Alone-But-Not-Lonely at the Holidays


Full disclosure: I LOVE spending the holidays alone.

This probably qualifies me as a total grinch, but listen: zero family drama, and the ability to do whatever you want. What’s not to love? However, even if you’re stoked for it, this time of year can definitely stir up homesickness. Here are some ways I plan for a successful alone-but-not-lonely holiday season:

Plan carefully

One year, I decided to go to Machu Picchu for Christmas… and I literally couldn’t see it because of the fog. It makes for a great story, and I had a pretty fab time regardless, but if I had not been so wrapped up in choosing a cool place over common freaking sense, I would have had a much better time. So, step one: use your brain and check the weather. Cheap tickets do not a great trip make.

Treat yo’self

This is your time! If you want to splurge and buy yourself a nice meal or a great gift, do it. If you want to do nothing but sit on the beach and read a book, do it. If you’re feeling lonely, take the time to indulge in something that will make you happy.

Surround yourself with the right people

Do you want to be totally alone, with a few friends, or join a large group of friends-of-friends at a bar? It’s a decision that needs to be weighed carefully, and whatever you think is best is the right answer. If your friends try to guilt you into spending time with people you don’t want to be with, don’t do it. They’ll understand.

One Thanksgiving, my dad was in the hospital and the outlook was not looking good. The whole thing had come on so suddenly that I couldn’t get home in time before his surgery and was stuck in Chile for the holiday. I went to a dinner with a few friends and acquaintances, and when we were going around the table giving thanks, I said something generic about health and family. And one girl said, “What? You don’t have that!” And then I never talked to her again because, yeah, I’m petty, but also: you’re on your own! Choose a guest list that’s best for you.

If you can’t decide, hit the beach. It’s tried-and-true, there are a million to choose from, and you’re guaranteed a modicum of peace.

Got a good tip on where to spend the holidays, or a holiday horror story you need to get off your chest? Sound off below!


About Author

Maureen always knew she wanted to travel. In college, she studied and traveled through the Caribbean and Central America, and the first time she fell in love was with Mexico City. After graduating, she spent several years teaching EFL in Europe, the Americas and Southeast Asia and traveling in every spare moment. She's currently living in Hong Kong, and getting lost while traveling is her main hobby.

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