With the help of our lovely Solo Living Community Members, we share the reasons why solos choose to spend Christmas Day alone and why they shouldn’t be pitied when they share their plans with family and friends.
There is a sense of togetherness about Christmas Day. It’s the one day of the year when families go to great efforts to plan and coordinate being together, which is great. It truly is, and not many will argue with the tradition.
If my circumstances were different and I had a squad of children running around or grown-up offspring scattered around the country, I know I would be tirelessly running around trying to create the perfect Christmas for everyone to enjoy, from making egg nog at breakfast to when the cheese plate and liqueurs are brought out in the evening when a few of the crowd will be snoozing on the couch after over-indulging.
However, my life has not turned out that way and living alone, I spend more time than most in solitude. I am a remote worker working from home. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not in contact with people. Currently and virtually, combining all the projects I work on – including communicating on social media and with community groups – means I am in touch with thousands of people daily. Granted, my life is unique to me, and not everyone living alone will have the same experience.
However, when I was telling friends that I was choosing and wanting to spend Christmas Day alone, all I could see on their faces was pity. Then suddenly, feeling the need to justify what was a positive decision, at the same time, I was thinking my choice could be interpreted as a result of not having other options to spend the day. That isn’t true, either. I don’t think they could quite believe someone would choose to spend Christmas Day alone.
Perhaps it is a fantasy to wish for peacefulness, away from laptop and phone screens, social media and social engagement. It would just be for a couple of days, feels like a dream and is really appealing! Two effortless days with no obligations, enjoying the comfort of my home at Christmas time, eating good food and watching box sets as and when I please. Sounds like bliss.
That said, living alone is not a singular, one-dimensional experience. It would be wrong to assume everyone who lives alone would want the same. What people who live alone do have in common is the shared experience of living alone, and everyone will have a different perspective. We are a diverse group, and the experience and wishes of one will not be the same as everyone else’s. It just so happens I am single too, which is a circumstance undeniably shared by many people living alone.
Our Solo Living Community extends to couples who do not live together, single and co-parents, and folk who are house-sharing, and you can imagine for them navigating Christmas is less likely to involve spending Christmas alone. Solo living, for us, is about the joys, opportunities and challenges we face navigating life solo, taking charge of our lives and taking on the mental load of life decision-making on our own.
Another shared aspect of solo living is that the cost of living is higher, but I guess where I am going with this is how solos socialise and how much time we want to spend time with others will vary dramatically. There will of course, be Solos who would prefer to be in company rather than spend Christmas Day by themselves.
That’s why choosing to spend Christmas Day alone shouldn’t be pitied. For one thing, the mental load of decision-making (which many solos offset with the freedom solo living allows) means that by the time it comes to Christmas and Boing Day, aspiring for a peaceful and quiet time when you have time off is the best opportunity to enjoy some true solitude.
As I write this, maybe I should have told my friends I am working because, let’s face it, to be working on Christmas and Boxing is not so unusual. Millions of people do it, and we wouldn’t bat an eyelid.
Last year it was suggested that eight million people in the United Kingdom spent Christmas Day alone, with one article suggesting it is’ empowering’ for those who choose to do so. That is not always how we all think of it, but it is reassuring to think that choosing to spend Christmas Day alone can be a sign of strength.
15 Reasons why people choose to spend Christmas alone
There are several reasons why Solos might choose to spend Christmas solo. When you read what Solos have to say in their comments below, you’ll find:
- Travelling alone in potentially poor weather conditions and in the dark and not being able to enjoy a tipple is a popular reason.
- Travelling long distances for one day can be offputting. It can be too much of an upheaval.
- Some of our solos will be travelling – like Janet, who is currently touring Scotland in her camper van.
- Some solos want the spend the day in their own home.
- The opportunity of time off allows solos to travel to sunnier climes.
- Some solos want to spend the day outdoors if the weather is good.
- Given our busy lives, some will seek a peaceful and quiet day. A few of our community members find socialising with family and friends on Christmas Day stressful and unnecessarily mentally demanding.
- Solos can spend many days throughout the year alone, so they don’t understand why choosing to spend Christmas Day at home should be seen any differently.
- Patterns of work can influence the decision – e.g. shift workers may want to enjoy the day in their own homes. Or, Christmas workers may return home to spend the rest of the day alone.
- Logistically, co-parenting means children may be home in the morning before seeing their other parent in the afternoon, leaving one parent at home alone for the rest of the day for some much-needed rest.
- Solos can be incredibly busy during the build-up to Christmas Day, so staying at home just works out that way.
- Dedicated time off means having the time to focus on crafts, hobbies and jobs around the home.
- Diets and food intolerances might make eating at other people’s homes difficult.
- Having a health condition might mean solos will choose to spend the day alone.
- If not a Christian, some solos do not celebrate the day.
The Solos who choose to spend Christmas Day alone
We asked our Solo Living Facebook Community Members about their thoughts on spending Christmas Day alone. We asked what they will do for the day and the food and meals they have planned. Some of our members mention how they will spend the day this year, while others talk about the many years they have spent Christmas Day alone. Here is what they have to say.
I’ve declared to my family I want to be in my own home for the big day. Planning on doing a roast turkey crown and trimmings, plus getting some lovely party food from M&S or Waitrose, along with some tasty cheeses etc., as treats for myself. I can’t wait. I have also scoped out the nearest park run!
Spending the day alone with my three furbabies, with no close family nearby and having ‘done’ Christmas with friends in their homes, I found it more mentally demanding than being with family all day! May tackle the decorating as it’s a good 4-day break from work for me!
I’ve declined an invite to my sister’s for various reasons, mostly travelling 250 miles on motorways in bad weather in the dark. I’m pootling about in the Highlands in my camper and not planning to return to my house until January. Haven’t actually planned anything for the day. Just winging it!
I was going to be spending Christmas day alone in Portimão, but Mum (who lives in Spain) had no plans, so I will spend it with her now and have a picnic on the beach. I have spent a few Christmases alone and have usually spent the day making a non-Christmassy meal that I don’t normally have the time to make. Last year it was vegan moussaka with a Greek salad using vegan feta and some lovely bread. The year before, I made vegan sushi and Japanese-style potato salad and accompanied them with hot, salted edamame beans and wakame salad.
I’ll pop for a cuppa at my son’s house, then back to my cosy home for new PJs, nice food & fizz, a Downton Abbey DVD & the King’s speech. Looking forward to it as it is always a peaceful day.
I have also declined an invitation from a work colleague because a) we don’t always get along at work, and b) I hate drama at Xmas – I had enough of that for a lifetime growing up with my family. It will be my cat and me – music, old movies, a book and good food. I have bought traditional Portuguese cod fish, a Pandoro and Porto wine and I will get some seafood, cheese and traditional desserts. A good day to relax, reflect and be grateful for what I have.
For once, I won’t be alone this Christmas. Every year since I split with the ex-husband (12 Christmas, apart from that certain Christmas), the girls have always gone to his. He did want them to go to his GF’s house with his mum and her parents. My kids said they wanted Christmas at home and to go to his Boxing Day.
I’ll take the puppies to the dog park to see some friends, and if it’s a nice day, we’ll also have a walk in the woods. Haven’t thought about food though. I will have turkey one day over the holiday period. Mince pies most days, too.
This is my first Christmas post-divorce. I’m singing at two Christmas Eve services, and not sure what I’m doing on Christmas Day. Mom is convinced that I ‘want’ to be alone. It’s not that – it’s just that it works out that way, and I’m ok with it. Apparently, the whole family is worried about me now.
I’ll be on my own, and I try not to advertise it as you get the “how sad” and the pitying attitude – it’s my day, I cook extra nice food and get extra nice food for the cat. I’m in charge of the tv remote and whatever else I feel like doing!
I’ll spend Christmas with Gracie, my Shih Tsu, and Cricket, my parakeet. I’m planning on a decadent meal. I’ve lost 74 lbs and have decided to treat myself. Maybe Gracie and I will go out to the country for a nice walk in nature.
I might spend most of Christmas by myself.
I normally do, but this year a friend is coming. She’s single too.
I’m currently having cancer treatment. I’ve explained to my family I feel more alone in a crowd of everyone drinking and being falsely merry than actually being alone, so asked them to stop banging on about it! I can eat what I choose, go back to bed if I choose, watch what I choose, chill out, and not get dressed if I choose. I really can’t be bothered with the falseness of it all, I’m just getting a dinner dropped off, and I am happy with that.
I spent Xmas Day alone last year and absolutely loved it! No stress, no family upsets, I did just what I wanted to do. I had Xmas Day dinner but with salmon en croute and Christmas pudding for one, then lay on the settee with my Ameretto, quality street and the TV. It was bliss.
I’ve done a few alone, and I really like them, with no stress, no drama, and free time to do as I please. I’m also coeliac, so eating at other people’s houses can be challenging as my food must be gluten-free, with no cross-contamination of any kind, or else I can be very ill for 24 hours and poorly for a few days after that too.
I’ve often done a 3-course meal and spread the courses over the day. They’ve been a proper Christmas dinner or a curry meal in the past. This year I’m thinking of doing something different and similar to what a friend does in her family household: stock the fridge with a nice food selection and eat what I like, whenever I like: nice bread, crackers, cheese selection, ham, pork pie, pickled onions, dips, salad, cheesecake, fresh fruit, mince pies, etc. And wash it down with wine, sherry, tea – whatever I feel like.
With the way Christmas and Bank Holidays are falling this year, I’m considering a 4-day sewing-fest. I bought a sewing machine about 18 months ago and have been learning to sew this year and making a few things. Also, telly, reading, and meeting friends for walks with their dogs if the weather is nice.
I’m alone.. just the dog and me. Won’t bother with Christmas dinner.. just normal food.
I’m planning a selfish Christmas on my own, with my Christmas lunch cooked how I want it, and not how other people want theirs. I won’t have to drive, so I can drink as much as I like and not have to worry about driving. I can stuff as much chocolate down my neck as I want to and not care what anyone else thinks. As a previous shift worker, I’ve spent quite a few Christmases alone because of my working hours, and I’ve realised it’s actually what I prefer.
I always find the response of some others to me spending Christmas Day alone peculiar. I spend many of days throughout the year alone, so it really isn’t a hardship. I will have a long lie in bed, walk my lovely wee dog and then get back into jimjams and spend the day exactly the way I want to. That is bliss to me. Dinner could be anything, I’ll decide nearer to the time, and it will be something I love.
I’m going to be alone and planning a Christmas dinner ‘easy-style’ using frozen roasties, parsnips, pigs in blankets, Yorkshires etc. I’ll skip the turkey, but I’ll add in fresh carrots. I’ll buy a trifle, lol. My grown-up daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter live in England. I’ve been invited for Christmas at her inlaw’s house, but I’m an introvert, and it will be full-on which would drain me. My son-in-law’s family are amazing, but I’d honestly find it really tiring.
Instead, I’m heading there this weekend for a lovely early Christmas celebration weekend at my daughter’s house with precious time with my 3-year-old granddaughter. What’s interesting is when my daughter’s friends ask her what her Mum is doing for Christmas, and she says ‘she will be on her own’. There’s a big reaction to that, and then she feels she has to explain (like it might look like she is a terrible daughter not inviting her Mum for Christmas, lol).
On my own…again! I’ve normalised it now, though! I must be a god awful person because I haven’t got one invite from my so-called friends! And yet….I am overgenerous and there for them when they have needed me! I don’t get it, to be honest.
Solos talking about the food they will enjoy on Christmas Day
I will be with family on the day, but the one time I was alone, I bought in food & went for M&S. I also started my day with a bucks fizz & breakfasted on croissants with cream cheese and smoked salmon. I delved into chocs & drinks whenever the fancy took me and had cheese and crackers for supper, as I’d no room for tea. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
I’ll be with family this year, but I’ve had some great solo Christmases over the years. I’ve done it both ways, cooked for myself and had lovely food from supermarket festive ranges.
I’ll visit my parents the week before, and deliver presents to friends. I’ll be solo travelling in Malta on Christmas Day. I’ll probably go for a walk by the sea and make something simple in the oven.
Will be with one daughter one day and my other daughter on the other. I’d be happy slobbing and having a nice bacon sarnie.
One year l had boiled eggs & toasted soldiers. It’s what l wanted.
OMG, I’m gonna love every minute of it! A big lie in. I’m just gonna spoil myself for Christmas.Pancakes for breakfast and eat whatever I fancy, especially cheese, biscuits, and chocolate. No stress, just bliss.
Visiting my parents in the afternoon for dinner, then solo for the rest of the break. Completely solo for New Year. Planning to read a lot and eat nice food.
I’m spending most of the day alone. Will ride my horse with friends in the morning, then take my dog to the beach. I’ve ordered a Gousto box to be delivered the Friday before. They do an amazing Xmas dinner that only takes an hour to cook. I had it a couple of years ago, and it was delicious and very easy to do. After my dog walk, I intend to spend the rest of the day in PJs, watching what I want on TV. Looking forward to it, although the last time I spent Xmas day alone, I had so many calls from friends and family that I didn’t really have time to myself. Will have to try and think of a way of tactfully managing that this year.
I don’t celebrate Christmas per se, but it’s a holiday, and I like to see people & have a nice dinner. I have texted my sister more than once to ask what we are doing. Am I cooking, or are you? etc., with no reply. I’m having friends over on the 24th, so maybe I’ll be alone the next day. If so I will make myself something nice or, more likely, unwrap something nice from Marks & Spencer’s lol…
I follow Native American tradition, so not Christian. I will be solo this year since my daughter will spend the holidays with her fiancées family in Spain. I’ll make a pot of Gumbo and Cornbread, and maybe bake some goodies for myself and just chill. Clean out my closet, make donations, tip runs if I feel the urge, and if not, there’s always another day…
I spend Christmas afternoon alone every year. My kids open their gifts from Santa in the morning then their dad collects them at noon. Doing Santa as a single parent is exhausting, and I’ve usually had no sleep, so although a bit lonely, I am glad for the rest. I’m not sure what I’m going to eat. Money’s really tight. Usually, I try to make the nibbles I grew up with, devilled eggs, and a USA-style shrimp cocktail. I think I will do something like spaghetti with meatballs this year. Something comforting but cheap and easy to make.
I live alone and dine alone all the time. I treat Christmas as I would any other day. I’m not into holidays.
I am looking forward to spending Christmas on my own with my little dog. I will cook something special, play Christmas Carols, have a Christmas tree and a nice wine or cocktail. It’s my first Christmas in my new apartment with my 9-month-old dog, Luno. I will probably watch a nice movie after. And certainly, sleep in the next morning. I will wrap a nice present for Luno and me.
Not sure what I’m having yet but was thinking seafood decadent stuff!
Thanks to our community members from our Super Solos Living Alone Community and Solo Dining and a Table for One Facebook Groups for their valued contribution to our work and articles. They are the people who truly know what it is like to be living alone and navigating life solo.