Navigating the Holiday’s without family
Dec. 4 2018

Navigating the Holiday’s without family

Most of us remember waking up Christmas morning and being surrounded by family for the entire day. It’s the season of love and happiness. For those of us who have to face them alone, it can make navigating the Holiday’s without family a little different. Everyone has their own reasons for not being with family. For some, it’s a choice and for others, it’s not.  Either way by following some of these steps, you can still have a happy Holiday.

Know yourself and Be Prepared

It’s important to know that you may feel lonely, everyone does at times. It’s how you deal with it that can change the Holiday for you. You know yourself better than anyone else, so make sure you know what activities and days trigger your loneliness.

It’s also important to be prepared for when these times come. Make yourself a list of people you can call when you’re feeling down and make sure they are aware you may need them. Most friends or people you spend your everyday life with would be more than happy to chat with you for a few minutes when you need them. You should also be prepared to do something that lifts your spirits. Some like to write in a journal and others like music- find what works for you and stick with it.

Get into the Holiday Spirit

No matter what Holidays you may celebrate, there are decorations. Decorate your house! Put up a little Christmas tree or get yourself a dreidel. According to a survey done by The Journal of Environmental Psychology, decorating your home early actually makes you happier and attracts your neighbors to your home making you seem more approachable. So put out those lights, watch some old movies and listen to some Holiday music!

Plan some events

Get yourself out of the house by planning out some events ahead of time! Many local places will have things to do for the Holidays. Go to a local museum, lights on the lake or even just walk around with friends and look at the Christmas lights. Being active and surrounding yourself with others (even others you may not know) can lift your spirits.

There are also many agencies in our area that have Holiday suggestions and fun.

  • The Rescue Mission will provide food.
  • Adult Recovery Services is a free service that has free Holiday parties and groups for those struggling during the season.
  • The Utica Library has a day where they make cards and have snacks.
  • Operation Sunshine is an option for families to obtain food and gifts for the Holidays.
  • The Salvation Army offers food baskets and toys for Christmas to those who qualify.

Spend Time with Friends

One thing you can do that will get you in the Holiday spirit is to plan a day with all your friends and people you regularly spend time with. Have everyone bring a dish and have a Holiday party that you’ll never forget. It doesn’t have to be anything spectacular, just fun and friends.

If you have friends who also don’t spend the Holiday with their families you can even plan to spend the Holiday together. The important thing is to surround yourself with people who will help you defeat that lonely feeling.

Take Time for Yourself

This sounds simple but the Holidays are a busy season. Take some time to focus on you every once in a while. Do what makes you happy at this time and take some time to reflect. Take a bath with some quiet music on, draw or color, exercise, etc. Taking time for yourself to relax is just as important as spending time with others and will help you to enjoy those times with friends more.



Elise Pape

Director of Adult Recovery Services


Carole M.W., Sonja P., & Barbara B.B. (1989) Journal of Environmental Psychology (Volume 9) 279-296. Salt Lake City, UT: Elsevier.