It has just occurred to me that the xmas break is just around the corner. I don't have plans and can't cope with the thought of going back home to my family (Bridget Jones meets Nightmare on Elm Street). I'd intended to volunteer but my local volunteer centre rather sneeringly informed me this morning that ALL volunteer places had filled up weeks ago. I might be intelligent, highly motivated and well qualified, but so is half the city.
I'm not sure what to do. I definitely don't want to visit the relatives, and would rather not spend xmas day alone in my flat trying to make turkey-flavoured tofu burgers.
does anyone know of any voluntary programs, in the UK or abroad, who might take last-minute volunteers? Or... anything? Now I'm thinking about it, the idea of doing nothing all xmas is not great. Yes I have some great friends, but they'll be spending xmas day with their families and partners.
This has really sneaked up on me! Any ideas?
I think you may get further contacting places like charities and the like directly, as even if they don't need more volunteers they may be able to give you details of opportunities that they're aware of among the organisations they liaise with. I'd try popping into a local Bethany shop (or contacting them otherwise) or similar as I'd be surprised if especially homelessness projects weren't wanting volunteers over Christmas for their soup kitchens etc. If you're in the UK you could also try contacting the Big Issue. I once volunteered for their local New Year's Eve 3-day event which they ran to give homeless people shelter, food and a little entertainment over that period which is notorious for a massive increase in suicides, what with staring another year of desperation in the eye and all. It was the most wonderful event I was ever involved with, although it appears to have stopped round my way. Another idea might be to approach local hospices. They may well be running little festivities for those who will be staying with them over that time and may appreciate an extra pair of hands. Or how about the local cat and dog home? Just some ideas. I'd phone round places directly.
Oh, and another idea. Speak with your Uni's international students office. I know people who 'take in' foreign students for Christmas Day where they live too far away to go home over that time and would otherwise be all alone. They always have 2-3 students joining them for Christmas dinner and it makes for a lovely sociable day and you learn something about others' Christmas customs to boot. You could have a few round to yours and have Crimbo festivities together, that way helping all involved!
Anyway, good luck and let us know what you come up with! (tree)
I find this time of year tricky too, usually. This years it's easier because I've managed to get my crazy parents to come to me for 'brunch', and my best mate may come round in the afternoon with her little son.
However, in previous years I've had a more difficult time. One year I spent the day on my own in the flat - which was ok actually. I prepared a really nice dinner and watched loads of telly, though I found I could only get through and enjoy it by having zero contact with anyone - I couldn't bare to hear about other people's family gatherings...
I spent last year at a friend's with her family, who I have know for more than thirty years, which was great, but I wouldn't do it again because I feel that would be an intrusion.
I've also spent the day with other friends who for one reason or another have no-one around on Christmas day - that can be lovely. One of my best Christmases was spent just me and an old friend.
I've tried the volunteering thing, but it seems to be harder than getting into the Emerald City, I think you have to book it months in advance and I'm never sure what I'll be doing that far ahead.
Spending the day alone is fine really. Just make sure you have some good food and drink and other treats. Just make sure you get some good company on the surrounding days. Don't haul up for the entire holiday period or you will go a bit mental - I did this a couple of years ago - not good. Make some arrangements with friends.
Christmas is so tricky if you're single and have a difficult family, you have my empathy - I would say sympathy but I'm confident that you can make it wok and still enjoy the day on your own so long as you manage it right. I feel much better about the whole thing after my solo Christmas. The actual day doesn't matter so much to me an more, even though the family stuff still hurts.
Good luck and let us know how you get on! I will message you on Christman day if you are about...
======= Date Modified 09 Dec 2011 21:02:58 =======
======= Date Modified 09 Dec 2011 21:08:20 =======
Hi Cornflower, I'm just going to comment on the volunteering bit because I think the suggestions of others for alternatives is really good and I've spent a fair few Christmasses of my own in not so happy circumstances as a very young single parent, so I know how the whole day can seem hollow sometimes and how tough it is to put on the mask at that time-which you still need to do just for your own self-respect.
But with regard to the volunteering: this is something that is commonly put forward to people by well-meaning others (counsellors) and journalists as a recipe for 'giving at Christmas' (and for helping oneself through a difficult season).
The College that I work at has a religious affilliation and so volunteering and support societies all come as part of the deal with my workplace.
However, volunteer programs tend to be run as year long commitments through an organised and systematic process. So most of the volunteers who might be supporting at a Christmas function, or something similar, have been volunteers for a while and Christmas is just one of the many different projects that they might volunteer for. These organisations tend not to take on people just to help out on Christmas day for some good reasons, although I don't think that the person who spoke to you had any need to be disparaging or patronising.
Will friends be spending their entire days with family? My children are now grown and this Christmas we will be together before my eldest son is posted overseas. However, this Christmas is a very different one. In the past as their mother (once they were grown), I never expected, nor would I now, expect my children and partners, friends, etc to spend every waking minute with me over the Christmas days. Perhaps some of your friends would welcome some time out from their parents, the alcoholic family friend and bratty younger cousins for an hour or two on Christmas day.
I understand your state of mind.
I think that Pjlu is correct about volunteering on Christmas day. But you can check with your local church, hospitals, children hospitals, and see if they need an extra pair of hands.
I am pretty sure that many people do not live an idyllic Christmas, so sometimes is just enough to look around to find someone who needs company or help. If you are in the position to invite people to your place, inviting a few international students from your Uni is excellent.
You can also check with your local council if there is anything you can help with.
Lastly, it is important that you think about yourself and do something you are happy about.
Thanks everyone for your suggestions, they are really useful.
I'm planning on seeing a few friends on boxing day, history has shown me that this is the time people are most likely to get bored with the in-laws and holiday ennui. But most of my friends in this city are either going back to their families or have partners / young children / are having family over. This is my first real Xmas by myself. I'm not depressed about it exactly, just a little sad.
Cornflower, you're not alone, a lot of people spend Christmas Day on their on. Log on here on Christmas Day and I'll wish you a Merry Christmas. Try to remember, as strange as it seems, some people feel forced to spend Christmas Day with others they don't rub along with and would rather be on their own...
Just up and going to spend the bulk of the day by myself but will have dinner with my family later. Cornflower, I hope you're OK, your not the only one on here that has indicated they will be alone and I have a friend who lives alone and has been diagnosed with the flu and has been told not to have any vistors today.
I hope you enjoy today, whatever you decide to do. Merry Christmas.(gift)
Hi Cornflower, how did you get on?
I just spent brunch/lunch with my crazy parents - always a russan roullette type experience. Unfortunately this not was not a winner. I too will be spending next Christmas Day on my own, I think, that seems to be my best option. Really wish I'd done it today now.
======= Date Modified 27 Dec 2011 15:03:08 =======
Aww, thank you Eska and Delta. Eska, sorry to hear about that situation, it sounds like the type I try hard to avoid. Actually I really enjoyed spending it alone, I was determined to neither a) make a big deal about being alone on Xmas or b) ignore those feelings by pretending it was just another day. I did cook myself Xmas dinner, although not turkey because I'm vegetarian. Actually I did do something which was truly amazing which I never would have done if I'd spent Xmas with others -- I went for a walk around the city I'm in (I live in the middle of town). And it was absolutely incredible, I've never seen any city so completely empty, with only a few people sitting around in the scattering of bars that were open. I really got to see my city in a very, very different way, and I took some amazing photographs of empty bridges and streets that are normally full of people and cars. So it was actually quite special in the end, I'm glad I chose to brave it alone rather than accepting any of the awkward last-minute offers to go and stay with peripheral family members who I don't know all that well.
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