6 Ways to Celebrate Christmas on Your Own This Year (and Even Enjoy It!)
It might be the best vacation you take in 2020.
For many, this Christmas will be spent alone. If you live solo, you are likely facing down a holiday for one, since gathering and travel are not currently safe. And while there is a lot about that prospect that is likely to range from annoying to deeply troubling, that doesn’t mean the holiday has to be a total wash. There are some ways to flip the script on the Christmas for one that might just shift it into the truly enjoyable range. Want to reclaim the holiday for yourself? Follow these steps:
1. Make a plan.
Christmas has never been a good holiday for winging it. From entertainment to dining, beverage selection to décor, if you are going to need something, plan ahead. Even if you’re only buying enough for yourself, still try to get any in-person shopping the week before. Anything that might require shipping or delivery should be taken care of ASAP. Especially if you need something very specific!
2. Start with the food.
Food and holidays are always hand in hand, and for once, this holiday is all about you! Do you love to cook? Think about what type of cooking will bring you joy. Do you want to make the old family recipes, or try some newfangled twists? Is there a food that makes you deeply happy that has nothing to do with holiday traditions? It’s just you, eat what you want! Are you a baker? Take on a baking project you have always wanted to tackle. More of a savory cook? Nothing will stop you from doing the Big Night timbale you’ve had on your cooking bucket list. Love to eat but not to cook? Find a restaurant doing a killer to-go package and stop by a local bakery for your breakfast pastries, sandwich breads, and desserts. Embrace Jewish Christmas and order Chinese! Be sure to make your food plan includes Christmas Eve, Christmas morning and dinner, and anything you might need to address the leftovers during the weekend so that you get the full feel of the celebration.
3. Think about a kitchen project.
Not everything in the kitchen is cooking. There are always those kitchen projects we know will make our cooking lives easier, better, more pleasurable, but generally demand too much of our time. But if you have two to four days over Christmas to yourself? What better gift than taking a project from idea to reality? It might be something aesthetic, like a new paint color on the walls or a tiled backsplash. It might be organizational, from reconfiguring cabinets and drawers, to going all-in on a pantry re-jigger, to something smaller, like creating a drawer with all your spices in new containers with clearly marked labels on the top. It might be a nod to the future: planting some window boxes or pots with herb seeds. If you didn’t get in on the early-pandemic sourdough crush because you didn’t have time to baby a starter, now might be the time to revisit. Have you always wanted to enter your family recipes into the computer for ease of use and sharing? You can do that on the couch with a mug of cocoa and some music on. Think achievable and joy-bringing.
4. Binge watch or listen to something delicious.
Whether it is going back to the beginning of Great British Baking Show and re-watching all the seasons, revisiting something old-school like Julia Child, or even making a list of great foodie movies to watch, there is something that just feels decadently wonderful about letting yourself watch something that is just for you, for as long as you like. I will never forget the year the Food Network showed 24 hours in a row of the original Iron Chef episodes from Japan back-to-back on New Year’s Day. I was alone in popcorn-munching heaven during all of my waking hours. There are also amazing food podcasts to discover: Splendid Table, The Walk-In, Carbface, Communal Table, Home Cooking, Gravy, and many others. Check them all out wherever you get your podcasts!
5. Read something yummy.
There are great food books, from memoirs to foodie fiction to be explored, and it can be a great cozy day to snuggle up with a good book. Could be the latest from an author you love, the memoir of a chef you admire, or just a great novel that happens to have strong food themes. From MFK Fisher to Lisa Donovan, Jessica Harris to Kwame Onwuachi, Laurie Colwin to, well, me if you are so inclined, find a new book or two in your preferred format and dive in.
6. Give yourself permission to skip it.
Last but not least, and it should go without saying, it is okay to just consider Christmas this year to be like any random Friday and ignore the date completely. There can be a simple pleasure in just letting it pass you by altogether without any guilt. If ever there was a time to just do what makes you happiest, even if that means doing nothing at all, this is that year.