The holidays are a magical time filled with gifts, twinkly lights, and love from family and friends. But when you're forced to figure out how to spend Christmas alone for the first time, it can feel intensely lonely and depressing. Maybe you're broke, and a round-trip ticket to wherever your family lives is more than you can spend. Maybe your friends are all leaving town, and you need to stick around for work. No matter the reason why you'll be singing Christmas carols solo, there are plenty of ways to make this alone time suck less.
Because this is actually a great time to practice self-love — one of the hardest skills for anyone to master. During a time when everyone you know will be exchanging gifts with family, friends, and their significant others, it can feel lonely and weird if you're not doing the same. To that I say, "HECK NO." When you're on your own, you can celebrate Christmas however you decide, without having to cater to the traditions or routines of other people. (And you don't have to feel guilty about buying yourself presents, either.) Here are all the ways to actually enjoy the holidays by yourself, and maybe even make it your new Christmas tradition.
1. Fill your fridge with sweet treats.
Pastries, cupcakes, and ice cream — oh my! Christmas only comes once a year, and there are a whole lot of seasonal holiday treats you need to squeeze in.
2. Buy a tree to decorate.
It can be a fake tree, a Charlie Brown tree, or even a sturdy plant. Just decorate something, because it's a holiday tradition that requires focus, using your hands, and creativity — therefore, it's calming and relaxing.
3. Get yourself a pet.
If you're truly ready to care for a living creature in sickness and in health (and your living situation is a pet-friendly place), the holidays are a great time to get yourself a dog or a cat. They don't talk back or play mind games, and they will make every day, including Christmas, a joy. If you're not quite ready for that amount of responsibility, go for a fish.
4. Load up on adult beverages.
You're a grown-ass woman learning to love herself on a holiday that depends on receiving love from others. If you need a little liquid courage to have fun on your own, then so be it.
5. Create a pajamas-only dress code.
You have to dress up for work and life outside your doors, so now that you're alone, be cozy.
6. Watch as many movies and TV shows as you want in one sitting.
Catch up on all the shows you've been waiting to watch. This is a judgement-free binge zone, so embrace the comfort your TV can provide, and veg out.
7. Skype with friends and family.
Just because you can't be with them in person doesn't mean you can't send them love. Call, text, Skype, email — do whatever you need to do in order to exchange some holiday cheer with your faves.
8. Cook a feast, or have one delivered.
If cooking relaxes you, then make a feast for two... for one. And eat it all. If cooking stresses you out, then hop on GrubHub and pay someone else to prepare and deliver your feast.
9. Nap often.
There's no right or wrong time to nap during the holidays, especially if you aren't entertaining guests. Sleep when the mood should arise, and just go with it.
10. Pamper yourself.
This can mean putting on face masks and giving yourself a mani pedi, or getting your hair did and buying a new outfit, or heading outside for a run around the neighborhood. Whatever you typically do to make you feel your best, do it now.
11. Buy yourself tons of gifts.
I don't care if you spent the year being naughty or nice, you deserve to open a bunch of presents. You can get a sack full of funny $1 dollar gifts, or you can buy yourself a few luxurious goodies. Either way, treat yo self.
12. Open presents whenever the heck you please.
Your family might have a particular order in which gifts are opened — stockings first, everyone takes turns opening one gift to make the morning last all day, etc. But you aren't with family, so you make the rules. Hell, you don't even have to wrap your gifts if you don't feel like it. YOLO.
And happy holidays.
For more cool holiday ideas, check out Bustle on YouTube.