Five ideas to make spending Christmas Day alone less upsetting
21 December 2020, 11:01 | Updated: 21 December 2020, 11:02
The Government's announcement on Saturday has thrown everyone's plans in to chaos, but don't let the U-turn ruin your Christmas.
Whatever you are feeling about Christmas right now, be it anger, disappointment, anxiety or something else, it's perfectly OK.
Even if you don't know what you are feeling, that is OK, too.
We have never been in this situation before, and like most of 2020, we are in a completely unchartered territory that has the power to make you feel like you are walking along a never ending road with no finish line in sight.
But while the past nine months have been strange, and lonely, and hard, it hasn't all been bad.
We've seen friendships form between neighbours who had never spoken to one another before; a new respect and admiration for our brave NHS staff and the key workers who have kept the country running, and watered, and fed; communities across the UK have rallied together to help those in need; and as a society, our priorities have shifted, with each of us hoping and working forwards towards a greater good.
That is why although this Christmas will be weird, strange, lonely and nothing like we are used to, we will get through it. Together.
We've put together five ideas to make this Pandemic Christmas a bit less scary, and maybe make it one that you'll never forget, for the right reasons...
Share with your community
With just days before Christmas - and some people not paid their December wages yet - not everyone has bought their Christmas food shopping.
Meanwhile, others have stocked up for a visit from their loved ones which now won't be happening.
If you have enough to share, or you have nothing in as your Christmas plans have now totally changed, see if any of your neighbours are looking to donate (or receive) Christmas essentials on community sharing app Olio.
Make a date
We all thought Zoom parties and quizzes were in the past, didn't we?
Well, it looks like they might be getting one last hurrah over the next few weeks.
If you're worried about not having anything to look forward to on Christmas Day, get some video chats booked in with your loved ones. It'll give you an excuse to get dressed up, and will definitely help to stave off loneliness.
You could all have zoom on as you eat Christmas dinner, sharing Christmas cracker jokes with each other, or you could even arrange to host a Christmas quiz.
Make it YOUR day
If you are suddenly facing Christmas Day on your own at home, don't let it overwhelm you with sadness - try and put a positive spin on it.
It's YOUR day, you can do what you like with it!
When I personally have had Christmas Day at home on my own away from my family (because journalists don't get 'normal' time off!) I have found knowing I have a few little things set aside especially for the day has helped make it feel special in its own way, and not like I am missing out.
This year I have stashed away a scented candle, some salted caramel coffee, a lovely bath bomb and a box of chocolates. However, one year I watched back-to-back action films and ate frozen party food with my cat as that's what I wanted to do.
If you only really like certain bits of a Christmas dinner, just make those, or if you want to order a takeaway, then do that.
As well as calling family and friends, try mindfulness exercises, journalling, listening to your favourite podcast in the bath, having a mini-pamper day, or get some fresh air and head out for a walk.
Or watch old TV Christmas specials for a dose of cosy nostalgia, or check out what festive films are streaming.
A stroll around your local area will reassure you that we are all in this situation together, and sharing a smile with a stranger might be the best thing to happen to either of you that day.
There are lots of people on their own this Christmas, so while you might feel lonely, you are not alone.
And most of all, just remember it is only one day. These tough times will pass, and we will all be able to be together with our families again soon.
Plus, there are no rules against having a big Christmas dinner at another point in the year!
Ring a Bell
Similar to how we all clapped and whooped for the NHS earlier this year, there is a new campaign for Brits to stand out on their doorsteps at 6pm on Christmas Eve and ring a bell.
Mum-of-two Mary Beggs-Reid came up with the idea to raise the spirits of the nation, and to help power Father Christmas through the sky.
Decorate your windows
Get crafty and make some brightly coloured pictures to stick in the windows of your home, or use fake snow to spray a Christmas scene.
Similar to how the NHS rainbows brightened up streets during the first lockdown in March, give your home a festive feel with drawings of Father Christmas, Rudolph, puddings and anything else they can come up with.
Colouring is a well known anxiety-busting activity, and your works of art will bring a smile to your neighbours' faces - and might even inspire them to do their own, brightening up your whole street!
Most importantly, don't be afraid to ask for help.