How to Celebrate the Holidays Alone

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Being alone for the holidays doesn't have to mean being lonely. Fill your time with activities you enjoy, as well as a few things that benefit others, to make the season feel special and potentially even rewarding.

Treat Yourself Well

Use the entire holiday season or one specific day to treat yourself very well. Cook a favorite meal or dessert or treat yourself to your favorite restaurant, dressing up to go there because it is your special day. Watch favorite movies that bring you joy or make you laugh -- the goal is to enjoy yourself and to feel good about it. Buy yourself a special gift or a favorite snack, just because. Even wrap the gift, if you like. Go for a hike in a park, taking in the smell of the trees, water or air, enjoying the birds and creatures going about their usual activities. Think about things you are grateful for, no matter how seemingly small, such as a cozy home, a beautiful park or a nice day. Being grateful lifts the spirits and makes the day even more enjoyable.

Express Your Creative Side

Explore several of your creative pursuits as a way to turn the focus away from typical holiday activities. Paint a picture, draw a pointillism portrait in pencil or practice origami. If there's a craft technique you always wanted to try, read about it and do it. Draw with crayons to bring out your inner child or repaint that old dresser you've been meaning to revamp for several years. Bake a dessert you've always wanted to try, even if the recipe seems complicated.

Expel Expectations

Television commercials, media coverage and even peer pressure may seem a bit much in the time leading up to holiday season, with so much emphasis on commercialism and tradition. If you find yourself feeling stressed out, sad or annoyed by the continual holiday-themed bombardment, let it go. No one is obligated to buy gifts, put up a tree or celebrate the season in traditional fashion. Replace expectations that come from outside yourself with new traditions or activities that increase your sense of well-being, whether that means meditating, going for a walk, cooking your favorite food or cleaning the house. Realize that the sense of holiday pressure and expectation that comes from outside yourself is only pressure if you allow it to be; once you free yourself from those thoughts, the stress goes away as well.

Be Beneficial to Others

Do something good for someone else while expecting nothing in return for an instant mood booster for both parties. The beneficial act may be something as simple as visiting a shut-in neighbor and offering a tray of cookies or telling stories at a nursing home or hospital for children. Choose something that interests you and has meaning to you -- it may be taking elderly neighbors shopping or putting up their tree. Hand out hats and scarves near a homeless shelter or set up a coat or food drive to benefit many people at once as a partner with local non-profit organizations. You'll soon forget about being alone over the holidays with your time filled with rewarding experiences.