For many people, the idea of spending Christmas alone sounds like the most tragic thing in the world. But trust me, it actually can be quite fabulous. In fact, I’ve chosen to be alone of Christmas Day three times in the past 15 years and they have been some of the ones I remember most fondly. So, if you’re considering having a solo celebration during the festive season, here are my five tips to make sure you have a cheerfully cosy Christmas by yourself.
Why I like spending Christmas alone
I bloody love Christmas. I’m not even remotely religious but I get seriously into the festive season. The trashy songs, the OTT decorations, everyone joyously and drunkenly spending time together, even the inevitable month-long hangover. Of course, the sense of goodwill, endless cuddles with important people and thoughtful gifts are lovely too. It is my favourite time of the year.
One thing I don’t love about December though is this question: “So, what are you doing for Christmas?” I ask it, you ask, your friends ask it, your workmates ask it, everyone asks it. How we spend the festive season carries a lot of weight. It’s like Christmas Day is a mirror held up to your life and whatever you see shows the reality of what your life is like the rest of the year. We assume it signifies where your life is now at and whether you are loved or not. Which, of course, is utter crap.
Christmas is a weird old time of year, especially if you’re queer or polyamorous or don’t live in the same country as your family (be that your biological or ‘logical’ family – to quote the wonderful Armistead Maupin). If your life isn’t structured around one relationship or if you don’t have family nearby, it’s sometimes hard to know what to do with yourself at Christmas. Do you join someone else’s family celebration? See what friends are around? Or spend it on your own?
Being all alone on Christmas Day is seen as a last resort of the lonely, and if you truly want to spend it with friends, partners or family but can’t, it can feel like a sad time. But it doesn’t have to be. You can also consciously choose to spend Christmas on your own. I’ve actually done this multiple times since I moved to London from Australia in 2004. On all these occasions, I’ve looked at my options and lovely offers decided that I would prefer to rock it solo style. Not because I’m depressed or a bit of a Scrooge but because I knew that I would most enjoy spending it by myself.
One time it was because I really wanted to indulge in Christmas exactly the way I wanted. Another time, it was because I valued having my space more than spending it with my partner’s family. Recently, it was because I knew I had a lot to process after an enormously difficult year and I felt like Christmas gave me to perfect time to do this before NYE. Each time, I’ve really valued what this quiet time of the year could bring me personally.
So if you find yourself not wanting to spend Christmas with family or if your partners and friends are away for the festive season, it’s ok to choose to spend it on your own. It’s definitely possible to have a fabulously festive time by yourself and here are some of the things I do to make mine amazing.
Make a plan
Yes, I love a plan. In fact, my friends and partners often call me ‘Planny Fanny’ because it’s one of my favourite things to do. I definitely found that it really helped me this Christmas. Not only did I write down some ideas in advance for 25th December, but in fact, I did this for the week of Christmas.
One of the main things I did was plan out food. It’s such an important part of the festive experience, so I wanted to make sure I had lots of things I loved. Plus, as the shops are closed for a few days it was important that I had enough food for the week as well. So I put together a list of what I was thinking about making each day.
Other things I added to that plan were things I wanted to do. As I live in the Northern Hemisphere, this meant one thing: Christmas TV. I looked up all the festive films and TV specials I wanted to watch and made sure I had those on the schedule too. You can also go on your own post-lunch walk – it’s so lovely to wish everyone you see a Merry Christmas and get some fresh air.
Growing up in Australia, I know that when you have a warm Christmas you have a lot more options beyond watching TV too. Maybe you can make a plan to spend the day chilling on the beach, reading a good book and swimming in the sea. Perhaps you’d like to go for an afternoon hike or bike ride? You can always pop some tinsel on your handlebars or backpack and take a portable speaker to pump some festive tunes. Either way, have a think about things you would like to do over Christmas and make a plan. This will give your time some structure and give you things to look forward to that you know you’ll enjoy.
Make yourself and your home fabulous
If you’re spending Christmas at home on your own, I think it’s super important to make your place look nice. Even if you aren’t into having a tree and tinsel everywhere (like me), it’s still really important to give your house a good clean around Christmas Eve so that it feels extra lovely for the next day. You’ll feel a million times better chilling out if you pad looks lovely. If you do love Christmas decorations, put some up! There’s no reason you can’t enjoy having a tree that’s just for you. Whatever it is that you need to make your space feel special – from scented candles to colourful tinsel to a sparkling kitchen – make sure you make the effort for yourself.
Making yourself feel fabulous is just as important as making your home look fabulous. The best thing about spending the festive season on your own is you can wear whatever you want – and that includes nothing at all. If all you want to rock on Christmas Day is a sparkly pair of earrings and some killer heels, turn up the heating and enjoy being naked. If you want to dress up is something fun or formal, do it. Want to plan a few outfit changes for the day? Why the hell not? If you’re planning a massive chill session and just want to spend the day in loungewear, then gift yourself with an early Christmas present of some lovely new pyjamas. This isn’t any old day so make sure you wear something that will make you special and celebratory. It will make an enormous amount of difference to how you feel.
One of the things that really struck on Christmas Day this year is that the only time I ever take a day off to chill, watch trashy tv, eat delicious food, have a long soak in the bath and just generally indulge myself is when I’m either hungover or ill. So having a day to do all of this when I actually felt good was amazing! I couldn’t believe how lovely it felt to have a guilt-free day of self-care and personal pleasure.
I started my day by whipping up an amazing breakfast followed by a long soak in my bath. I added a bunch of my presents into this experience, enjoying the bath bomb, bath salts, chocolates and a pre-mixed cocktail that I’d been given all at once (all while listening to vintage Christmas songs). It was divinely indulgent and I felt like I was immersing myself in the love of all the people who had given me these presents.
After this, I heated up the oven and made myself a lovely Christmas roast. If, like me, you find it sad cooking for one then make more food and box up the leftovers to enjoy over the rest of the festive break. I made a roast for four and I am still enjoying it a few days later! The best thing about spending Christmas alone is that you can
Keep in touch
In this digital era, no one is truly alone at Christmas. You would have to turn your phone off and hide your laptop to avoid anyone getting in touch with you during the festive season. Of course, if you want to drop out from all communication that’s totally fine, but obviously let your friends, family and partners know this in advance (as they may be counting on hearing from you).
One of the things I really like to do at Christmas is to pre-arrange when I will speak to the people I love, especially if they live in a different timezone. December 25th can be super busy for people with children or lots of plans, so it’s good to plan when the best time to talk will be for them. I find it tough when I don’t get to talk to my mum on Christmas Day, for example, so I always make sure I plan a time to talk to her so that I don’t miss her (as she lives in Australia).
Another great way of staying in touch is group chats. My family and friends have various ones, which is a great way of hearing what everyone is up to on the day. I also was added to a fun WhatsApp group this year where a small group of exhibitionistic friends were sharing funny photos of themselves naked with Christmas hats, decorations etc. This, of course, made my day very fun!
Have a back-up plan
If you’re consciously choosing to spend Christmas on your own, be mindful that despite all your lovely plans to indulge yourself, you may wake up on the day wanting to be around your friends and family – and that is ok. So make sure you put the feelers out in advance and see who’d be up for having you over for a breakfast mimosa, an afternoon Bailey’s or even as a last-minute lunch guest.
Most people are happy to have guests pop by at a certain point in the day, so check-in with your loved ones as to when suits them and let them know you’re spending Christmas on your own but may want to pop by. This means you have a back-up plan with your support network if you’re not feeling like flying solo during the festive season.
Have you spent Christmas on your own? Do you have your own tips for making it fabulous? Comment below and share the love.
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