Christmas time. It’s noisy, materialistic, and socially overwhelming.
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Most people plan for it, spend for it, live for it, and dread it all at the same time, each year.
In our society, the Christmas ideal is to sit around a heavily bedazzled tree or heftily set dinner table with every member of our family and friendship circles.
But the truth is, many of us don’t meet or fulfil that ideal.
Many of us wind up feeling lonely, isolated, and disillusioned because of our lack of close friendships or family members. And so we spend Christmas alone.
For those of us who have undergone some kind of spiritual awakening or existential crisis, Christmas time can be particularly painful. And that’s what I plan to cover in this article.
Table of contents
Christmas and Spiritual Awakening
Among many of the reasons why we may spend Christmas alone, undergoing a spiritual awakening is one of the top causes.
When we experience a spiritual awakening (and due to the state of the planet, an increasing number of people are), we tend to feel overwhelmed by everything. We begin to question our life choices, what our meaning of life is, and see life in a different light.
This process of life-turning-on-its-head tends to make Christmas a particularly difficult and even traumatic time.
We might ask questions such as:
- Why do I need to meet up with people I rarely see during the year for a celebration that is old and outdated?
- What’s the point of pretending that I “like” or “want to spend time with” family members who are toxic?
- I’m not Christian and/or I don’t believe in the origins of Christmas – why should I then celebrate it?
- How do I stop feeling so depressed and anxious during this time of year?
- Do I even want to celebrate Christmas in the first place?
As a result of the internal process of spiritual transformation occurring, our priorities become clearer and deeper concerns rise to the surface – Christmas becomes a time of dread and depression.
Not only that, but we may not wish to adhere to the same consumerism that is destroying the planet and our souls. Saying no, being true to ourselves, and listening to our integrity becomes anxiety-provoking as we don’t want to go against the status quo in our family of origin. And yet, a part of us craves to break free and live according to our own values. A painful split emerges within us.
Furthermore, society tells us that to be alone (or to spend time Christmas alone) is tragedy that makes us sad and pitiful human beings. Sure, this might not be blatantly taught to us, but it’s an unspoken, subliminal message that we absorb. And it’s utter nonsense.
The Joy of Spending Christmas Alone
Before I get into the joy of spending Christmas alone, let’s explore why we fear aloneness.
First off, being alone is not the same as being lonely. The two are totally different experiences.
To set the record straight: being alone is something we enjoy or choose. Being lonely is something we fear and avoid.
So why the fear of spending Christmas alone?
I believe we fear spending Christmas alone, not just because of the social conditioning that we shouldn’t, but also because very few people know how to be alone anymore.
Well, when we’re alone, we have to face ourselves, our thoughts, and the irrepressible truth that we are alone, at an ego level. This fear of facing the hard truths of life causes us to fear being alone, and in the process, forget the delights of solitude.
In our society, it is heretical not only to be alone but heretical to find contentment and fulfillment by ourselves, in ourselves as well.
As writer and solitude-lover, Lionel Fisher, comments in his book Celebrating Time Alone,
… we’ve been conditioned to press on mindlessly, be part of the norm.
And that norm is to stuff our inner void as full of stimulation and noise as possible.
The fact is that we need to relearn how to be alone. If we ever desire true inner peace, self-knowledge, and happiness – the kind that can only be discovered in solitude – we need to relearn how to be alone. We need to make peace with our aloneness. We need to embrace the power of solitude.
Fortunately, the holiday season is the perfect time to celebrate time alone with yourself. It’s fundamentally an act of self-care. It may be odd and out of the ordinary, but to live up to the standards of a sick, deeply flawed society is misguided.
Below you’ll find a list of just over 50 quirky, challenging, and enjoyable ideas to help you savor Christmas alone (if you choose to).
51 Things to Do Alone on Christmas
While some of the below ideas cater to the playful, silly inner child side within us, others cater to our more serious, adult, and practical inner dimensions. I’m sure you’ll find at least one idea that appeals to you below.
1. Spend the morning in self-deprivation, and spend the evening in self-indulgence.
2. Recreate your outer space. Decorate your room with Christmas lights, and turn out all the lights.
3. Take a road trip to a place you’ve never been before.
4. Have a conversation with yourself all day.
5. Compose your own Christmas carol.
6. Practice sensory deprivation and try spending Christmas day without hearing or seeing.
7. Give yourself the gift of silence. Block out all noises and distractions and do what matters to you the most.
8. Search for the loneliest looking person in town and give them a present.
9. Sing karaoke to your favorite songs and dance around until you collapse from exhaustion.
11. Try to set a world record, and email Guinness World Records when you achieve it.
12. Give your face and body a makeover. Shave, wax, polish, paint, trim, and moisturize every part you can find!
13. Take a bag full of old Christmas decorations and stuff someone’s letterbox full of them, to give them a surprise the next day.
14. Practice exercises in mindfulness meditation.
15. Become an indoor nudist for the whole day.
16. Think of one guilty interest (e.g., crystal healing for the skeptic) and spend the day exploring your curiosity.
17. Spend Christmas planting a ‘Christmas Garden.’
19. Do 3 good deeds that will make you happy.
20. Spend Christmas researching new hobbies and interests to broaden your mind, and world.
21. Create a fort or cave out of pillows and bed sheets, and spend the day inside doing what you love best.
21. Make your own Christmas decorations by hand, and cover your house in them.
22. Pretend you are the actor and director of your day. Make it movie worthy.
23. Come up with a list of 20 reasons why you shouldn’t celebrate Christmas.
24. Sit outside and eat your favorite food slowly, savoring every bite in complete mindful awareness.
25. Go to your local park and soak in the sights, smells, and sounds of Christmas day. Feel the happy vibes.
26. Cook yourself something you think the Queen would eat, and enjoy it all to yourself.
27. Have a movie marathon.
28. If you have a pet, give it a special present. Treat your companion like royalty.
29. Buy something from the internet for yourself. You’ll have something to look forward to long after Christmas is over.
30. Create a riddle, put it where someone will find it, and hide a prize. Return to the place at the end of the day to see if anyone found it.
31. Open a map of your town, close your eyes, and point to a place on the map. Drive or walk there, and see what you find.
32. Take a walk in the late afternoon to smell all the delicious food emanating from your neighbor’s houses. Guess what they’re cooking.
33. Go to the beach with your favorite novel, very early or very late, to avoid the commotion.
34. Collect items that represent your feelings and thoughts about Christmas day. Put them in a time capsule box and bury them in your backyard.
35. Spend the morning researching the history of Christmas. Spend the evening creating a YouTube video about what you discovered.
36. Buy or make something special, and put it on your neighbor’s doorstep. Ring the bell and run away.
37. Think about what you loved to do as a kid that you don’t do anymore, and do it, e.g., if it was taking bubble baths, whip out your bath crystals!
38. Make your day more humorous. Watch a comedy, laugh at people and yourself, and look for reasons why the things you take seriously are comedic.
39. Sit and observe people on Christmas day and write a short story about them. Then print out and stick it in the letterboxes of every house on your street.
40. Think of every reason why you enjoy being alone for the entire day.
41. Reassess your daily routine and 3 alternative ways to do what you normally do. Put them in practice.
42. Be actively lazy, and spend the day in bed trying to lucid dream.
43. Spend the day opening, cleansing, and balancing the chakras within your body. For example, you could drink soothing herbal teas that resonate with each chakra.
44. If you’re religious, go to a church and daydream about your best-loved saints sitting next to you and talking to you. What would they say to you?
45. Use the day to achieve something important. For example, write a whole blog post, get to level 22 on your game, solve 50 riddles, etc.
46. Spend the day painting your impression of Christmas day and stick it on your front door.
47. Be eccentric. Weird out the people in your neighborhood by hanging bizarre things off a tree outside your house.
48. Nurture yourself for the whole day. Give yourself hugs, write yourself a poem, and compose a list of everything you love about yourself (this self-love article might help).
49. Do 5 things that are silly or ridiculous to you, and see if you get any life epiphanies.
50. If it’s snowing, sneak out early in the morning and make a family of Christmas snowmen, positioning them mysteriously all over town.
51. Do some soul searching. Reflect on who you are, what you want from life, and what brings you a sense of meaning and purpose.
What to Do if You Decide to (or Have to) Spend Christmas With Others
Sometimes, we dearly want to spend Christmas alone, but it’s just not possible. That’s the way life is presenting itself right now. What do we do?
Although this article is aimed toward those who have undergone a spiritual awakening and are struggling with Christmas, these tips can help anyone at any stage of their life journey:
- Take care of your stress levels. Relax before the event, e.g., ensure that you’re grounded, well-rested, and organized.
- Be present with your inner child. Expanding the above point, be aware that holidays like Christmas can trigger old patterns of stress and fear within us. These patterns come from the wounded inner child – and we all, more or less, have one. So give yourself a lot of validation, love, and support. You deserve it and need it. See our inner child article for more guidance.
- Set boundaries and limits. For example, make it known how long you can be at the celebration/gathering before you need to go to ____________ You get to decide. The power is in your hands.
- If contributing to consumerism/climate change is an issue for you, think about giving more mindful gifts. Focus on sustainable and ethically produced items. Bamboo is a great choice and place to start as it’s widely accessible and is manufactured in a variety of ways (from coffee mugs to bed linen).
- Keep it simple. Focus on simplifying what you need to do. Stick to the essentials. Don’t be afraid of letting go of the tasks and Christmas habits you’ve always done simply because they’re familiar.
- Think about how you’d like to reclaim your holidays for next year. Let’s face it, Christmas can feel really arbitrary and pointless. Why not plan for how you’d like to make Christmas (or another celebration you choose) more intentional. Don’t be afraid to create a new holiday ritual for you and your family that feels authentic.
- Limit contact (as much as possible) with toxic family members. We all have *that* uncle, parent, mother in law, or extended family member who’s a pain in the ass. Be strategic and find ways of limiting your contact with them. Doing so will help you hold onto that little bit of extra sanity.
- Gratitude helps a lot. Yes, I know the situation might not be ideal for you. But there are much worse situations out there. In fact, science has proven that being grateful is a powerful way of remaining happy and calm. So no, you don’t need to be thankful for your sibling’s self-entitled or snarky behavior, but you can be grateful that they have raised beautiful children that bring joy to the world.
Christmas is a celebration that is imposed on us by society. We often feel the need to play by its unspoken rules, and thus we experience a loss of our self-sovereignty. But with mindfulness, self-compassion, and a little effort, it can become a source of empowerment.
Enjoy, and take care of yourself!
So tell me, what is your story? Are you spending Christmas alone out of choice … or perhaps by circumstance? Maybe you are sharing Christmas with others but don’t want to. Share below to let others know that they’re in good company.