It’s always amazing to me how a particular piece of music or song can stir up strong memories and emotions. This is especially noticeable when you start to hear your favorite holiday songs that you only hear once a year, many of which remind us of our family traditions, favorite events, and social gatherings. While most of these thoughts are joyful, it’s not surprising that this time of year can also bring incredible amounts of sadness and loneliness for many people.


Many studies show that loneliness increases during the holiday season for many reasons. Much of this loneliness can stem from romanticizing what the holidays are “supposed” to be based on past memories.


Loneliness can also spring up because of unexpected change that has occurred in the preceding year that has put a damper on this happy time (loss of a loved one, changed family dynamics, loss of a job, etc.).


Here are some helpful tips to fight off those lonely feelings and put a little jingle in your step during the holidays:


1. Set realistic expectations for the holiday season

It is important to accept the fact that change has occurred and embrace the positives of your new situation. Realize that that Hallmark Christmas special with the perfect tree and cookie cutter family eating together is the way the holidays turn out to be for everyone. Perfection is an unachievable goal.  So, set goals that are appropriate to keep you from feeling disappointed and help you enjoy the season.


2. Create new and exciting traditions

Sometimes clinging to old traditions can accentuate the fact that things have changed. So, start a new tradition that brings you joy! My family and I started a tradition last year where we have a fondue dinner for Christmas Eve. Instead of having everyone slave away in the kitchen making a huge meal, we spend time around the steaming wine infused broth preparing our own food. It is a lot of fun and we are able to enjoy each other’s company.


3. Stay social but don’t be afraid to do things alone

This time of year especially has a lot of opportunity for holiday activities. Whether you live in a small town or a big city, check your newspapers for all of the events happening nearby. Get tickets for a free shoe, attend a concert, or see the lighting of the Christmas trees to start of the season with joy! Whether you choose to do this with a friend, by yourself, or arrange an outing with a group of individuals that you would like to get to know better…branch out! You can really use these activities to brighten your spirits.


4. Give of yourself to those in need

Nothing makes you feel more important than helping your fellow man at their time in need. It is a natural inclination to dwell on your own misfortunes and to feel sorry for yourself for things in your life that you feel are not the way you would like them to be. By giving back to others, you are able to put your life in perspective when you realize how many others are more unfortunate than yourself. One of the blessings of Christmas is the increase in charity that we share with one another, and there are many community and church organizations that you can volunteer your time with this season.




“This is the message of Christmas:  We are never alone.”  ~Taylor Caldwell


P.S. For more tips on overcoming loneliness during the holiday season, check out this article.