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                                  Tips for Having a Happy Christmas, Even if You’re Alone

Are you getting together with your loved ones this Christmas? If you are, it’s a wonderful holiday to look forward to and enjoy. But for countless families, the holidays present a problem:  too many people to please—too many family members to visit. And for others the distances between them and “home” is just too far to travel—too expensive to make the gathering happen.

In fact, the holidays from Thanksgiving until the New Year rings in, can be some of the saddest times, especially for older members who can’t make the magic happen anymore. What can we do when our holidays tend to bring more emptiness and remorse than happy times?

Here are some of Ask Granny’s tips to help all of us celebrate Christmas to the fullest, no matter our circumstances.

Enjoy a Holiday Special Event

If you’re home and not expecting any children or grandchildren over the Christmas holiday, gather up a friend or two and take in a special holiday activity. There are tree-lighting ceremonies, concerts of all kinds, Holiday plays, light displays, bazaars and markets and so much more. Make a day of it and take part in the holiday even if you’re not going to celebrate with family on Christmas day.

Make Your Surroundings Festive

Maybe the fuss of buying, setting up and decorating a Christmas tree is just too much work if the family isn’t coming to enjoy it. Make a different choice. Set up a special nativity scene, buy some new holiday candles, buy a mini-tree to enjoy on your own. Sew a new holiday placemat or buy something bright and shiny to hang on the wall. Your spirits will rise as you enter into the holiday spirit.

Bake Some Goodies/ Cook Some Traditional Favorites

So what if the whole family won’t be around the table this year? Bake some cookies and a batch of fudge and take them to the local assisted living home. Cook a fabulous dinner and invite your neighbors or a young family from your community. Enjoy the company of those you might otherwise overlook.

Give Something

There are hundreds of ways to spread the joy of a happy holiday season by giving. Take one of those cards off a tree at the mall and provide a nice gift for a needy child. Take a new toy to the local toys for Christmas drive. Buy socks, hats and mittens for homeless shelters. Put some money in the Salvation Army can or sponsor a holiday meal for a needy family. Take a turkey to an elderly neighbor or better yet, invite the neighbor to be with you on Christmas day. There are always to give to others and you’ll be surprised how good that can make you feel.

Count Your Blessings

Although it can be sad to be alone over Christmas, it helps to be thankful for all you do have. Count each family member and take note of the things you love about them. Be aware of the home and possessions you have and be grateful. Be thankful for regular meals and if you have good health be very thankful for that.

One to One Contact

One of the blessings of seeing your family over the holidays is getting time with each child or grandchild. But even if you aren’t going to see them face to face this year, make it a point to contact each person on a one to one basis. Send a special gift with a note explaining why you gave this particular item to them. You’ll show that you care about their individuality—they are special to you. Writing a letter to adult family members or making that phone call or Skype/Facetime visit is a blessing of today’s technology. And even though the longing to be together won’t disappear, you’ll feel the connection you have with those special loved ones.

Make a Plan

Christmas is just one day of the year. There are 364 others. Make a plan to see your beloved kids and grandkids as soon as possible. Maybe they’ll visit over spring break or plan on coming to see you during the summertime. You’ll have a special time to look forward to.

The holidays are a most wonderful time of the year. But the pressures to spend and do and be can overwhelm us at times. If you’re disappointed at not being together with loved ones this year, choose several of the above tips and act on them. You can take the Christmas bull by the horns and choose to enjoy the season in spite of less-than-perfect circumstances.