Heed and halt holiday heartache

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It’s that time of year when people all around us seem to be making plans for upcoming holiday gatherings. Not only that, the stores have jumped on the bandwagon and are displaying everything from cutesy turkey-related items to Santa’s-coming-to-town doodads and thingamabobs.

For singles, this time of year might not be so full of joyful anticipation as the holidays loom and the prospect of spending them alone is nigh.

I bring this subject up early this year to prepare everyone in advance so there’s more of an opportunity to create a happy, or at least less gloomy, time.

Toward this end, Holidappy.com offers some suggestions in an article titled “Tips for Celebrating Thanksgiving Alone.”

For one, the piece advises planning ahead: “If you know you are going to be alone and not working, try to find a kindred soul or souls ahead of time and make plans to get together for a Thanksgiving meal. It can be a potluck at somebody’s house or a seasonal feast at a fancy restaurant.”



Personally, this is a strategy I’ve adopted over the years. Luckily for me, some single friends and I gather to celebrate together, so it’s become something to look forward to. But it wasn’t always so. I had to find like-minded people to celebrate with so I would no longer dread the holidays in anticipation of being by myself.

Another great suggestion from Holidappy is to make the day or celebration your very own. For instance, “If you are going to be alone, do what you feel like doing and not what you think you should do,” it says. “That is, don’t go to somebody’s house for Thanksgiving just because you think you should. Sometimes, being grafted on to somebody else’s family celebration can make you feel more alone than being alone.

“Feel like going to the gym? If it’s open, do it. Feel like taking a hike or catching a film or concert? Do it, and don’t feel you have to eat turkey either. If your idea of a great meal is pizza, get a pizza. In fact, it might be a good idea to not go anywhere near traditional Thanksgiving fare if you are on your own for the day.”

I personally love this particular advice because it’s so easy to get caught up in the “shoulda, woulda, couldas” in life as opposed to just being your own person and doing the things you enjoy.

Another tip from many sources— and something I feel strongly about is the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It might be a little cliché, but the article says, “There is nothing to make you grateful for what you have like helping those who have less.”

What I particularly like about this idea is the fact that it applies to all holiday season celebrations: Helping someone else is a wonderful way to lift your own spirits.

The final tip from the piece is to reach out to family members who live a distance away.

“Stay in touch via Skype,” it says. “Through the wonders of the internet and video calling and chat, you can now stay in touch with your family on Thanksgiving (or any holiday) without actually being with them.

Of course, this can apply to friends as well as family. Someone gave me a plaque I still have in my kitchen; it reminds me daily: “Friends are the family you choose.” My only living relative, my dear mom, lives in Canada, and since I get to see her only once a year in December, I celebrate most holidays with my “adopted” family of choice.

Happy holiday season, everyone!

Ela Lindsay is a freelance writer in Ventura County. To connect with her, send an email to eLindsay@theacorn.com.