50 Ways To Enjoy A Solitary Christmas

Way back in the autumn of 2012 I had a decision to make. Should I book super expensive flights home for Christmas, or should I go it alone in Los Angeles where I was studying abroad and do my best to enjoy a solitary Christmas? In the end, to the horror of some of my friends I did just that and spent the holidays alone in California. It was a fantastic experience and I had a great day, making Italian steak and mashed potatoes for lunch (I only started to appreciate a good roast dinner a few years ago), Skyped my friends and family (opening a ‘stocking’ parcel of things I missed from home with my parents on video chat) and watched copious amounts of Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares USA on Hulu. 

I hope everyone reading this gets to enjoy the Christmases they usually look forward to, however that may look for you, but sitting starting work on my Christmas content for this year with all the uncertainty in the world, and knowing how popular this post is every year I decided now was the time to give it a little update to hopefully bring a bit of a silver lining to those of you, wherever you are, spending a solitary Christmas this year because of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. I’m going to keep the original 2012 version of this post in my drafts so that hopefully, next year, I’ll be able to put it back, and try and forget what has been a very difficult year for so many of us, in so many different ways. 

With this impending solitude during what is usually my favourite time of year, with none of my usual culinary and tree decorating traditions to uphold, I started to think up what I could do to keep myself festively occupied during the downtime – I can’t work all the time! As I doubt I’m the only one out there spending the day by myself, I thought I’d put together a handy guide of 50 ways to enjoy a solitary Christmas!

  • Treat yourself to a few festive shower gels to get you into the Christmas spirit, or to take long luxurious baths in. My favourites are from American brand Philosophy – you can get their wonderfully festive Cinnamon Buns 3-in-1 Shampoo, Shower Gel and Bubble Bath from Boots, LookFantastic (ad) and Amazon (ad).
  • Make your own Christmas decorations. Not only is this a great afternoon craft project, but you will reap the festive benefits until the end of the season! You could make one of my DIY Tissue Paper Tassel Garlands in red, purple and gold.
  • Make a list of all your favourite Christmas films then add them to your Netflix watch list, rent them on Amazon Prime or Apple TV and watch one every evening. You could even arrange to do so with your friends and family over Zoom. Love Actually and The Nightmare Before Christmas anyone?
  • Craft the perfect Mulled Wine recipe. Or, simply make my one from Student Eats (ad)?
  • Read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (ad). I usually don’t like his writing, but this tale is so festive – I went to a reading of it one December and it has to be one of my best Christmas memories of my teens. 
  • Make a sales hit list. Loads of things being reduced on Boxing Day, sometimes by lunchtime on Christmas Day can tempt you into buying stuff you don’t need just because it looks like a good bargain. Spend some time online making a list of only the things you really want or need, so you can sale shop with focus and not go in blind. 
  • If you don’t want to be by yourself on the day itself, go volunteer at a shelter or a soup kitchen on Christmas Day itself and help spread the festive cheer. If restrictions mean you can’t do this, get in touch with local food banks and charities and see if you can help in other ways such as cooking and dropping off hot meals to those in need.
  • Buy, rent or borrow a complete DVD box set of a TV Show you never saw but regret not getting into and have a marathon with it over the holidays. 
  • Take something from your usual Christmas indulgence traditions and indulge yourself. My parents and I usually share a big festive themed box of Hotel Chocolate truffles; why not just treat yourself? 
  • Start writing a novel. You know that idea that has been kicking around in your head for simply ages? This is the time to put pen to paper!
  • Re-watch all of your favourite Christmas specials from some of your favourite TV shows. 
  • Treat yourself to some nice loungewear. At least on days like Christmas day when all the shops are shut, you’ll be holed up at home, and you’ll be surprised how much of a difference some cute and cosy pyjamas will make. Some of my favourite pajamas recently have come from Boden (ad).
  • Bake something festive like mince pies (you can find my Mum’s recipe here) or gingerbread men (you can find my recipe here). 
  • Set yourself a challenge. I absolutely adore marshmallows, but I’ve never tried making them before. Joy The Baker has a great and festive peppermint marshmallow recipe in her cookbook, which I’m setting myself the challenge of making! 
  • Read your favourite blog from start to finish, from their very first post. 
  • Head over to bookstagram (book Instagram) and find some new people to follow for reading recommendations. You can find my account here, and check out who I’m following there for ideas of who to follow.
  • Take the time to write handwritten letters to your long distance friends and elderly family members.
  • Do an epic jigsaw puzzle, imagine the sense of accomplishment when you finish a 5,000 piece!
  • Make more effort with your end of the day, festive happy hours with a few homemade touches. My favourite Christmas pairing are these Classic Champagne Cocktails and my Festive Spiced Nuts.
  • Spend an afternoon Youtubing your favourite comedians. 
  • Read the years bestsellers list. Either for Kindle, iPad, from the library or treat yourself to a pile of paperbacks. Every book that was supposed to be great this year and you never had the time to read. 
  • Make and decorate a gingerbread house. It is Christmas, so it does not matter if you eat it all by yourself!
  • Treat yourself to an adult Lego structure and build it. My childhood Lego memories may be of building Hogwarts castle out of Lego (which they have recently bought out a new one of, by the way *ad), but you can get some pretty intricate sets where you can build things like London’s Tower Bridge (ad). 
  • Start a blog. If you don’t already write one, Christmas when you have time on your hands is the perfect time to start one – I think starting this site has to be sone of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.
  • Break out your cookbook collection and try some recipes that you don’t usually have time for at any other time of they year.
  • Make a handmade Christmas wreath or swag for your front door, or an internal door if you can’t go out at all. I posted a tutorial last year on how to DIY a festive swag out of foraged evergreens.
  • Read all of the Harry Potter books, even if you’ve read them before.
  • Learn to knit. Who knows, you could be making everyone scarfs or jumpers by next year!
  • Make paper snowflakes, especially if you live somewhere where you’re not even in with a chance of extra snow. 
  • Buy some festive scented candles to fill your home with holiday scents. My all time favourite festive scent is Winter by The White Company (ad) but this year they’ve added Fir Tree (ad) and Fireside (ad) which I also really want!
  • If you live somewhere populated, take a walk or a drive around and admire the Christmas lights other people have decorated the front of their houses with – without incurring the electricity bill!
  • Also if you live in the big city, take a stroll to admire all of the Christmas windows in your favourite designer stores or big department stores. 
  • However, if you live in the countryside, get up early, wrap up warm, grab your camera and head outside. Lucky if you have fresh snow, but even not things in the countryside look so crisp and magical covered with frost, and it is so silent – perfect for a refreshing wake up walk!
  • Watch A Muppets Christmas Carol. I have fond memories of watching it on Boxing Day while I made turkey soup on the AGA from the leftovers.
  • Make a plan for growing your own next year. Either if you have a fair bit of garden space or just a windowsill you should make it a project for 2021 to eat more fruit, veg and herbs you’ve nurtured yourself.
  • Research other cultures holiday traditions – who knows, you might find something new to incorporate into your celebrations next year.
  • Google some homemade face mask recipes and have a pampering session.
  • Sort out your closet and donate clothes you don’t wear anymore to charity. Check your chosen charity shops are accepting donations first because some are still working through the backlog from everyones clearing out attempts during the first lockdown!
  • Read a biography of someone you really admire, or find amusing. 
  • Plan a staycation and commit to exploring more of Britain next year.
  • Sort through your magazine collection and throw out any you’re not likely to look at again.
  • If you have any snow outside your home, go practice your snow sculpting skills. 
  • Sort through your Google or Bloglovin reader, and clean out all the blogs and websites you don’t really read or pay attention to anymore, or have stopped updating.
  • If you are not already on Pinterest, sign up. If you already are, put together a festive board to help get your into the holiday spirit. You can find my Christmas board here.
  • Put a Christmas photo as the wallpaper on your laptop and your phone so you get hit with a little festive spirit every time you go online or check the time. 
  • Send your Facebook friends and email contacts messages with cute photos of animals in Christmas hats. Bonus points for Christmas cats.
  • Make an effort with breakfast. Take the time to have a Full English or American Pancakes on a weekday.
  • Make a Christmas playlist on Spotify and have a solo dance party.
  • Do a buddy read with a friend reading chapter by chapter together so you have something to discuss it with as you go along.
  • Hide little sweets or candies around the place for you to forget about, then get pleasantly surprised when you stumble across them sometime next year.

I’d love to hear your suggestions if you have any ideas, either in the comments section or via Twitter!