There is no way around it … Christmas is a family time. Which means for separated families, someone is going to miss out and you might find yourself alone on Christmas Day.
For most single mums this can be a really difficult time. After all, what is Christmas without the magic of enjoying it with our children? Rather than a day of fun and festivities, it may seem more like an endurance test.
But ban those visions of yourself sitting alone with a turkey meal for one and only the cat for company. Instead, make the most of the opportunity and reframe Christmas in your mind so that you can enjoy the day … even without the kids.
Like with everything after a family separation, you have to adapt to a new normal, and navigating Christmas as a single mum is no different. To help you cope, we’ve put together 12 ideas for things to do if you are alone on Christmas Day.
You never know, you might even enjoy it!
12 Things to do if you are alone on Christmas Day
1. Do nothing
Think of the other 364 days of the year when you’ve wished you could just do nothing all day. You have spent all year longing for a day off. Well, today you have one! Block out the world and do F-all. May we make some suggestions on how to do nothing?
- Binge, binge, binge Netflix, Stan or have a Christmas movie marathon
- Just read
- Grab yourself some yummy treats and to hell with the diet
- Have yourself that long, hot bath you have been promising yourself all year
2. Accept a Christmas Day invite
Don’t be afraid to accept invites to your family and/or friends celebrations.
You might worry that it will make you miss your children more, but it’ll get you in the festive spirit.
And just think, you can sit back with your glass of bubbles while they all run-ragged after their kids.
3. Do some volunteering
Volunteering is one of the best ways to spend a kid-free Christmas day.
You get to help people in need, and you also have company and distraction. It’s a win/win.
There are lots of charities looking for support. Try GVI as a starting point or ask around at local charities. Spread the goodwill far and wide and be a little Christmas angel.
Further reading: How volunteering can seriously help you mental health.
4. Have that lie-in you've been longing for
Why wouldn’t you? You have been fantasising about one all year. What better gift can you give yourself?
Are you kid-free on Christmas Day?
5. Stroll through a Christmas ghost town
Going for walk on Christmas Day can be quite magical.
Avoid the more obvious Christmas Day routes and head somewhere different. Town centres and shopping areas are eerily quiet on the 25th December and make for a peaceful and unusual stroll. Or head bush and immerse yourself in nature which never fails to take our minds off our worries.
6. Go to the gym (no it's not a joke!)
Yep, some gyms are open on Christmas Day.
Even if you’re not a member, pop along before-hand and ask if you can get a guest pass for the day. You’ll emerge refreshed and energised whilst the rest of the nation hits a wall from daytime drinking and too much food.
If the local gyms are closed, how about a run or a home exercise routine?
7. Plants some seeds
Gardening not only gets you out of the house, but it is super therapeutic.
Before the big day, buy some seeds or seedlings and spend a merry few hours planting them out. If you don’t have a garden, try window boxes which are great for growing kitchen herbs.
They will grow and flourish throughout the year, along-side you and your family.
8. Find and join in with a community event
If you feel up for something different and would like to meet new people, Christmas is the perfect time.
There are lots of community events happening all over the country. Head online and try My Community Diary or search on Google. It could be the beginning of some beautiful friendships.
Note: Christmas Day events can book up early, so decide what you want to do and book nice and early so you have something to look forward to.
9. Plan ahead for Christmas alone
If you are really worried about how the day is going to pan out or you’re feeling emotional, then make a plan. Even jot down a small itinerary.
This will be your guide to ensure you are occupied all-day, instead of pining for your kids or cursing your ex for having them this year.
It might seem very un-festive, but you could use the opportunity to tidy, clean or organise parts of the house that you’ve been meaning to get to for ages.
Just think, everyone else’s homes will be trashed by Boxing Day, while yours will be looking fab.
10. Treat yourself
Just because you’re alone, doesn’t mean it isn’t Christmas Day, and you totally deserve a treat.
Think about what the ideal Christmas Day spent alone is to you and make that happen.
11. Get organised for your own Christmas Day
If you don’t have your kids today, you will likely have them on Boxing Day or another day, which will be your Christmas Day.
So why not spend the time you have alone to get organised? Do some Christmas baking, wrap last-minute presents and look forward to getting super Christmasy with the kids.
12. Check other people's celebrations
As long as it won’t make you feel lonely, drive or walk to a local area where the Christmas celebrations will be in full swing.
Where we live there are local beaches and park areas by the river that families flock to for their Christmas celebrations.
Just being in the vicinity of revellers can give you a festive-feeling.
My final word about being alone on Christmas Day
If you are shared parenting, you might end up without your kids on Christmas Day, or at least for some of it. This is part and parcel of life as a separated parent.
While I know it can be hard, it is really important to make the most of it and enjoy your Christmas even if you don't have your kids with you.
I know many single mums who don't always have their kids on Christmas Day and they have learned to embrace it. You can too.
Focus on what makes you happy during the day. Plan ahead so you don't feel lost or low. And connect with others, in-person or online ... there are always lots of other single parents in the same position over Christmas.
So grab the Baileys, pick your fav Christmas movie and enjoy your Christmas like you did in your pre-kiddie years.