How to Deal with Being Alone During The Holidays

If you’re stressed about being alone, here’s Charly with simple tips on how to deal with being alone during the holidays and make it FAB !

Has the lack of special holiday plans or a sweet romance got you feeling bummed out?

Bells may be ringing, but if the season of cheer isn’t feeling like everything it’s chalked up to be because you’re spending a lot of that time alone…   it may surprise you to realize just how simple it is to flip the script and transform any holiday from a downer to downright indulgent!

Being alone on a major holiday can be a major bummer. From moving across country and not knowing anyone, to not being able to visit family & friends, to going through a divorce… these are just some of the reasons I’ve spent the holidays with me, myself and I. Unfortunately there’s a tendency to feel like something is wrong or off.  It’s especially true with the winter holidays when every movie and commercial seems to highlight something sentimental and shared, which can put a very big spotlight on the fact that you’re spending the time solo. The good news however is that you have the power to make your holidays fantastic regardless of who you are or aren’t spending them with. The key is to recognize what inside of you… is holding your potential good times hostage.

The first time I spent a major holiday alone was almost two decades ago right after my divorce. I love the holidays and always get nostalgic around the end of the year. I had just celebrated my birthday, and yet after years of hosting and collaborating on Christmas get-togethers, that particular year I was spending Christmas alone. My boss invited me to stop by and pick up a gift, while her family was opening presents under the tree. Ugh —at the time it only reinforced my feelings of being alone. So honestly I didn’t have a great day. Feeling sorry for myself, I thanked her for the gift and retired to my apartment with depression as a cozy companion. All I could think was that Christmas was not supposed to be like it was, which brings me to the perfect word for the culprit that squashes your ability to enjoy your holiday on your own before it even arrives; anticippointment.

Specifically anticippointment  is the high you feel while anticipating something, followed by the disappointment you feel when the reality fails to match up with the expectation you created. Here’s the tricky part —you can experience anticippointment in your mind without anything actually taking place, just as easily as you can after an actual event or series of events. The key to freeing yourself from anticippointment is recognizing the huge role that expectations play. You see there’s a big difference between approaching things with positive expectations, and creating specific expectations about a person, place or time that then must be met or fulfilled. When you create specific expectations, you have written a script that you don’t have control over. Even worse, creating a specific expectation also seduces you into believing that whatever you’ve scripted “should happen,” thus you end up trying to manage an experience that you believe needs to happen instead of creating something wonderful in real time as life is happening. Plus when things go differently, you’ll feel as though something is wrong, which is where the disappointment comes in.

The way we approach things sets us up for the results we get —and even more, our approach sets us up for how we feel about the results we get. The expectations you create are part of your approach, so you must be careful to assess when and what you’re scripting.  In the case of spending a holiday alone, it’s often the belief and expectation that your holidays are supposed to be surrounded by family and friends or perhaps alongside that partner you crave that causes you to tune out completely since you’re unable to make that particular vision happen. One way or another you’ve adopted a specific idea of what the holidays are that is preventing you from making the holiday into something you can enjoy. If you humble yourself to accept that there is no “supposed to be” in holidays, and they are what we make them, you will be free to reinvent any holiday and make it your own year after year.

Incidentally it was after realizing that Christmas had been a total downer, that I took a good look in the mirror and admitted I needed an attitude change. New Year’s Eve was coming up, and I was determined to make it better, so I started planning a totally indulgent evening for myself. I made a list of movies to rent, planned out a fabulous dinner that consisted of some cooking and some prepared foods, and I picked up some wine, champagne and candles. I believe that was the same year I decided I was worth opening a bottle of champagne that I couldn’t finish any time I want.

As New Year’s got close, I got more and more excited —and then it happened. Invitations started pouring in from friends for New Year’s Eve. Maybe you think the point of this is to say that when you embrace being alone, you can attract invitations from others…? Well, that’s true too, however much to the surprise of my friends, I turned down the invitations in favor of spending the kick off of the new year alone. Not only did I spend it alone,  it was one of the best New Year’s Eve celebrations I’ve ever had! I totally indulged myself in the peace and enjoyment of my very modest surroundings, and it was amazing.

My point is that instead of being a casualty of the holiday season, you can take your holidays back and make them your own. It’s a choice you are free to make any time you want. Accept that there are elements you may not be able to experience, and then focus on creating something wonderful that you can experience. Life is dynamic and your holidays need to be dynamic too. Redefine your holiday year after year so your holiday can be in sync with you and give you something to rejoice about.

Cheers to the best holiday season you can enjoy!


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