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Being alone on holidays doesn’t mean being lonely
Traditionally, the holidays place an emphasis on being with
family during the season of giving. But a new job in a new
city, a spouse's military deployment, estrangement from family
and other reasons can mean not being with family. Still, that
doesn’t mean the holidays have to be any less celebratory.
"You can celebrate
the holidays by yourself," said Dr. Roberta Nutt, professor
of psychology at Texas Woman's University. "Buy yourself
a gift; take yourself out to dinner."
Or, simply, create
a "family" to celebrate the holidays.
time at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Visit residents
in a nursing home. It's the season of giving, so give some
of your time and energy to them," Dr. Nutt said.
An elderly neighbor
or other co-workers may be alone during the holidays. Make
plans to spend time with them — dinner, a party, some
relaxed socializing. "Do what fits for you," Dr.
Share holiday cheer
by making a basket of treats to share with firefighters or
police working Thanksgiving or Christmas, but first make sure
the department's policy doesn't prohibit such gifts and that
they know goodies are coming. "Hospital staff and homeless
shelter staff also work the holidays and they appreciate such
gestures, too," Dr. Nutt said.
to be a substitute driver for Meals On Wheels on Christmas
Day. Deliver holiday care baskets for a food bank. Be a Christmas
angel and buy gifts for an underprivileged child. There are
so many possibilities."
Creating a personal
holiday ritual is another way to celebrate. "Decorating
your home and putting up a tree could be a ritual you enjoy
while neighbors enjoy the decorations," Dr. Nutt said.
could be giving yourself quiet time to reflect on the year,
mourn losses and embrace blessings. Since the holidays are
stressful enough, and family can make them more stressful,
that alone quiet time can be a gift to yourself.
Amanda McKeen Simpson
Director of News and Information
Tel: (940) 898-3456