All the hype and tradition that surrounds Christmas and the festive season creates a certain expectation of family ‘togetherness’ that just isn’t the reality for some people. In fact, for those in our community without family close by, it can be a really stressful and lonely time of year.
The Christmas orphan ‘category’ is actually a growing one that our traditional Christmas rituals don’t really cater for. From, widows to divorcees, travellers, expats and refugees … or even those who are just estranged from their family, Christmas can be less about decking the halls and more closely resemble a very sad and silent night.
So, if you find yourself at a loose end this Christmas, here are a few tips and ideas to have yourself a very merry Christmas (and if you are blessed with a family of any shape or size to spend the day with, then maybe consider extending an invitation to someone you know who might be alone. There’s always a spare seat next to crazy Aunt Beryl!)
1. Check out orphanchristmas.com … It’s the tinder equivalent for Christmas Day orphans. Just register online to join a group or even create your own and connect to other Xmas orphans.
2. If you’re in Sydney, head over to the Wayside Christmas Day Street Party. Over 800 people from all walks of life will descend on Hughes St Kings Cross to share a meal and celebrate the true values of Christmas – generosity, gratitude and giving back.
3. Keep it simple and just reach out to others who might be alone on Christmas Day. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know them super well. It might be the old man who lost his wife … the hipster traveller … the divorced dad who’s kids are with the ex … the expat family … the more the merrier. Suggest everyone meets up at a local beach or park and brings a plate to share. Bring some tinsel to decorate a tree, suggest everyone brings a secret Santa gift then kick back, make new friends and create new traditions!
4. Organise a leftovers party for later on Christmas afternoon. Lots of people might be looking for an excuse to escape the fam bam by that stage and ready to enjoy a few wines and share some stories with friends. No need to cater when you have a tsunami of leftovers up for the taking!
5. If you’re morning is free (and the sun is shining) then plan to get out, take advantage of the lack of crowds and explore a place you haven’t been. A walk along the coast, a drive in the mountains, exploring the laneways of your city … wherever it is … just take the time to reflect and reboot. And If you need to chill out recuperate after your adventure check out your local movie cinemas. A lot open on Christmas afternoon.
So, if you don’t have a shindig to attend … don’t despair. You’re not alone (and just quietly … we’re a bit envious because some of these ideas sound pretty appealing).