza instead.
If money is a problem, then can you stretch to one lovely thing to eat?
If you can afford not to worry about the cost, keep your house/ flat warm. No need to be cold and sad if you can just be one of those.
Be sad. Allow yourself to grieve for what has been lost this year. Forced jollity is exhausting.
Drink a bit, maybe, but not to the point where you get drunk & miserable and will wake with a depressed mood in the morning.
Imperfect ideas for an imperfect, frustrating, and difficult time. But maybe they’ll help a little. The one thing I learned from living alone is that planning in advance makes tricky days a bit easier. Hugs all round.
The Revd Dr Sara Batts-Neale