Given the Covid crisis of 2020, the wise among us will be spending the holiday season differently this year. Some, like me, will be choosing to spend not only Thanksgiving, but also Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve and Day, as well as birthdays in November, December, and January alone. It’s the safe, smart, healthy thing to do.
But for those who are used to big gatherings of friends and family, this winter’s holidays could be achingly disappointing. As a seasoned solitary holiday celebrater, I have some suggestions for you.
Adjust Your Mindset
Disappointment is created in the mind by telling ourselves that it is terrible, horrible, no good, very bad thing to not have holidays as usual. We can just as easily tell ourselves something else. Some version of acknowledging that you are doing a good thing for your loved ones and yourself by staying home and celebrating alone will relieve feelings of discontent. Make it a mantra repeated every hour if need be – I love you all so much that I’m contributing to keeping you healthy would be a good sentiment to let fill your mind.
If possible, you could arrange to have family dinner at the same time with everyone you would normally be with, and join together by Zoom or some other internet tool. Or make serial Facetime calls with your friends. However you do it, be in touch with others who are also on their own this year.
Indulge Your Palate
Thanksgiving especially is about the food, but few solitaires will want to cook a full feast even on the single serve scale. But do have at least one treat available to help make your day special. Eat two pieces of pie and call that lunch, maybe. Blend cranberry relish into vanilla ice cream or yogurt perhaps – it’s delicious! If your local grocery provides pulled turkey in the deli department, get a couple containers for hot meals and cold sandwiches through the weekend – no cooking, no waiting, no mess, no clean up.
Holiday dinner tables often have centerpieces with candles to make the occasion more special. Burning candles are classic symbols of hope, remembrance, and sacrifices honored. Set aside a special time of the day or evening to make a ritual out of lighting a candle, saying a prayer or just sending your best wishes for everyone’s physical and financial health, especially for the duration of the pandemic.
Do Something Out of the Ordinary
Our options are more limited this year, of course, by law and common sense. But many solitary activities are still possible that can make your holidays feel special, especially if you have continued to work during these health risk months. Some ideas are:
bake two kinds of xmas cookies and leave some on your neighbor’s doorstep
take a photography walk around your neighborhood
write notes to old childhood friends
start tracing your family tree on Ancestry.com
binge watch a BBC series on YouTube
pull out craft supplies you have used this year, make something for someone
If you are so inclined, a solitary holiday is the perfect time for
personal tarot readings
calling your spirit guides
journeying to a past life
reading up on spiritual rituals
journaling or blogging about dreams or esoteric experiences
In short, you can make the holidays meaningful and enjoyable for yourself when you have to spend them alone. The secret is simple: talk yourself out of self pity, find a way to feel connected, allow a little self-indulgence, engage in some kind of random act of safely distanced kindness, and nourish your soul. The time will pass well and be increasing your own capacity for resilience.