Monday, December 18, 2017

When You Find Yourself Alone for the Holidays

We're always talking about being grateful at Thanksgiving which may have something to do with the reminder in its very name, THANKSgiving. Who isn't going to remember to be grateful when the word 'thanks' is part of the holiday?

I am getting better at remembering to be grateful on an almost daily basis. I've tried the thankful journals but I can't seem to get them to continue after a couple months. I forget to write down my gratefuls for the day after that but I do remember to mention them in my mind and that counts, right? I mean, as long as we're aware of our thankfuls, we don't' really have to write them down. I think.

Sometimes it feels as though life is trying to steal our joy and take our focus off our thankfuls which really means we can't see our thankfuls or feel the feels because all we're focused on are the reasons the holidays aren't going to be the way they've been in the past. As I continue to read posts on that Empty Nesters Facebook group I realize some Empty Nesters are having trouble finding their Christmas gratefuls. I suppose I would, too if I found myself home alone for the holidays while my family members were out celebrating with other families or if they lived so far away coming home just wasn't in the cards. But Y'all, we have to find some way to have a grateful heart even though...

I know for most of us the most important people in our lives are our families, especially our children no matter how old they are and being without them certainly can put a damper on our holiday celebrations.

And what if all that is coupled by not wanting to intrude on the celebrations of friends' families? Not having a church or some other social group? Not having a SO? No pet? Just us. Alone. There are folks out there who are finding themselves alone during the holidays. Instead of being overtaken by sadness, surely there are ways to combat being alone for the holidays. I do not have firsthand knowledge of this and I hope I never do but should it happen---

Here's what I hope I would do should I ever find myself alone during the holidays:

  1. Put on that Christmas music, watch those Christmas movies, and get those decorations up anyway. If you've always decorated for Christmas, now is not the time to stop. Simplify if you'd like but not decorating won't help. You've enjoyed your decorations all those years before, enjoy them now. Take on a new appreciation. Get some new ornaments. Just decorate. AND THEN order something for yourself and have it delivered gift wrapped and put it under the tree. 
  2. Make a holiday meal and the traditional goodies anyway. If you don't want to eat them, wrap them up for neighbors and friends. Just because you are alone doesn't mean you can't participate. 
  3. Go on holiday or make it seem so right at home. 
  4. Serve at a homeless shelter, an orphanage, volunteer at My Sister's House, spend time at the ASPCA. Anything anywhere. There are people and animals who need love so I hope I'd share mine with them. We've served at a soup kitchen type place in the past and I promise it's worth it to go. The conversations you will have with those down on their luck are nothing less than fascinating. And Y'all, the nursing homes are full of elderly folks who have been placed there and forgotten. There are so many who are alone every time a holiday rolls around. Make those connections. 
  5. Get outside and look for those sharing goodwill. Just watching others walking around with an attitude of goodwill can make you feel better inside. 
  6. Get out and enjoy the sights and sounds of the season. The colors, the carolers, the happy faces, the houses with lights, SANTA! It's all out there, go. experience. it. 
  7. Get out with a camera and record what other people are doing. We spend our holidays with our lovely families but if faced without them for the season, how fun would it be to get out and record what we see other families doing? Not in a creepy way, of course. 
  8. Walk yourself right into a church for their Christmas service. Some will be welcoming (and yes, I have something to say about churches who are not welcoming but this is not the place) and you may just find some new friends. 
  9. Make yourself a new tradition or two.
  10. Host a holiday gathering at home and invite anyone and everyone. 


The main thing here would be to not dwell on not having your family with you over the holidays but to find meaning for yourself. Stop yourself from letting the thoughts of what isn't happening prevent you from enjoying the holidays anyway. No, it won't be the same but that doesn't mean it can't be pleasant and enjoyable. Heck, you might even have fun! What?!


Perhaps starting an Empty Nest social media group for locals and connecting would help connect with other empty nesters who will understand your position. Or a book club for empty nesters or just a weekly or monthly social outing. Like it or not, our kids are going to grow up and fly out on their own. While this is a very good and natural thing, if you're having trouble with it there are plenty of ways to share all that love and care that doesn't stop just because the kids did grow up and move on.

If you do find yourself alone this holiday season, try to change your mindset. Focus on what you can do instead of what isn't happening. If you can't pull yourself out of it, please reach out for help to someone even if it isn't family. If you know someone who will be alone, reach out and invite them over.

Christmas is the perfect time for caring and sharing and you might find it follows you throughout the year instead of one day.

Have Y'all ever found yourselves alone on a holiday?



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31 comments:

  1. Excellent thoughts and ideas. I hope I’ll never be all alone either. But if I am I would hope I would follow some or all of these items. I too forget to write down my thankful things everyday too but I hope I’ll keep up with the Thankful Thursday post. At least I’m doing that once a week.

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    1. Thank you! That's a good idea. Maybe I should try that. Of course, it'll take me about a month or so to remember to post there. LOL Have a wonderful week!

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  2. After years and years of hosting mega Holidays, our kids are long grown with families and traditions of their own. We, husband and I, are now obligations. Oh our families would never admit it, but their behavior screams it. To avoid the akwardness and hard feelings of being uncomfortable guests, we have begun to travel on Christmas. We jump to new places and never look back. When we come home we have a raucous post-holiday, post travel party.

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    1. And that's the way it's done! Wonderful!

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  3. Great ideas, Pam, and thanks for posting them! We haven't had family around for most of our big holidays for years and years so we created an extended family of dear friends who share the holidays with us. When family can join us, we are thrilled, but when they can't (most of the time) we celebrate with those who can be with us. We enjoy hosting and I enjoy cooking so it is a big win for us.

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    1. I would expect nothing less than this with you and Joe. Y'all know how to do life right with family, friends, love, laughter, and fun! Hugs!

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  4. Really great ideas. I've never actually been alone for a holiday but I know people who have. They say they are fine, but honestly it must be very lonely.

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    1. Thanks. I haven't either and I agree that it must be lonely. Although, I do know people who like being alone and say they don't feel lonely at all. I do prefer alone time I just don't think I'd love it during the holidays. :)

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  5. Alcohol was absent from your list which is good. Mixing alcohol with being alone just makes matters worse. Now I'm not sure about #7. Taking picture of various Christmas decorations would be a good activity and you could become a pinterest star/celebrity (are there such things?)

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    1. I'm not much of drinker. Never have been although I will have a bit of Bailey's around this time of year. :) I do better taking pictures of people than objects. And that pinterest star? Yep, they exist. And I have no idea how or why. LOL

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  6. Those are such fabulous ideas. I love traveling during the holidays because it's so festive and you always feel good when you can help others who are less fortunate. My family is all spread out so we get together when we can and celebrate.

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    1. Traveling might very well appeal to me should I ever find myself in this situation, which I hope I never do. :) I very much appreciate having most of my family within an easy drive but I would hope I would keep myself positive and busy should that not be the case. :) Sounds like that's exactly what you do.

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  7. It is so easy to focus on things not being the way they used to be. All excellent suggestions for enjoying what we DO have now.

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    1. It really is easy to focus on things not being the way they used to be, you're quite right. I find myself doing that from time to time but I do snap out of it. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!

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  8. I will be spending some of Christmas day home alone and I expect I will enjoy it, the morning will be spent with my parents and siblings. Tim will be working so he will only be home for a short while in the morning

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    1. I love my alone time but I often wonder how much I'd appreciate it during a big holiday. Sounds like you got the best of both worlds- time with family and time alone. :)

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  10. My empty nest keeps getting fuller and fuller with returnees and grandchildren, but I'll pass this along to others I know who are alone! Thanks!

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    1. Mine is doing the same thing and I am so grateful for it! But I do hear from others who aren't having anyone around during the holidays and that motivated this post. I'd love for you to pass it along in the hopes that it will help someone who is having a hard time with being alone.

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  11. Excellent suggestions. Though my family is always divided by the Atlantic Ocean, and I live between 2 worlds, I try to cherish the time I have with family even if distance makes it impossible for all of us to be together at the same time.

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    1. I love your positive attitude! I would wish that everyone have that same positivity year 'round! Thank you!

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  12. I don't think I would ever let myself be alone at Christmas. But if I did I would practice your list.
    I was counting up the other day, I will have six daughters when the boys get married, and six sons. Isn't that cool? With nine grand kids for frosting. I don't think I will be alone, unless I turn into a you know what. :)
    Which could always happen. Have a delightful Christmas.

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    1. I don't think I'd like it but I hope I would handle it, you know? I feel so badly for those who are suffering instead of trying to embrace it even though it's difficult. Grandkiddos sure do make the holidays more special! :)

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  13. Those are excellent suggestions! Merry Christmas....

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  14. Even though the holidays are behind us, I"m glad to have read this post because life is a moving target as kids grow up and leave home! Blessings to you as you manage the changes.

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    1. Life certainly is a moving target, great way to put it. :) I'm pretty used to the changes as all 4 daughters have been out in the world for awhile now but I see where so many are having such a terrible time of it. I quite enjoy my nest being empty but I'm not sure I'd feel the same during a holiday season such as Thanksgiving or Christmas. To be honest, I hope I never have to find out but, if I do, I hope I don't end up in a bad place like some of the empty nest moms I know. Thank you for stopping by!

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  15. What a great post. These are great ideas to think about since we might be there in the future. Sometimes we forget about others that are by themselves when we are in sharing time with our family.
    I hope you stop by Over The Moon party this Sunday since you are being featured.
    Hugs,
    Bev

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    1. Thank you so much! We very well could be but I hope not. I wouldn't wish anyone being alone during the holidays unless that was their dream. Thank you for featuring me! I had no idea! I have an alarm set on my phone for the Over the Moon party so I won't forget. It's one of my favorites!

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  16. Words of wisdom! I know there are so many lonely people and it's worse at the holidays. I do feel great compassion for those that are lonely, but I also know that we are responsible for our own happiness. So we must take those steps to make sure we get out, get involved and stay grateful! Thank you for sharing with us at the #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty!

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    1. Thank you! I agree. There are many lonely souls and we are responsible for our own happiness but some of these moms just can't seem to lift themselves out of their despair. I keep recommending a counselor but they just keep talking about how sad they are which worries me.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! It makes me feel connected to everyone even though we may live far apart! Have a wonderful day!

 
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