What Do The Lonely Do At Christmas?
Whether planned or not, a solo Christmas for some can be an incredibly difficult time. It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but if you’re not having a good time, or if you don’t have anyone special in your life, it can also be one of the loneliest.
So how many people does loneliness actually affect at Christmastime? If you’re going through it, knowing this might actually make you feel less alone.
Loneliness During Christmas
In 2020 and 2021, the Covid pandemic meant that more people than ever before found themselves lonely at Christmas because restrictions meant that they couldn’t see relatives like they normally would. YouGov data has shown that 1 in 9 Americans spent the December 2020 holidays by themselves1.
The impact of that was as heartbreaking as it was unsurprising. In the same study, a quarter of people who spend the holidays alone described the season as either ‘bad’ or ‘terrible’, with 42% saying it was just ‘ok’.
But even before the pandemic, people were spending Christmases alone or at the very least feeling lonely. After all, it’s very easy to feel lonely in a crowd or at a party.
It doesn’t help that Christmas - and Valentine’s Day - are one of the times of year when people are likely to break up with their partner. If you want to know the exact date, it’s December 11 apparently based on some sources, and that’s because people tend to reflect more on the strength of their relationship when big holidays are coming.
Also, if your relationship is falling apart, do you really want to go through all that while surrounded by your entire extended family? Nope! Plus, if you want to be cynical, breaking up before Christmas saves you from buying a present.
But of course, it does leave you single at Christmas, which can be very hard, especially if you’ve only just broken up and you have to keep explaining to relatives why your partner isn’t there.
Single At Christmas
Being single at Christmas could make you sing sad songs while shoveling in spoonfuls of ice cream in your pajamas. And there’s nothing really wrong with that if it’s what helps you get through it.
But we’ve got some other suggestions for you:
Prioritize yourself -
Life’s busy and setting aside time to prioritize yourself can be limited. Spend the day doing exactly what you want, at your own pace and on your own terms. Never forget the power of the self-date!
Let your friends and family get you through it -
A big family Christmas isn’t to everyone’s tastes, but if you’re feeling lonely because you’re single during the holidays, it can be a blessing to have the option of joining everyone and getting caught up in all the old familiar dramas. Also, your friends and family love you unconditionally and will take every chance to remind you of this, which is, without a doubt, the best cure for loneliness that there is.
Have an un-Christmas -
Why not just treat the 25th of December as any old day? No decorations, no turkey, no carols, no holiday movies, just you doing and watching whatever you want to watch. Or play video games. How could you be lonely when it’s just a normal day and you’re doing whatever you want?
If you’re feeling inconsolably single and lonely at Christmas, why not channel these feelings into something that will help others? For a start, there’s lots of other lonely people at this time of year, especially the elderly and vulnerable, so you can volunteer at a food kitchen or a charity that offers companionship for old people who don’t have anyone else. It really will be the best Christmas present you can give others or yourself.
Being A Single Parent At Christmas
You don’t need to actually be alone on Christmas to feel lonely. Being a single parent at Christmas means probably getting to spend the day with the people you love the most in the world (your kids) but that in itself can be lonely as the only grown-up with all of the responsibilities.
And if you share parenting, it can also mean having time on Christmas Day when the kids are with your ex, leaving you feeling very alone. If you are able to get along with your ex, spending a Christmas Day together can be a good way of getting around this for the benefit of your children, but clearly, that’s not for everyone. After all, you split up for a reason and Christmas is the worst time of year to put up with eachother’s nonsense and end up arguing in front of the kids. Some things are worse than being alone.
If you’re alone for part or all of Christmas Day as a single parent, try to focus on the positives of the time you do get to spend with your kids as well as the time you get to just be you. If you have single friends you can maybe meet up with them, or go and visit family.
If it happens that you alternate Christmases with your ex and have a whole Christmas Day alone, why not arrange with your kids to have a special celebration on a day when you’re together, making new family traditions to suit your new family arrangement?
Whatever your situation, the most important thing to remember about loneliness at Christmas is that you’re never completely alone because people all around the world are feeling exactly the same way. So why not reach out however you can and share these moments with them?