Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Alone

Q.  I’m a widow with two grown children and several grandchildren. My daughter and her husband and children in California have always come home for Christmas. This year they can’t come. My son lives only a few hours away but they’re going to her family this year. At age seventy-two I’m faced with spending Christmas alone for the first time in my life. I’m quite upset about this. How can I get through the day alone?

Christmas alone. Many people are alone and lonely at Christmas. Often, the older generation is left out of Christmas plans as much attention focuses on making Christmas happy for children. Family mobility also contributes to this - as in your case. Most of us find it difficult to be separated from our loved ones on Christmas. There are a number of things you can do to make this Christmas bearable or perhaps, even enjoyable. Choose the ones that appeal to you. Some of these may feel risky but do them anyway.

1. Plan your day ahead of time. Face the fact that it will be difficult to spend Christmas alone, but plan ways to make the best of it. Don’t wait until Christmas morning to decide how you will spend your day.
2. Tell friends and neighbors that you will be alone at Christmas. Perhaps someone will invite you to join them. Or you may find someone else who is going to be spending Christmas alone and then the two of you can spend the day together.
3. Volunteer to help on Christmas Day. Hospitals, nursing or retirement homes and shelters for the homeless have only skeleton crews working. They welcome volunteers on Christmas Day. Your help might even allow someone else to be with their family. Helping others can help you forget your loneliness. 
4. Do some of the things you enjoy the most on Christmas day. Enjoy your leisure time alone with a bubble bath, a good book or a special movie. Plan a special Christmas dinner of your favorite foods even if you’re eating alone. 
5. Invite someone over for Christmas who would otherwise be alone. Perhaps there are foreign students on a local campus with no place to go or an elderly person who could leave a nursing home but has no relatives here.
6. Plan a trip so you won’t be alone on Christmas. Visit a resort you’ve always wanted to visit or look up an old friend, a cousin or a niece or a nephew.
7. Keep your thoughts positive. Imagine your grandchildren and children opening the presents you’ve sent them. Talk with them by phone to wish them a Merry Christmas and to share their happiness.
8. Celebrate Christmas at your church. If you don’t have a church, find one. Attend all the special Christmas events throughout the holiday season. Many churches have special Christmas Eve candlelight services. Let your church be your family this year.

9. Trust in God and think about the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus came as a babe, lived with us, died for us and now his Spirit is with us. He is with us in our loneliness.

Note to Readers: The elderly in our midst need to be noticed, appreciated and loved at Christmas. They may not have many more Christmases with us. Include them in your Christmas plans.

Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”  Isaiah 46:4

Christmas Blessings, Dottie

This post originally appeared on Taber's Truths

1 comment:

  1. Dottie: This is a very good list. Our son has been invited to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with the family of a co-worker. (He lives 600 miles from us.) This co-worker has done this every year since our son moved out there. They hired in together.