We have different kinds of traditions as a society. Celebrating Christmas or any other religious holiday is one of them. Whether the actual event we celebrate took place or not is up to debate, but oftentimes holidays become a list of "should-dos" instead of enjoying the moment. Holiday season has become a stressful time for many people for no reason. Besides financial stress (it doesn't have to be), this time of the year traditionally is associated with some kind of pressure.
"What are you going to do for Christmas or New Year's eve?" - people would have asked (before COVID times), and if you are a socially anxious introvert, like me, you probably often felt like you were supposed to come up with something "exciting", while in reality you would have preferred to cuddle up with a glass of wine (or hot chocolate) watching festive TV shows. I can tell you, that I had "celebrations" of all kinds: exciting and fun, but also disappointing and at times lonely. Over the years I realized one thing: what made it hard for me to enjoy holiday season was me having expectation of how it should have been. Of course, others do expect you to respond a certain way, but it does not matter if you find comfort in your way of celebrating.
This year is different. Many people won't be doing anything exciting and for once in a lifetime it's actually ok not to celebrate, to celebrate alone or to have a quiet celebration. By "ok" I mean it's more socially accepted. Even though, the situation we are currently in is far from perfect, I like to view it as an opportunity to practice slow living, enjoy quiet moments and maybe even aloneness.
Aloneness is different from loneliness, because it's not something sad, but quite the opposite. In my opinion it can be empowering, because it teaches us to be ok spending time with ourselves. We are always taught it's bad to be alone, but the ability to be alone helps us to be more confident in ourselves, knowing who we truly are and accepting it.
To be happy during holidays we don't need to spend a lot of money, we don't need to perfectly organize everything and, most certainly, we don't need to go anywhere and celebrate with others if we don't want to. Of course, if it's your jam, then it may be harder for you this time around. But you can also find some benefit in this situation. Maybe during some time alone you will learn something new about yourself that will help you in your relationship with other people.
Create festive atmosphere
I like relaxing atmosphere, even during holidays. I love decorating, lighting candles and Christmas lights. I liked it, even when I was all alone. To me holiday season is about feeling warm and cozy. And you can make this time not so much about other people, but about you, about making yourself feel good, special, and loved. You do deserve it, everyone does.
Baking and making hot chocolate can help to create holiday atmosphere using scents. I like to play Christmas music when I am cooking or decorating, sipping wine. I can appreciate the moment for what it is without worrying about what other people think of me and whether my way of celebrating is good enough.
Cook a special meal for yourself
I love cooking. But during holidays I choose to experiment with new recipes, coming out of my comfort zone. It can be hard to cook only for yourself though. You can choose to do that or order yourself a special cooked meal, depending on your budget. Again, it's all about being creative and using resources that you have.
Don't forget to plan a special dessert. It's all about small things in life that truly matter and make happiness. People like to think that it always must be something big and exciting to be special, but I genuinely believe without being able to appreciate small things we might never feel true happiness.
Holidays usually come and go fast, if you practice slow living and mindfulness, you will learn how to savor each moment and relax.
Plan your escape
Some of us simply want to escape holidays, and it's totally fine. Whether it's in your hometown or you can travel somewhere (probably not far during this time), choose to spend time in nature while everyone's making a Christmas dinner. You can use this time as an opportunity to disconnect and reunite with nature. It's up to you how to use this time.
It may feel a little bit lonely, depending on what kind of a person you are. But for many of us this quiet time spent alone may be what we really need, we just kept denying it cos of social pressure. At the end of the day, you are not alone. Many of us, introverts, can relate.
I want you to remember, that no matter how you are feeling, it's valid and it's important. If it's not the best time of your life, and you don't feel festive, it's understandable, and nobody can judge you for that. Just do your best in the current situation. If it's just going to sleep, just do that. It's not the last Christmas of your life, it can always be better next year.
Give yourself a gift - a permission to be yourself.