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Spending the Holidays Alone Doesn't Have to be Lonely

Sad Woman by George Hodan

Sad Woman by George Hodan

Loneliness can be overwhelming when you have no one to spend holiday time with. What can you do to make the holidays joyous rather than depressing if you are in this situation?

Holidays often evoke thoughts of family and friends spending special times together. Therefore, being alone for the holidays is a major challenge for many people. This challenge may feel especially great if you are single or newly divorced without loved ones to surround you.

Some people spend their time with others attempting to get love, attention, and approval, thinking that this is what makes them feel happy and worthy. But getting attention from others to fill ourselves is like eating chocolate when you are lonely – it works for the moment but then you need more and more of it. Eventually it becomes an addiction.

This may seem like a paradox, but the holidays are not about what you GET – they are about what you GIVE. Many people miss the point of what holidays are really about and what makes them special. They are under the impression that the joy of holidays is about what you receive rather than about what you share. What really fills the emptiness is the giving of love. Too often people think in terms of getting love rather than giving and sharing their love. They don’t realize that it is the act of giving their love that is so very fulfilling.

Just consider the character of Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. On Christmas morning when Scrooge realizes that no time has passed and he still has the opportunity to give, he feels such joy at the prospect of giving, that he can hardly stand it! He dances around and laughs with the joy of giving! In one night, he went from being a miserable old man concerned only with getting, to a man now focused only on giving, thus becoming a joyful person.

While you might not have money to give, we all have caring to give. You have no idea how much you can enrich your own life as well as another person’s life just by giving your time, your attention, your interest, your smile, or simply your understanding. Whatever your life circumstances, you always have the opportunity to give your caring. You will discover that giving your caring to others, especially over the holidays, is a profound way of caring about yourself.

If you are alone this holiday season, consider the ways you can give love that will bring joy. Below are some suggestions for sharing your love and caring over the holidays:

  • Gather toys from friends and store donations and distribute them to children who would not otherwise have toys. You can find these children through schools, churches and various other organizations.
  • Find a domestic violence shelter in your area and help to create the holidays there. Spend Thanksgiving Day cooking, serving, and having Thanksgiving dinner with the residents. Closer to Christmas, you can assist with holiday tasks such as baking cookies, decorating the tree and wrapping gifts.
  • Spend time with residents of nursing homes, especially those who have no family. Spending time caring about another lonely person will go a long way toward eliminating your loneliness!
  • Volunteer to help with serving food to the needy over Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many churches and other charitable organizations welcome volunteers to help in food lines over the holidays.
  • Find a church, temple, or community group in your area that has special events for singles over the holidays. Go to these events with the intention of sharing your caring with others, which you can do just by being interested in listening to another person. We all love being listened to and understood, and all of us have the capacity to give this to another.
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter to help with cleaning, feeding, playing with puppies and kittens, and interviewing people who wanted to adopt a pet. This will give you an opportunity to get to know the other volunteers. As you develop friendships, you may also find a new family centered around the shelter.

No matter what your life situation is, you can always share your love with others. Instead of feeling alone and lonely this holiday season, open your heart to giving. There are many people and animals out there who would welcome your love.