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7 Festive and Offbeat Ideas for Spending Christmas Alone

There's no reason to have a blue Christmas when you're by yourself


In case you haven’t noticed, Christmas is flying our way like a large white dove. For the lucky ones, surrounded by friends, it will be a beautiful sight. But for those of us who are alone, we’ll look up and see that bird relieve himself all over our heads. Symbolically speaking.

In other words, some of us in our 50s and 60s are really looking forward to this holiday. Others, because we no longer have families or we got too drunk last year and brought everyone down by sobbing into our sweet potatoes, are really stuck in a snowbank without a shovel.

Going it alone this Christmas? Take it from a veteran. The day doesn’t have to be blue. You can have a swell time by yourself if you follow these seven suggestions:

1. Watch TV. TV programmers really understand your predicament, oh lonely one. All day long, they will be broadcasting marathons of everything from Upstairs Downstairs to The Three Stooges. Sit down for a while and lose yourself in some episodes. You’ll get so happily confused by this bounty you’ll wonder why Curly is speaking like an Englishman and Englishman Richard Bellamy keeps going “Woo woo woo!”

2. Pour a single drink. If it’s medically approved, serve yourself a Christmas cocktail. But just one to make you merry. A single drink will have you humming Baby, It’s Cold Outside. Several will have you crying and singing Theme from Valley of the Dolls. And then yelling, “I’m Neely O’Hara!” You don’t need that.

3. Give yourself a few gifts. Spoil yourself by buying some things you really want. However, if you want to make this day truly authentic, get a least one that is truly awful. Like that red-faced Santa who belches onion and garlic gas. You can smile and say “It’s lovely!” Then return it the next morning. Now you’re really cooking!

4. Go to the movies. Everybody knows Christmas is a super day to go to the movies. The theaters are mostly empty, so pick something you’ve been dying to see. But please choose wisely. Just because it’s sparsely attended doesn’t mean you should check out Happy Death Day. You might go home and need a drink to calm you down. If you don’t think that’s a bad idea, please reread the section above.

5. Go to church. If you are lonely, this is a nice way to feel closer to your fellow man, and you are welcome whatever your religion. However, if you go and are Jewish or Muslim, try and remember the most basic names for things. In other words, don’t turn to your neighbor while holding the hymnal and call it “the instructions.”

6. Play dress-up with your dog. I find it fun and distracting to put my dog Sam in various outfits on Christmas. Last year, I wrapped him in a blanket and pretended he was the baby Jesus, but too many other dogs came to the door bearing gifts. So I moved onto an elf costume. After putting on his pointed hat, Sam’s eyes radiated extreme embarrassment. I wondered why. Then I remembered he was once put in the corner in obedience class and forced to wear a dunce cap. We finally settled on Santa. At least until Sam ate the beard. Warning: Do not try this with a cat. Cats are too smart. They will wear the costume for a minute and give you a look that says, “Are you kidding? Do you think I’m a dog?”

7. Make a special dinner for one. Too many people who spend Christmas alone skimp on dinner. They usually get something frozen where the turkey slices taste like slipper socks, the cranberry sauce would pass for shower grouting and the mashed potatoes can’t be dynamited out of their section. Make yourself a proper meal. Eat it by candlelight. Play romantic music. If you ask yourself to dance, you’ve probably taken the whole thing too far. But what the heck? Go for it. It’s Christmas.

By Peter Gerstenzang
Peter Gerstenzang is a humorist, video director and journalist.

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