Christmas is a great time of year for many people, but not for everybody. People without friends or family close by to celebrate with may start to dread this time of year.
It is generally marketed as a time for family, but it doesn’t have to be. If you have no family around at Christmas, you don’t have to be alone – grab Christmas by the bells and celebrate it your own way!
Don’t Feel Alone at Christmas
This is a very stressful time of year, especially for Mums.
It’s not only an expensive time and a time when our kids seem to be even more tired, whiny and sugar-pumped that ever, but it’s also a time tailor-made for cookie-cutter families.
If your own little household seems like an oddly-shaped cookie by comparison, you may not feel like celebrating.
If you hate getting asked what your plans are for Christmas, this is the year to turn it around. No more sadness or worry about what Christmas is traditionally supposed to look like.
Mums of the Shire’s Tips to Not Feeling Alone at Christmas
Surround yourself with your People
If you are single or live unsupported by extended family, Christmas can make you feel like a bit of an outcast.
Christmas is no time to be alone, especially when you are a Mum. It’s even more important at Christmas to create your own version of family, and surround yourself with friends and people who love you and get you.
Two of the main things to remember is that even though you feel alone, there are people around you who love you and love to be with you – and that there are also many people around you who feel totally alone at Christmas too.
It is also very important to remind yourself that this is just another day. It will pass and be forgotten like every other day of the year – you just need to be nice to yourself and you’ll get through it.
Get Ready for Awkward Conversations
Everybody naturally makes small talk about Christmas as the day approaches, and if you don’t have family or have a more non-traditional set-up going on, then you may struggle with casual questions about how you intend to spend the day.
Be ready for the random, but well-meaning, ‘What are you doing for Christmas?’ questions from other Mums at the school pick up gate. People ask usually just to be friendly, they don’t mean to cast a spotlight on your fears of celebrating alone.
It can be hard to hear other people going on about their joy-filled Christmas days when you have no family nearby. It can be even more difficult to hear people complain about having to spend Christmas with their annoying family when you would love to have someone to spend it with.
It may be helpful to have some quick and easy answers ready for when you get asked casual questions and be ready to move the conversation on quickly to a topic you’re more comfortable with.
Mourn Your Losses, But Count Your Positives
If this is your first Christmas after a messy breakup or a much-loved one has passed away, it is normal to need to mourn. It is healthy to allow yourself time to be sad and reflect on what you’ve lost, and honour anyone special who is gone.
Look out for your children as well because they will be feeling any loss or significant change in routine more than you realise. Encourage them to open up and talk to you about how they are feeling – including not always trying to be happy and upbeat.
It’s natural to want to make Christmas a joyful time for our children, but if they are feeling scared, worried or sad, give them time and space to feel these emotions too.
But don’t stay in that sadness. It may help to make a list of all of the positives in your life and the things that you have to be thankful for.
Ask for Help and Support
Speaking up and asking for help or company is one of the strongest things you can do. It’s also an awesome example to set for your kids. If people ask how you are or if you need anything, don’t be tempted to just brush them off.
Speak up and honestly say, ‘Well, since you asked, things are a little crappy this time of year…’ Your friends will appreciate your honesty and will love to be able to help. Schedule in a number of small catch-ups and playdates to check in with each other regularly so you have something to look forward to.
Throw Tradition Out the Window
Media and advertising outlets kind of hijacked Christmas many years ago and made it out to be a traditional, nuclear family sort of holiday. Modern families and strong AF Mums are taking the holiday back for ourselves.
Make Christmas what you want it to be and celebrate how you like!
Gather your single Mum friends around you with their kids on Christmas Day to play games and sing karaoke. Throw a Christmas party and invite anyone in your neighbourhood who feels a little alone this time of year. Have an early dinner at a local pub with a kids play area and just chill out.
Or turn your back on Christmas entirely and spend the day at the movies or eating yum-cha or bingeing Netflix with a giant delivery from Krispy Kreme.
We can highly recommend a double-feature of Bad Santa and Bad Moms Christmas if you are feeling particularly unfestive – two of the best Christmas movies ever made and ones that will have you laughing no matter how many times you watch them.
The important thing is to look after yourself and those closest to you. There is time for tears and frustration, but remember that you have more to smile about than to regret. Make Christmas whatever you want it to be and celebrate it with your ‘family’ in your own way – whatever that may look like.