Know Someone Who’s Alone For The Holidays? Here’s How to Reach Out
Have you ever asked someone what their plans are for the holidays, and you to your surprise they told you they were spending it alone? No one says it quite like that, of course. They might talk about how they have been looking forward to some solitude and reading, and not having to do anything but veg. But in reality they may be alone for the holidays because of other circumstances out of their control. Their kids may be spending Christmas with an ex-spouse out of state. Or perhaps they’re a college student, or a young working professional who just can’t quite afford flying home this Christmas. Or perhaps a widow, or widower who’s kids have long since moved away and started their own families, and are not going to be able to visit this year. Sadly, some even have sad or negative memories associated with the holidays, and choose to spend the holiday alone to avoid feelings of being hurt. And of course there are dozens and dozens of other life circumstances that may cause someone to be alone for the holidays. Despite what any of them might tell you, I would bet good money that all of these examples don’t truly want to be alone for the holidays. Maybe you have experienced spending Christmas alone, yourself. If you have, then you too know the range of emotions that you can go through when you know that nearly everyone around you is going to be spending it with family or friends. One of the beauties of the Christmas spirit, is how much more we tend to open our hearts during the holidays. And you may have thought of inviting someone you knew would be alone for the holidays to join you and your family. Maybe you even have invited someone. But it’s not easy, it could be a soft spot for that person who may even be feeling embarrassed and insist that they really are looking forward to being alone. So, it is wise to have some tact and thoughtfulness when reaching out to someone. They may even say ‘thanks, but no thanks’ but they will feel the warmth of your love and friendship, and even that goes a long way. But here are some tips on what you can do that might help them accept your invitation. 1: Don’t Judge, Empathize There are various reasons a person may be alone for the holidays, and it may even seem like it’s because they are a Scrooge. But remember, you haven’t walked their path. You don’t know what challenges they’ve had, or what circumstances they may now be going through that led them to be alone for the holiday. 2. Ask what they have planned for Christmas Again, you want to be tactful. Don’t come outright and ask if they are going to be alone for the holidays. It’s a sensitive topic to anyone spending the holiday alone, and people don’t want to feel judged or misunderstood. It can also be a blow to ones pride, especially if they are an independent person, they don’t want to feel pitied. 3. Extend an invitation for them to join you for the holiday. You can invite them to join to for Christmas dinner. However, it can be hard for people, if they think they are going to be invading your Christmas day celebration. If you have other family get togethers during the Christmas season, you can invite them to one of those. It could even be as simple as an invitation to join you and your family for a movie, or some family outing you may have planned, like a Christmas like parade of homes. It doesn’t need to just be Christmas day itself. This can help them feel more relaxed, and still enjoy part of the holiday with others. They may say “thanks, but no thank you,” to your invitation. Don’t take this personal, it’s a struggle for them. But I guarantee that just extending the invitation makes a difference, makes them feel appreciated and thought of. 4. Social activities and church services are a great invitation excuse. Another great way to invite someone to may be spending the holidays alone, is inviting them to a Social event you may be going to, like a Christmas party, or a church service that may be going on. It’s common for churches to have events like musicals, nativity plays, or just social gatherings that both give a great excuse to extend an invitation, as well as share the Christmas spirit. It may seem small to you, maybe even so small that you hesitate even inviting them. But your invitation may be the one thing that makes all the difference in helping someone who would otherwise be alone, feel the the love and spirit of Christmas this year. 5. Cookies warm the heart…and the belly Baking and delivering tasty holiday cookies is a great excuse to wish someone a Merry Christmas, and to invite them to join you for the holiday. At the very least, the thoughtfulness and time it took you to bake the cookies and deliver them in person, once again, can go a long way in making a person feel special, and that others are thinking of them during the Christmas season. 6. Send them a Christmas card Christmas cards seem so old fashion to many, nowadays. But I have yet to hear anyone complain when they still get one. In fact, it may even feel extra special and heart warming this year to someone spending the holidays alone. Since this one takes some delivery time, which can take longer during the Christmas season, be sure to send the card well in advance so they receive it before Christmas day. But don’t wait to extend an invitation of some sort until you send a card. The Christmas season is busy, and can get away from us quickly. So, be sure to extend that invitation regardless of sending a Christmas card. 7. A little gift goes a long way. We often spend over budget on Christmas gifts, and you don’t need to spend much for this one. Make a thoughtful homemade gift that you can deliver to someone spending the holidays alone. There are many ideas out there on fun homemade holiday gifts, one idea is making a Christmas ornament that can be hung on their tree. If you did want to, and it doesn’t brake your holiday budget, you could give them a gift card to their favorite coffee shop, book store, or for anything you know they enjoy. It doesn’t have to be for much, but the warm feelings and appreciation will go a long way when they know you thought enough of them to give a gift, whatever it may be. 8. Give them a quick call, just to wish them Merry Christmas. It’s always nice getting a call from a friend or family member wishing you Merry Christmas. This is a great excuse just to show them you care. And who knows, why not extend another invitation to something simple, and less intimidating, perhaps before you get off the phone. It could even just be to join you to go Christmas Caroling, or to see your favorite local outdoor nativity scene. Regardless of their acceptance of another invitation, they will most certainly appreciate the sentiment of your call. Summary Being alone for the holidays and feeling alone can be very difficult and hard. All it really takes is some thoughtfulness, some selflessness to help make someone’s lonely holiday feel warm and bright. You may surprise yourself, and certainly others, on just how much the Christmas spirit will thrive for you and them this holiday season. One of the surest ways to have more of the Christmas spirit, is to give it away.