It’s The Most Loneliest Time of the Year
Is one really the loneliest number? If you’re single, it sure can feel like it around the holidays.
From family gatherings and to holiday parties, you may be surrounded by people from Christmas through New Year’s. But when you’re riding home alone after every event, it can feel like the loneliest time of the year.
It’s easy to get glum when what is supposed to be a time of joy and celebration feels more like a lonely time you spend wishing you had someone to celebrate with.
If the holidays are getting you down, it’s time to focus on things that will allow you to experience the joy that Jesus wants for all of us.
Try some of the ideas below to banish loneliness from your life this Christmastime and allow yourself to experience the wonder and awe of the holiday season.
Manage your expectations
First things first. Much of what we’ve been brought up to believe about the holidays is all hype.
Commercials boast couples getting engaged every five minutes. The mall offers glitz and glamour. Society has done a phenomenal job of training our psyches to believe that if the holidays don’t go a certain way, they’re not going right.
Remember the Grinch who was so sure that removing all of the presents, trees, lights, and food would keep Whoville from celebrating Christmas.
It didn’t work.
Why? Because the community knew that the reason for Christmas was Jesus and being with each other was enough.
They didn’t need the glitz and glamour and for everything to be perfect and neither do we. Jesus is the reason for the season and we need to remember that when we start feeling lonely.
Get involved with your community
One of the best ways to get rid of the holiday blues is to step outside of yourself and focus on others. There are many ways to do this.
- Donate food to or help serve a meal at a soup kitchen
- Visit with the elderly at a nursing home
- Volunteer to help with the children’s nativity play at Church
- Assist your parish youth group with their Christmas activities/projects
- Invite people over to help make/write cards to send to the military separated from their families.
Christ calls us to clothe the hungry and feed the poor. There is no better time to do so than now. The holidays can be hard and challenging for many people for different reasons.
By helping bring just a little bit of joy to others, you’ll find your own spirits significantly lifted.
Host a cookie exchange
Who says singles can’t have just as much, if not more fun during the holidays? Instead of sitting at home waiting to see if any invites will come your way, host a party of your own.
Martha Stewart lays out a great example of how to throw a great cookie swap. Feel free to have fun with it and add your own sense of style to the gathering.
Liven things up and have everyone see which cookies pair well with certain drinks. Sugar cookies go well with red wine. Festive snicker-doodles taste better with spiked eggnog!
People will have a blast enjoy the seasonal treats and you’ll have a home full of Christmas joy and cheer.
Looking for extra holiday fun? Invite your friends to bring along a new friend. Who knows, in a few years from now you may find yourself explaining, “Well, we met the night I hosted my first cookie exchange…”
Set some time aside for Jesus
Christ is the reason for the season. Maybe some of our loneliness can arise when we lose focus of where our hearts should really be at Christmastime.
Don’t get lost in the hustle and bustle of shopping and holiday get togethers. Instead, set aside some time to spend with the one who is always waiting for you to come be with Him.
Sign up for an extra hour of adoration each week or attend a Bible Study that you’ve never been to before. You can even create your own sacred space in your own home that you can go to when you want to pray or if you just want to sit quietly with God.
If anyone knows what it’s like during the loneliest time of the year, Jesus does. Go to him.
Connect with friends and family
Maybe you don’t have a huge family that finds a reason to celebrate every day of the season. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reach out and spend time with them anyway.
Getting several coffee, lunch or dinner dates on the calendar can be a great way to get ahead of the loneliest times of the holiday season. Reach out to friends (especially other single friends!) and members of your family that you get along with and enjoy catching up on life and just enjoy each other.
Some great ideas to do with a friend you haven’t seen in a while or to catch up with a cousin who you rarely see:
- Visit a Night of Lights in your area
- Share a large tub of popcorn over a Christmas movie at your local theater
- Have them over for a night in dinner and game night
- Share an experience like an Escape Room or trampoline park
If ever there is an excuse to set aside time to be with and enjoy others, it’s during the holidays. Planning fun activities with good people is sure to help keep those feelings of loneliness at bay.
Go on a first date
What better time to meet new people than the holidays? There is no end to all of the fun activities that you can partake in.
Maybe a coworker as been bugging you about wanting to set you up with someone or maybe you’ve been talking to someone online, but haven’t taken that big first step yet.
Reach out and get that first date in the works. Check out these awesome holiday themed first date ideas and get excited to try something new!
Keep a good perspective
Human nature is good at a lot of things, one of which is encouraging us to point out to ourselves that which we don’t have.
When the holidays come, instead of letting yourself focus on the negative, intentionally point out and be thankful for the things you do have. Whether it be health, friends, home, pets, family, job, etc., we can all find things to be thankful for.
Give gratitude for freedom to celebrate a such a spiritual holiday and the gift of choosing how you want to celebrate it. Have a beautiful, wonderful, holy Christmas season!
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:15-17).
Cassi Villanueva is a freelance writer and contributing blogger at Catholic Singles. Born and raised in the south, when she's not writing, she can be found spending time with her husband and four children in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, GA.