Alone for the holidays during a pandemic

Spending the festive season alone doesn’t need to be lonely

The carols play, the snow falls, the streets glow with colourful lights. ‘Tis the season for laughter, love, and merriment. This year, however, all that seasonal bliss will need to be done in a physically-distanced way.  

For many, this holiday season will look very different from years past. Christmas parties are definitely not happening, travelling to visit family is discouraged, gathering with people outside your household is not safe. With COVID-19 cases continuing to climb and enhanced restrictions in place, many people will find themselves alone for the holidays.

Alone doesn’t need to mean lonely. As a transplant to Alberta from southern Manitoba nearly 20 years ago, I have spent at least half of my Christmases alone. Working retail for the first few years and then moving into the hairdressing industry didn’t allow me time to travel back to Manitoba to see my family. Being new to the city, I didn’t have many close friends to join for Christmas. I began to cherish spending Dec. 25 alone—although not truly alone, because my long-time basset hound companion was with me for most of them—as a day I could truly relax and focus on me. As a hairstylist and salon owner, I found it was the one day of the year where no one was trying to book an appointment with me or ask me to make decisions. Over the years of solo holidays, I have created some traditions that have made the day—and the season—bright. 

Solo holidays are a great time to try out something new that you just haven’t had the time to pick up or pick up where you left off with other activities.

Nazreena Anwar-Travas, an area resident, has spent quite a few holiday seasons alone and has used that time to learn something new. In the past, she learned to bake, practiced on the keyboard again after a long hiatus, and mended clothes or cleaned out the fridge. This year, she plans to try out some new recipes, get a journal and workout schedule set up for the new year, create a scrapbook, and walk or drive to admire our winter wonderland. Anwar-Tarvas says there are bonuses to spending the holidays alone, mainly saving money and getting to cook whatever you want to eat!

Like Anwar-Travas, my solo holiday traditions have included baking different cookies and dropping them off at my neighbours’ front door, practicing guitar, and spending a lot of time on crafty projects like crocheting. I always cook a totally inappropriate sized dinner for myself and my dog, and spend Christmas Day enjoying boozy drinks while playing video games. I usually set up a tree and lay out stockings for both myself and my dog, which we open in the morning. 

With the prevalence and ease of using electronic communication such as video calling, spending the day with loved ones virtually is a wonderful way to keep everyone safe, and still feel connected.

Embrace the quiet, slowed down pace of a solo holiday season as a time to reset, renew, and rediscover yourself.


Editorial Note:

Restrictions, recommendations, and guidelines are changing, so be sure to check alberta.ca/covid19.


Featured Image: Spending the holidays alone doesn’t have to be lonely. | Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

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