How to make the most of a lonely Christmas

John Enright, Reporter

The fact that the family structure in America is changing is news to no one. It’s change; it’s progression; it’s the new normal. With what changes our society has undergone, family based traditions such as Christmas and Thanksgiving remain strangely unaltered in the ways that they are practiced. There are, of course, many exceptions to this considering the varying cultural and religious influences that shape the Holidays. Despite these changes, the Holidays are still generally centered around family. So where does that leave people without a good family structure?

I am not close to most of my kindred. On one side, the problem is distance. On the other side, the problem is disagreement. I don’t need an excuse to visit my mom whenever I can, but that’s about all I am willing to do as far as family get-togethers. That may seem harsh of me, but as far as family get-togethers that are within my power to visit, I’m not necessarily the most welcome visitor. It’s no tragedy, but it does get lonely when I am the only person I see for a month while everyone else is spending time at home with family. I know for a fact that I am not the only one in that position. According to the Brandon Gaille website article titled, “23 Scary Statistics on Dysfunctional Families” written on May of 2017, 2 out of 3 children live in an environment that would not be considered the “traditional family environment”. A lot of factors that contribute to this can raise the risk of dysfunction and family turmoil when disaster hits.

For someone with a dysfunctional family, sometimes it can be healthier to stay home and avoid the drama; at least for the Holidays. According to the ABC web article, “I’ll Stay Home for Christmas” written by Courtney Hutchison and ABC Medical Unit in December of 2010, it is healthier for some to skip a year of family get-togethers or at least minimize the time spent with family during the Holidays.

For those without families and those who need some time away from family, here are some suggestions I have. First, plan a separate time to celebrate the Holidays with some friends. Choose a week that you know will work with your friends; something before travel time that isn’t during the week of Thanksgiving or Christmas. If you can’t find one day that works make multiple days of quality time with individual friends throughout the month. Second, find something to take your time during Thanksgiving and Christmas days. Get a stack of books, movies and video games as well as a hoard of junk food and spend the day binging on the introverted tasks that you love.

When the Christmas lights hang high and the winter air grinds in our chests, being alone can really work on an individual’s sense of belonging. That’s why it’s important to find one’s real family. That real family might be kin; it might be classmates or community groups or co-workers. So take the time that the Holidays present and spend it with those who matter the most. That’s how to make a Lonely Christmas, a meaningful Christmas.

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