Friday, December 23, 2011

Being Alone on the Holidays.

For most of us, I dare say, the holidays are a joyful time with family and friends, great food, surprising gifts, and a general warm feeling of happiness.

However, there's a number of people who hate the holidays and I used to be one of them.  There are so many wonderful posts about the great times, but I wanted to acknowledge those for whom this time of year can be dreaded, difficult, and hard.

When I was in the military, Christmas didn't mean all that much.  No tree, no family, no gifts -- just another day.  I'd always volunteer for day duty so those who had their families with them could celebrate.  I have religious beliefs that make Christmas meaningful, but the loneliness was like a heavy fog.

Then when I was 29 or 30, I pretty much hit rock bottom in my life.  I spent the worst Christmas ever alone in my house.  I think I spent a lot of it in bed.  Bed is my safe haven. But the desire to be a part of a celebration was horribly painful.

Some of you have lost loved ones.  Some of you may not be able to see family.  Some of you may dread this holiday more than going to the dentist for a root canal.

I understand all of this.

To counteract these feelings surrounding the holiday, consider trying some of these things:

 ** As trite as it sounds volunteer in a soup kitchen, hospital, or animal shelter. But if you're not up to that much activity, try some of the following!

** Do Pay-It-Forwards for strangers -- buy them a cup of coffee if they're behind you in line, hand a card to a stranger, things like that.

**  Drive around and look at the lights.  That has always made me happy.  Be sure to take a cup of hot chocolate with you! And chocolate. Maybe some cookies. Or end the evening enjoying that decadent dessert you've always wanted to get at a certain restaurant but were always to full to get it. Yeah. Now I'm hungry.

** Email me.  Because I get it.  I've been on both sides of the fence.  (***Edited-- I do mean this.  This post was written in 2011, but it's 2012 and I'm still getting emails, and I WILL answer them.)

I write an open, sometimes raw blog.  Sometimes it's funny, sometimes it's like this; introspective, possibly depressing, but always meaning to do good.  I'm trying to change the depressing to an open invitation to celebrate yourself. Because you are worth celebrating.  I want to make your holiday a better one.

I'm not trying to be Mother Teresa, thinking I can cure all ills.  I'm just hoping that someone who's having a rough holiday will see this and know they're not alone; give them the gumption to do something small to make them smile.  I would have given anything for that in past years.

Lots of love, respect, and care to you.

Quote of the Day: Holiday Shopping Flowchart


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.


  1. Blessing to you, dear Lori! You are such a giving person as is especially evident in this posting. I wish you joy, peace, and love this holiday ~ and you are in my prayers.

  2. I love the picture of your tree! Merry Christmas!

    Lynette - Sweet Posy Dreams

  3. Lori, I know you didn't ask but I feel compelled to tell you I don't think you should change a thing. I love how real you are. I love how you are reaching out to those who are in pain. Most of us are too busy enjoying our great Christmas with family and friends to take the time to think of those that are not having such a good time.
    I am a glass half full kinda girl. I have lacked balance in my life to the point of denial of anything negitive. That is not good either. I guess we are both trying to hit the middle of the road and find some balance. Life is full of ups and downs.....not all ups and not all downs. We need more people like you in this world.....REAL! You have heart Lori Anderson and you don't mind letting people see that.I feel blessed to have an opportunity to get to know you through your blog. Merry Christmas to you and your family. God bless you for thinking of those who are not having a Merry Christmas.

  4. Your tree is beautiful! My favorite Christmases were when our son was small. Before I married I volunteered to work a lot of Christmases too. My family was all hours away.

  5. That was a lovely post Lori.
    Your tree looks fantastic - have a great Christmas holiday.

  6. It's sad to think about spending Christmas alone, or when you're going through a tough time in your life. I've always had friends, family, and my church family around me, so I'm blessed in that area.

    Thank you for the wonderful ideas for those who are alone. You have such a caring heart, and it shows on your blog.

    Love the view of your sweet tree! Have a Blessed Christams!

  7. Lori - If I were there I'd give you a great big hug! It's maybe not that you need one this year - but you sure do deserve one.

  8. Lori - Thank you for offering to communicate with those that may be alone this time of the year. You obviously are a very caring/giving person. You gave some great ideas as to how a person can give/spend time this time of the year.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family!!
    Your tree is beautiful!

  9. Anonymous7:25 PM

    Merry Christmas, Lori! XO

  10. May the Lord richly bless you! My family is 8 hours away and there is no money to visit them as I would have to rent a car. Thankfully a dear friend has invited me to her house these last 2 years and that has made a world of difference. This is my 1st year in 6 that I am without a significant other as he chose to leave but it gets better day by day.

  11. A Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  12. Lori, you have a generous and open heart.
    Many Christmas blessings to you and your family.

  13. Lori, thank you for sharing this on your blog. I know it will encourage a lot of people. I have been in the same boat in the past and the tiniest kindness makes the difference. :)

    Merry Christmas!!

    God bless and keep you,

  14. Thank you for being real about how depressing the holidays can be. It's not all happy, holly, jolly time for everyone. I'll be emailing you shortly, but thanks for being open and for reaching out to those of us on other side of the fence.

    {> (Pie!)

  15. Thank you for being real about how depressing the holidays can be. It's not all happy, holly, jolly time for everyone. I'll be emailing you shortly, but thanks for being open and for reaching out to those of us on other side of the fence.

    {> (Pie!)

  16. Merry Christmas, Lori!! A great post as usual...thank you for mentioning the people who have a tough time during the holidays. It always makes me sad to think of people who are all alone during the holidays...especially our military. God bless them and God bless you always! Wishing you many blessings for the new year and better health! HUGS!!

  17. Hi Lori, I usually get blue around the holidays because I am Jewish and I feel a bit out of place and my birthday is the day after Christmas, so I always felt left out as a kid. However, what has made me feel better is exactly what you alluded to in your blog... giving to others. I gave earrings to everyone I work with a restaurant. They were all so touched. I worked extra hours this week so that my Christian friends could have more time for their significant Holiday and I started feeling good, really good. Good Karma. I always get that when I read your blog. Happy Holidays.;

  18. I just want to say: Lori, You're awesome. Okay, that was it. Have a great weekend. =)

  19. Once again, Lori, I am moved by your warm heart. Enjoy the holidays.

  20. I will celebrate with you anytime.

  21. I spent one year alone on Christmas in NY. It was terribly diffucult to take up offers of company. I felt so much the outsider and I was young and too scared to go out and volunteer. It was a strange and lonely experience that's hard for me to be isolated in such a large city!

    You are so sweet to offer your support. I wish I would have had someone like you back then. I really do hope you hear from a few people. I know they are out there.

    Hugs to you and yours.

  22. Those are wonderful ideas! I also find comfort and love when I go to church, but even there, someone can feel alone. I hope everyone can find their happiness and comfort this Christmas!

  23. Dear Lori,
    Thank you for being so real. I am happy to have met you and hope one day it will be in person.
    I totally understand your blog post, I have been there sometimes.
    All my love and blessings for you, my talented lady.

  24. Lori, You are a beautiful person so kind and thoughtful. All of my life this has been a hard time of year for me. So I combat this by doing ramdom acts of kindness. I also work on Christmas day so those that have young children and grandchildren can be off. My son is grown and on his own with no children yet. I will celebrating Christmas with my family after I get off from work.
    I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year,

  25. Thank you for this post, Lori!

    I think a lot of people find the holidays stressful and depressing -- and they have trouble admitting it, for fear of being called a Grinch or Scrooge.

    It's important for people to know that not only are they not alone, but they're not terrible for being unhappy on Christmas. To give them a safe place to vent, free of judgement. And you're doing that here. And I think it's wonderful. :)

    I think that will be my mission next year -- to provide a safe haven. There's so much pressure to have a cheerful, perfect holiday, and it's hard for anyone to live up to!

    Happy holidays, Lori! I'm so glad I met you this year -- your honesty is so refreshing.

  26. Girl, you always know who needs to hear your words. I love how you feel for people, and are always reaching out. Have a blessed Christmas!

  27. Merry Christmas to you Lori :) Timely post for me (as always it seems), this is our first year without both my mother and father in law so we made the decision to just spend Christmas at home. Feels strange this year...

  28. Once again your beautiful heart opened to all. You are a living angel dear Lori. Enjoy your family this Christmas. ~~T

  29. This was a nice post that made me smile.

    You didn't have to write a post like this, but you did... and that's really great and refreshing.

  30. It's good to be giving!
    The only way to really enjoy living!

    My heart feels the tug of a low. Always on Christmas.
    I hope that one day changes!

    You'll be seeing me in the mail this week Lori. :)
    Happy Christmas!!!!

  31. Lori- I love your heart! Merry Christmas, and I hope that this post does help those who are feeling alone!

  32. Inner Earth Jewelry2:54 PM

    Always open to a reality check...somebody's got to do it...thoughtful and thought provoking...Merry Christmas to you and yours :)

  33. All the best for you and your family, Lori ... May your Christmas be the best ever! :o)

    psss... lovely tree!

  34. Beautifully put!

    I always feel like I ought to write a holiday post, but never know what to write. Then I visit your blog and you are always so real and caring and have a way of including everyone which is simply lovely.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  35. whee! I got my beads!!! thank you, I can't wait to play with them!!! Merry Christmas... and thank you for all that you do ---

  36. Beautiful post!
    Happy Christmas :-)

  37. I was lucky enough to be 34 before I spent Christmas away from my family. Luckily I had many friends that I was able to "celebrate" with and spent the next three days hung over!

    I have never been someone who dislikes Christmas. I love the magic and the family and the giving. However, I understand that not everyone feels that way.

    Last year I was away from family again and instead of "celebrate"-ing the way I did that first time I decided to arrange a gift exchange for anyone that I work with and who stays where I work to participate in. We are all in a cold and lonely place at the best of times and I thought that rather than everyone sitting alone in their rooms depressed we should all get together and share some smiles and laughs. It was surprising to see the turn out. It grew from a simple Christmas Night Yankee Gift Exchange to a full blown party with drinks, snacks and Karaoke.

    What I'm saying is you make your own happiness. I realize it isn't always as easy as that but, if you really want to be happy you need to try to make it happen.

    I hope everyone is having a wonderful day and I wish you all love, peace and happiness in the coming year.

    ~<3 GillyBean

  38. Hi Lori!

    I wish we were neighbors - we could have coffee and chat :-). You have a beautiful spirit! For now, we'll just have to settle for Blog/FB friends... have a wonderful holiday season!


  39. Lori - thank you. This was me last year, as a single mum who has just recently had to share Christmas, I understand the overwhelming sadness of being alone at this time of year, your post has inspired me to look at other options and start planning for next year.

  40. Lori, even though I have family and a great boyfriend, I really felt like spending Christmas alone this year. Sometimes life is just too hard, and you feel unappreciated and used... other things going on too just made me feel like, who cares! I do with I would have gone to volunteer somewhere and maybe next year that's what we'll do.

  41. Anonymous6:00 AM

    You are wonderful for posting this supportive post. I will be spending Christmas alone. A very good friend of mine committed suicide this week. I was going to spend Christmas with my inlaws, but their Christmas involves sitting at the dining room table for two hours and then opening gifts. I honestly don't think I can get thru the experience without "waterworks," and the effort to try feels like too much. Christmas is just an emotional flatline to me this year. I honestly don't care if it comes or not, so I think I'll be perfectly happy pretending I slept thru it. My husband wants to stay with me, but this could be the last Christmas for one or both of his aging parents. I don't want that possible guilt, so I really want him to go. I will catch up on romantic comedies on Roku/Amazon Prime and will eat leftover prime rib that we're planning on cooking the day before. And I will cry for the beloved friend I lost anytime I want to. It will be a good day.


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