Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

November 23, 2020

How to Enjoy The Holidays When You're Alone.

      You don't need me to tell you that the holiday season in 2020 will be looking very different for a lot of people. This might be the very first time that you aren't able to travel to or host family and loved ones for special celebrations. In some ways, I consider myself a little bit of an expert on spending holidays away from home, since I've lived out-of-state since 2012. But with that said- this year will still look different even for me because of the changes with COVID, I thought it might be helpful as Thanksgiving and Christmas approach to still share some of my tips for having a great holiday even when you aren't traveling/hosting or being with loved ones!

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     Since I went to college out-of-state and have continued to live in other states ever since, I've had to spend a good amount of holidays over the last eight and a half years without traveling home to family. Airfare from the Carolinas or Virginia is expensive at the holidays typically, and even though I lived close enough to drive home when I worked in Vermont, my work schedule that year prevented me from leaving for holidays. Typically Christmas is the main one that I try to get home for, so Thanksgiving is usually the one I opt to spend wherever I'm living at the time (2019 was a weird exception- I went home for Thanksgiving and stayed in Virginia for Christmas!). 

     Even though I'm quite used to doing holidays like Thanksgiving and Easter away from home and family, there is going to be one stark difference even for me with 2020. I won't be celebrating with anyone outside my household. In years passed, I have been so, so blessed to always have local friends wherever I was living at the time invite me over to their homes to join their family celebrations, or I've been able to host someone to visit me for a holiday weekend. 

    This year thanks to COVID-19, I don't feel comfortable gathering in indoor groups to celebrate holidays. That encompasses everything from church services to a group dinner at a friend's house. So even though I've been away from home for many holidays, this season is the first one ever where I truly feel like I'll be alone. My roommate Abigail is also from out-of-state and will be here for Thanksgiving, but as of now I'll be spending Christmas with just me, myself and Delilah the cat. 

     Anyways, I do think some of the tips that I've used in years passed to enjoy holidays without family are still applicable to this year. So I wanted to share them with y'all! This will be a hard year no doubt for holidays, but I think the sooner we can realize that and focus instead on how we can make it still as enjoyable as possible while being safe, the better.

How to Enjoy the Holidays When You're Alone:

1. Treat yourself to special foods: There is nothing better than the comforts of comfort food- am I right?! This can look different for everyone. For you, holiday comfort food might be duplicating beloved family recipes in your own kitchen and making a small feast of familiar meals. It might look like taking the holidays off from cooking to get takeout from your favorite restaurants for the whole weekend. Maybe it's buying a certain bottle of wine, or a special treat from a local bakery. Whatever it looks like- treat yourself! Trust me- having food and beverages around the house that you might not get to enjoy everyday will already make your holiday alone so much better.

2. Participate in a gift swap or two: I love Christmas gift swaps! My parents and I always spent Christmas with my mom's side of the family, and we would always do a Yankee Swap for gifts (that's the type where you bring a random gift and don't know who it's going to.) While the anonymous gift swaps might be a little harder to pull off without gatherings for COVID, it would be really easy to coordinate a virtual Secret Santa (where you know who you're buying for) with friends or family! There are anticipated to be some shipping delays with the post office and other carriers during the holidays this year, so I'd advise organizing your gift swaps soon to leave enough time for gifts to be mailed and arrive on time.

3. Plan a fun movie or TV marathon: When's the last time that you had a whole day or two at home to truly do nothing, and watch as much TV or movies as your heart desired? Why not plan a fun binge-a-thon of something for Thanksgiving or Christmas? It doesn't have to be the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade or endless Hallmark Christmas movies. Watch something that makes you happy and brings you cheer while you're at home! This Thanksgiving weekend I'm anticipating finally finishing Gilmore Girls on Netflix, and for Christmas I'm thinking about starting either a new sitcom or a How I Met Your Mother rewatch.

4. Make time for hobbies: Similarly to more time to watch TV, you'll probably also have more time to enjoy hobbies this year! Is there an old one that you miss having the time to do, or a new hobby that you'd love to try? Make it happen this holiday season. I used to be really into jewelry making in high school. I still have some of my old beads and supplies with me, and I bought a few new jewelry making supplies at Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago to dig into over Christmas. 

5. Make the most of technology: Is Zoom and FaceTime ever a full substitute for in-person time with loved ones? Nope, and I'm not going to pretend that it is. But is it still pretty awesome? YES! Lately I've found myself thinking about how even though living in a pandemic year isn't great, this would be so much harder 15 or 20 years ago when technology options were a lot more limited. (FaceTime itself is only 10 years old!) Make the most of all of these technologies not only to keep in touch with the family that you won't be seeing this year, but also with other friends in other places who also might be alone for the holidays this year.

     I hope these tips help you at least a bit! Let me know if you'd like me to write an updated version of this blog post next year when it's hopefully much safer to gather in groups. I have a whole slew of spending the holidays alone tips from years passed that would work in non-COVID years... i.e. things like planning a local Friendsgiving! 

      God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese 


1 comment

  1. These are great tips. I moved to the States from overseas over 20 years ago and the holidays were always the hardest, being away from family. I have my own family now so it's gotten easier but still miss spending some time with my siblings and dad during the holidays. Technology definitely made it easier.
    Ellibelle's Corner


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