For some it’s a matter of cost, for others a case of split family commitments or even by choice but whatever the reason, being away from loved ones is always hard at Christmas. It’s an emotional time, with memories of sharing gifts on Christmas morning and loud family lunches. So if you are on your own this year here are a few ways to make the day a little easier
Skype or video-call: If you have access to the internet and Wi-Fi one option is to set up a time to Skype or video-call your family. If you have children the call could be at gift opening time, with grandparents watching on. If you’re away from your special someone a call at a quieter time could be more appropriate. Pre-arrange the time; especially if you are in vastly different time zones.
Gifts and cards: Your cheery face and warm hug can never be replaced but send gifts and cards early to ensure they arrive well before the big day. You can always write “do not open until December 25” on the outside! Check delivery times with your local postal service and add a week or two, just to be sure.
Volunteer: Keeping busy can make the day happier. If you already volunteer somewhere check out their Christmas activities and if there are any opportunities to help out. Many of the homeless shelters and organisations put on Christmas Day lunches and might need an extra pair of hands in the kitchen, and animal shelters still need people to feed and walk the animals. Even if there are no activities on the actual day they will more than likely need help fundraising prior to Christmas, just give them a call and see what you can do.
Lonely Seniors: Retirement homes often have residents who are not visited by anyone. Phone ahead of time and see what their policy is, and ask about suitable gifts to bring.
Gifts for charities: Along the lines of volunteering is putting together gift packs for less fortunate families. During the lead up to Christmas you can collect or buy small items such as toys for children, books, sweet treats, pretty and useful gifts for all ages. Most churches and many stores and radio stations collect gifts to be handed out to families struggling financially at Christmas.
The True Meaning of Christmas: Speaking of churches, even if you are not a religious person, bear in mind what Christmas is all about. All Christian churches hold services on Christmas day so why not pop along. You’d be surprised how many other people are alone too, and you might find a few to share a meal with.
“Orphans” Christmas: Put the word out amongst friends and colleagues that you’re organising an “orphans” Christmas, maybe a BBQ at a local park for anyone on their own.
Invitations from Friends: It can be hard accepting invitations from friends on what is essentially a family day. If you have any doubts about the sincerity of an invitation discuss it with them. They may already have other non-relatives attending, or they might be on their own too! Even if it is a family event, you are probably considered 'family' for them to have extended the offer, so say yes!
And remember, “Christmas is not an external event at all, but a piece of one's home that one carries in one's heart” .