Survive the Holidays


Sorry to be a Debbie Downer on Christmas Eve when everyone just wants to party and have a good time, but I hope everyone can spare a thought for those who may be alone. I’ve spent more than one Christmas Eve alone (and other holidays, but we’ll skip that for now) and let me tell you, it is no fun, no matter how hard you try not to think about it, or distract yourself with movies or other things. Knowing that most people are cozied up with family and friends while you’re alone hurts. No one ever thinks to invite single friends over at Christmas, so we spend a lot of holidays alone.

If you are alone, and feel like you can’t handle it, please call someone. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the US is 1-800-273-8255.

If you’re in the UK, here is a page of resources: http://www.prevent-suicide.org.uk/find_help.html

Here’s a page with links for Ireland, Scotland, and Wales: http://www.samaritans.org/

Ireland (toll free)  Call 116 123

Scotland and Wales:  08457 90 90 90

Wikipedia has a list of others.

If nothing else, find a church having a Christmas Eve service and go. You’ll be around people even if you’re not a churching type.

If you’re hanging out online, you can probably catch me on Twitter @ddsyrdal . I expect to be online most of the evening, as I usually am. I’m so used to being on my own on holidays I have no special plans or annual traditions for this night. I know how holidays magnify the loneliness and sense of isolation. I’m told I’m a good listener, but know I’m not a trained counselor.

Also know very few people have the fictional perfect Brady Bunch family (most of those kids were and are pretty dysfunctional). Some do, but plenty of people lie about it to keep up appearances. You’re not a freak, and you deserve to be happy.

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8 thoughts on “Survive the Holidays

  1. You’re awesome, m’dear. Indeed, many of us lie or at least force up a smile during the holidays. This year is better than last for me, but there are moments of blue. I’m fortunate to have my husband’s family, but I miss my own and wish they were still with me.

    And I’m lucky to have friends like you too. Happy New Year (and I’ll see you next year when I’m in town)!

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    1. I was listening the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College on the radio this morning on the drive to work, and the Dean said this during the Bidding Prayer:

      “And because this of all things would rejoice his heart, let us at
      this time remember in his name the poor and the helpless, the
      cold, the hungry and the oppressed; the sick in body and in
      mind and them that mourn; the lonely and the unloved; the
      aged and the little children; all who know not the Lord Jesus,
      or who love him not, or who by sin have grieved his heart of love.”

      And I wondered how many of the parishioners gave those people a thought the rest of the year. May seem like a weird thing for a black-hearted pagan to listen to but I like it. I guess it’s familiar and reminds me of my childhood, and like you, I miss my family.

      And I am grateful for friends like you, too! Looking forward to seeing you when you’re in the area!

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      1. I’m like that too: I enjoy the season and take in the familiar warmth of it, even when my beliefs don’t quite fall in line. For a little while, when holidays are around, people seem nicer. And that helps me to smile when I could otherwise be sad.

        Plan to be in Oregon for sure next year, if only to visit. 🙂 Tea’s my treat!

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  2. HI DD, Happy Holiday! Hubby and I and my family in America. When we know someone is lonely for the holiday we invite them to our festivities. As I am sure my mom will do tomorrow as she have done many years. And as I and hubby as done tonight and will do again tomorrow. Christmas is celebrated twice here not counting the children Christmas day which is on December 6.

    I know it suck to be alone on the holiday because one see everyone having a great times and the movies or tv shows don’t help with the mood much. For all that has no plan to go to any holiday festivity big hugs and you are love. Please find or do something to make you happy or bring joy to your soul. The number you placed above is a great idea. To see and read your post sending out help for anyone in need for the holiday is refreshing from the posts I normally read. Lots of love DD. You are in my thoughts.

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    1. Hi Lora! You are so sweet to think of inviting people over. Thank you for your kind words and your lovely wishes. Love to you and all your family, wishing a wonderful holiday season! 🙂

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  3. Aww, DD, you’re not a Debbie Downer, just more sensitive than most people – and I love what Lorna says, as well: “big hugs and you are love.”

    Everybody who’s with your loved ones tonight, and tomorrow, enjoy the day. For those who can’t be with them, please know that we’re thinking about you, and try and focus on one thing that makes you happy.

    I ran to the grocery for a few last-minute groceries earlier (don’t we always forget something?) and I must’ve been wearing my Helpful Professor hat or something, b/c a sweet young woman stopped me at the floral department and asked for my help picking out some flowers to bring as a hostess gift to a dinner she was invited to. She seemed as if maybe she hadn’t done this sort of thing before, and really seemed to appreciate the moral support. It’s tiny moments like that – a random connection with a friendly stranger – that help me to appreciate the season, and it would not have happened if she hadn’t thought to ask for help. So those of you feeling alone or lonely, go ahead, reach out to someone: you might make their day. As one of my favorite carols goes:

    “Therefore everyone be sure, wealth or rank possessing:
    Ye who seek to help the poor
    Will yourself find blessing.”

    Love to you all

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  4. You are amazing for doing this! I know how it feels to be lonely during holidays. It’s good to see people willing to help others. Merry Christmas! Hugs ❤

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