Nobody should be alone on Christmas, but sometimes circumstance gets the better of us - inability to get time off work, broken relationships, cancelled plans. Or, you may simply not feel up to doing Christmas if you've recently had a death in the family, or something else going on.
Regardless, you can still take some steps to enjoy the day, and ensure you don't feel too alone or left out.
1. Accept invitations.
People wouldn't invite you to spend Christmas if they didn't want you there. Whether it's friends, colleagues or a stranger hosting an orphan Christmas event, it's worth saying yes and getting out there. Worst case scenario, you have a good story.
Whether you're helping people or animals, volunteering is a great way to make yourself feel included and valued during the holidays.
3. Do a television or movie marathon.
While normally I wouldn't advocate an entire day on the couch, a friend said she survived her two worst Christmases by marathoning Orange is the New Black and House of Cards. It adds some structure and distraction to your day, and feels self-indulgent. If you don't have the set-up to rent or stream an entire series, get some books from your local library and see how many you can work through.
4. Try out a new recipe.
Maybe you won't get to have your mum's trifle, but you can still make Christmas a day to treat yourself. Find out how to make a dish you really love from scratch; there's something really satisfying about knowing you rolled your own pasta, shaped your own dumpling wrappers or marinated your own pickles. You can even make your own cheese to go on pizza - we recommend Annabel Langbein's haloumi recipe, or if you're a vegan, making soy ricotta. It's distracting, and it gives you a story to tell when people ask what you did for Christmas - and a hefty dose of self accomplished feelings, too.
If you don't feel like cooking, build yourself an amazing snack platter to pick at throughout the day. Pickles, olives, crackers...make a point of getting things you really like, but wouldn't normally splurge on.
3. Build resilience skills
I've qualified in a system called HeartMath, which I'm teaching to others in the lead-up to Christmas. Going into one of the most emotional days of the year without preparation is kind of like heading into a boxing match with absolutely no training. If you can find a system to help you build yourself up beforehand, the day itself will be much easier.
5. Write letters and messages.
There's a lot of people who struggle over the holidays. There's a great organisation which organises letters for LGBTQ teens who have been kicked out of home, so they feel loved and included at Christmas ("Your Holiday Mom"). Drop cards to your neighbours. Go on Tumblr and send anonymous messages to people who are having a hard holiday. Drop off something nice to service workers who are forced to work on Christmas (and if that's you, bring something in for your colleagues). Reaching out will make you feel connected.
6. Go to the beach or into nature
Go camping by yourself (make sure someone knows where you're going). Sit on the beach and watch the waves. Make the most of the opportunity to sit with yourself, to reconnect, to think about what you value and changes you might want to make in the new year.
7. Buy yourself a present
If there's something you've wanted for a long time, treat yourself to it for Christmas and don't open it until Christmas Day. Whether it's a new gadget or book or piece of clothing, your new toy is bound to bring some cheer to the day. If you don't have money to spend, allow yourself to do something you normally don't have time or energy for. Take a bath, cut up old clothes or sheets and sew them into something new (you can make a great skirt by taking an old, stretched out t-shirt, cutting it just below the sleeves and sewing that tube of fabric onto a wide elastic waistband).
8. Plant a garden
Whether you take cuttings from friends or buy seeds/seedlings ahead of time, spending your day building something that will feed you and brighten your home year round is a great Christmas project. If you only have a small house, a few window boxes or planters full of herbs is still a valuable thing to create (and it will make your kitchen smell great too).