Thursday, December 13, 2018

10 Things to Do If You're Skipping Family Christmas This Year

Look, sometimes things happen.  People marry into the family that likes to stir the pot, people are already in the family that likes to stir the pot or snappy attitudes flair, and everything goes to pot.  In my case, as you all know, it was a nosedive in holiday quality due to disease/caregiver burnout and a craptastic Christmas week of 2015 that lead me to say I was tapping out the following year.  The Mr didn't believe me until I had a cabin booked December 27th and a calm smile on my face knowing next year wouldn't be a repeat of the still smoldering fiasco of recent Christmas past.

But what do you do if you are just not into the pressure, the criticism, the put-downs, the cattiness, the toasted or high tablemates or whatever horrors of previous holidays that make your heart fill with dread instead of the holiday spirit?  For some people, the holidays are filled with depression, loneliness, and there are ways you can spend your Christmas that may do your soul some good.

1)  Vacation  

If you have the means, this could mean a magical Christmas where you don't have cooking to do (room service please!), no arguing to listen to, nowhere to be except where you want to be and walking around town with no one else in sight could be just what the doctor ordered.  But also be aware that many places jack up the rates sometimes by double depending on where you go.  They're not stupid, they know Christmas is the season for love and giving but also a season of avoidance depending on the branches on your family tree.  Don't worry, even this late in the season there are cancellations because someone's mom guilt tripped them Goldberg style and that means BIG savings for you because someone just wants bodies in the house even if they have to drop the price.

2)  Volunteer

Soup kitchens and shelters need people to serve those having a hard time in life.  What better way to feel gratitude about your own situation than by helping to lift up others on their way to their comeback?

3)  Pick up a little extra cash

You probably know someone traveling that is dreading boarding their pet.  How lovely would it be to have a staycation in someone else's place that's all festive and be greeted with puppy or kitty snuggles?  Giving the gift of peace of mind so someone can enjoy their holiday is a big plus as well.

4)  Remember that self-care day you've been meaning to do?

Go all out for yourself.  After a leisurely morning tea and breakfast, slip into a fluffy robe, soak your tootsies in a nice peppermint salt bath (that stuff is seriously the best),  put on a soothing clay mask, give yourself a full manicure from cuticles to polish making sure to get the toes when you're done with your soak and a nice foot filing.  Have one of those food meal programs delivered the day before so you can cook a new-to-you recipe without having to grocery shop.  Curl up with a good book and holiday music.  That night, turn off the lights and keep the tree plugged in and just relax.  You deserve it!

5)  Host an "orphan" potluck

Some people can't afford to go home for the holiday, don't want to or don't have any family to visit.  How nice would it be to make sure everyone feels the holiday cheer and invite a few over.  Tell everyone to bring a dish, and it doesn't matter what it is.  Take out, something they made, something they grabbed at the only open grocery store in town.  The point is no fuss.  Or do a fun theme like appetizers.  Offer up your oven if someone really has a-hankerin' for cheese stuffed pretzels they want to share.  Play games, share stories of your best and worst holidays and just be happy to make sure no one is alone on Christmas on your watch if they don't want to be.

6)  Be a kid again

If you're lucky enough to live where there is snow, this is the perfect day to bring your inner child out to play!  Sledding, making snow angels, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, building a snowman.  Don't have a sled?  I swear to you trash bags make the best sleds!  Step in, plop down, weeeeee!  No excuses!

7)  Share your goodies

Not like that.  If you have the baking gene but not enough people to share it with, some people have to work Christmas day from firemen to policemen and nurses and doctors.  Want to do one better?  If you live in a city, bag up Christmas cookies and give them to the homeless.  If you're driving around to do so, consider a side of hot chocolate.  Obviously, be careful and smart about the situation.  It doesn't take much to share your Christmas spirit with others, and they will all be happy to be thought of.

8)  Visit a nursing home

There was a home health care place that used to do "adopt a Senior" and they told us how many people have no family to visit them even on the holidays.  The things they want are as basic as shampoo, soap or toiletries to scarves and mittens.  Basic stuff we all take for granted.  Talk to a local state-run home.  Those places need so much and never have the funding for so many things the fancier ones do.  Ask them what the residents would like as gifts that you'd like to bring in Christmas morning.  Start a little donation box at your work if they allow it for people to donate gifts or buy them if you have the means.  The smile on the face of a person who would've otherwise been forgotten is priceless.  Then hang around a bit.  Ask their stories.  They'd love someone to be interested in their life, and you may just learn a thing or two!

9)  Don't forget to buy yourself a present (or five.)

Hey, I know it's not all about the presents, but you should still have something to open.  If you're getting multiple gifts for yourself because...treat yo'self...consider having a friend wrap them for you in odd sized boxes.  We do this to throw off the other person on birthdays and Christmas.  You might know what you're getting, but it can still be a fun way to still feel a little surprised.

10)  A full day of any dang thing you please!

A blissful morning of sleeping in, a breakfast of whatever the heck you want while you binge watch ten holiday movies in a row in your reindeer pajamas.  Ordering a big pizza for lunch to take you through to dinner (make sure you tip well, it's a holiday after all but likely with someone delivering who volunteered to work so they could pull the "can't come to Christmas because I have to work" card with a crocodile tear.)  And guess what, you're not even going to run a brush through your hair because it's your party and you can rats nest if you want to!

Have you ever spent the holidays solo?  (Meaning either just you or just you and your spouse)  What did/do you do?

Like this post? Don't miss another one...subscribe via email or RSS feed. (Or you can follow me on Facebook This post contains affiliate links which cost nothing to use and help keep the blog running.  See the Disclaimer page for more info.


  1. As the person you said that second quote to, I whole heartedly agree that getting out of town for Christmas is actually good for the soul. It doesn't have to be a tradition either. It just does a lot of good to get out of the routine and experience a different side of Christmas that you otherwise wouldn't know existed. While the family doesn't like it, they have to admit that it's what they secretly wish they could do too.

  2. We started going out of town for Thanksgiving years ago.

    And if you are trying to extract yourself from extended family, going out of town is the way to do it. I totally agree.

    I think the time we had two at home and one in college. Rented a house in Washington DC and five of us went for a full week. Had a great time. If I remember correctly, things were open on Thanksgiving Day.

    Since then we usually go to out of town friends for most of the week.

    This year we (now six of us) went to Florida.

    I think much of it (extended family drama) is because thanksgiving and Xmas are so close. Traveling for one helps a lot.

  3. These are all great ideas. We've always been pretty low-key and try to just make it a relaxing day, eating a nice meal in the late afternoon/early evening. Some years we'd play a game or we'd do bowling on PlayStation which was always a hoot. Now we're usually so tired from work and we only get that one holiday as opposed to say Christmas Eve and Christmas off of work, so it's just a "chill" kind of day. The big thing is watching the dogs tear open their tissue wrapped gifts and the fun they have with that. And they always get special treats that day...and the rascals seem to know it! LOL


Thanks for taking the time to comment! I appreciate your time! (Heads up though...disrespectful or spam comments will be deleted.)