People mean well, but I swear, the assumptions people have about those who OPT to spend the holidays alone just drives me batty! Not all of us are scrooges that curse the holidays and hide in our homes threatening people with death if they dare say "Happy Holidays!" We aren't all sad and lonely people hiding in the dark crying our eyes out wishing people loved us. Some of us are just damn tired and do not feel like pulling the holiday decorations out of the garage, planning a menu, cooking, shopping, gifting, taking the decorations down, pulling the Christmas tree out to the curb when its all over and dealing with Christmas tree needles all over the house up until April. Black Friday and Cyber Monday can both suck it, because I'm not giving up my off day to stand in line for 4-5 hours to buy stuff and I still don't know what Cyber Monday is really all about and don't care to research it.
Declining an offer to spend the holidays or have holiday dinner with another family is not personal at all. So, please do not be offended. It's just that I have the perfect books to read in front of the fireplace, plenty of firewood, Mariah Carey Christmas CD (Isn't it the best??), fresh pairs of feety pajamas, my big bottle of Costco Egg Nog, great recipe for mulled wine and lots of my favorite snacks from Trader Joe's and Costco. I also have It's a Wonderful Life, The Holiday, A Christmas Story and every cartoon Rudolph, Santa Claus and Frosty The Snowman movie on DVD. I'm good.
However, just because going all out for the holiday is not my plan, doesn't mean that I will not get out a bit and soak in some of the lovely holiday spirit. Here are a few suggestions for things to do during the holidays other than the big family get-together.
Share Your Heart With Others
I know that soup kitchens, homeless shelters and homes for women and children are flooded with volunteers during the holidays, but this is still a good idea. If those things are too cliché for your taste, you can also:
Write letters/Christmas Cards for homeless Veterans. http://www.christmasdinnerforhomelessveterans.com/
Do something nice for an elderly person or widow/widower you know.
Help a family in need.
Donate items in your closet. These items could make a wonderful Christmas gift for a family.
Make Dinner Reservations
If you don't feel like cooking or attending a big gathering, go out to dinner. Many restaurants remain open on Thanksgiving and Christmas and believe me you will not be the only person dining alone on the holiday. Remember, there are many people who do not recognize holidays and just see them as regular days. I had Thanksgiving dinner at one of my favorite restaurants and there were many other solo diners. Admittedly, I had a wonderful time!
Cook A Lovely Dinner For Yourself
Still craving traditional holiday food? Cook a small version for yourself. I have been known to cook a rabbit, duck or entire turkey for myself.
Attend a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
I did this recently and had an awesome time. There were so many people out and in a good mood and everyone was talking to each other, even strangers. There is something about the anticipation of waiting for the lights to go on that pulls everyone together. When the lights finally come on everyone is in awe of the beauty and its marvelous to see the childlike excitement in the faces of everyone there.
Go Ice Skating
If there is a local outdoor seasonal rink near you, I suggest you give it a whirl!
Go To The Theatre or The Ballet
During the holidays you can probably find a production of A Christmas Carol or The Nutcracker Ballet somewhere in your area.
Take A Stroll or Drive to See The Christmas Lights and Decorations
If you have a downtown, city area, large shopping district or mall near you, they may have beautiful holiday decorations. Also, many neighborhoods have homes with decorations worth seeing. Disneyland is near me so I usually take a stroll through Downtown Disney every year.
Attend Free Holiday Concerts
My friends and I attended a Christmas concert at a local church last week. Then we had dinner. It was a great way to get out and enjoy the holiday without all the hub-bub.
Plan More Time With Friends
My friends and I usually have regularly scheduled girls nights out or coffee chat time together. But during December we have planned a couple more. It gets stressful around the holidays so a little extra wine with the girls during the week really calms the nerves.
These are just a few suggestions, but you get the point. There are plenty things to do around the holidays and you don't have to feel guilty about not wanting to celebrate the holidays in the traditional way. Have fun my friends! Enjoy YOUR season!