It’s the most wonderful time of the year…If you’re anything like me you probably sang that verse, lol. I love this time of the year. Actually, as soon as the leaves begin changing into their bright red, orange, yellow, and purple hues I want to take out my camera and take pictures of everything. God’s handiwork is so beautiful and makes my heart feel so incredibly full; I love the colors, the smells, the twinkling lights, and getting the opportunity to spend time with my family. However, as much as love all of these things, there have been recent years when I greeted these days much less than enthusiastic.
While this season can bring about great joy and gladness, it can also produce pronounced sadness for some. Why? You may ask. For one, there are those who may not have the opportunity to spend holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s Eve with their family, due to various circumstances. There are those who celebrate while serving overseas, or at sea, as members of the military; those who are simply separated by great distances of land and don’t have the means to travel; or those estranged from their family. The second category of people who struggle during this season, are those who are single.
Personally, I’ve experienced the sadness of celebrating a holiday alone, and away from my family; and even single, while with my family. I encourage you, if you’re reading this and know someone who doesn’t have family nearby, invite them to celebrate with you. Nobody deserves to be alone during this time of the year. Let them know they are not forgotten, and that they are loved.
This time of the year can also be incredibly difficult for those who are single, whether or not they are able to join their family; particularly, if their siblings are married or dating. I’ve spent a number of Christmases celebrating with my dating or married younger siblings. There are always those dreaded questions regarding your relationship status, and having to internally suffer while watching couples be affectionate with each another. It’s those times I usually returned home feeling more alone than ever.
Some words of advice for those of you who are single or celebrating away from your families during this time of year? Don’t allow your loneliness to isolate you during this time of the year (or ever, for that matter). Surround yourself with friends. Below are a list of activities you can do during this time of the year with your friends:
- Host/attend a holiday party.
- Get together for dinner at your favorite restaurant.
- Bake cookies for the elderly.
- Check out Christmas decorations/lights in your area.
- Participate in a gift exchange.
- Send Christmas cards to military service members, veterans, or inmates.
- Go window shopping (if you’re on a budget) or Christmas shopping.
- Host a Christmas movie marathon with popcorn, peppermint bark, and hot chocolate or apple cider.
- Help provide/serve a holiday meal at a homeless shelter.
- Exchange gift ideas—sometimes we could use a little help!
- Host a game night.
- Pack a box for Operation Christmas Child.
- Host a gingerbread house decorating party.
- Sponsor a family or elderly person and purchase Christmas gifts for them through Families First or the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree.
- Create your own Christmas decorations or gifts.
- Host a “Christmas From Around the World” potluck.
I know this list is far from complete. Let me know how you and your friends enjoy spending these times of the year by commenting below….and have a Happy Thanksgiving!