Can’t go home for the holidays? Here’s what you can do instead
An onslaught of adverts, every film you’ve ever seen and the five songs that are played on a continuous loop during December might make you think Christmas is only about going home and spending time with family.
But what if, for a variety of reasons, you can’t or choose not to?
Christmas can be an excellent time to try new things, or just do whatever the heck you want.
With public transport not operating and most businesses shut up shop, one thing that is always available is the great outdoors.
You could go for a long walk or if you want to spend your Christmas morning with others, Parkruns – which take place at parks across the UK – often operate on Christmas Day.
Check their website for information on Parkruns operating near you on the day.
Get down the pub
Just because you can’t get boozy with the family on Christmas day, there’s no reason to miss out.
Most pubs open up on Christmas Day, particularly in cities, with many even hosting lock-ins creating a real party atomsphere.
But be careful, some pubs are likely to close from around 4pm.
Lots of charities are desperate for volunteers in the build up to Christmas, when problems for people who are isolated and lonely can seem to get worse.
It’s a great way of giving back while you spend Christmas day with like minded people.
National homeless charity Crisis runs its Crisis at Christmas service every year, offering safe and warm places for rough sleepers to spend the festive period.
It relies on the support of more than 10,000 volunteers to give people without a home access to hot food, a shower, a haircut and clean clothes.
People can register to volunteer online for Crisis centres in Edinburgh, London, Newcastle, Coventry and Birmingham.
National volunteering charity TimeBank recruit and train volunteers to deliver a number of mentoring projects aimed at tackling complex social problems.
They run a range of different programmes across the UK including teaching English language classes in London, Birmingham, Leicester and Coventry.
Another programme supports ex-service men and women recovering from mental health issues while others look at helping young people.
Spend time with (another) family
For overseas students unable to go home over the winter break, there is a way to experience a Christmas with another family.
Host UK arranges for international students to spend up to three days in a British home over Christmas.
Spokesperson Kimberley Brough says: ‘Instead of staying alone on a deserted university campus, they can be with friendly people and learn about another culture.’
Treat Yo Self
Psychologists say that spending Christmas Day alone can actually be liberating.
Do all the things you never normally have time to, like reading or doing something creative.
Eat and drink whatever you want or stay in bed and watch films all day – it’s totally up to you.
The charity Stand Alone, which supports people who have become estranged from family members, suggests telling someone that you are planning to be on your own on Christmas Day.
‘It’s wise to plan a phone call, let a neighbour know, or ask a friend or another neutral family member to be on stand-by in case you need them,’ it advises.
‘If you are a member of a Facebook community group, make a post and talk to others who are enjoying Christmas on their own.
‘It will make you feel good to be interactive on your own terms, so message others throughout the day and send greetings.’
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