No need to be alone at Christmas |

No need to be alone at Christmas

So it’s Christmas Eve and you have things to do tomorrow, family to meet, connections. Or maybe you don’t. Whatever is on the agenda for tomorrow, that doesn’t make it easier to deal with the Eve.

We may feel we’re just stuck with being alone, but that’s not necessarily so. What are the options?

One of my favorite holiday activities is the Christmas Eve church service. Scan the newspaper and you’ll find many choices, from early in the evening to midnight. Find a friend to go with you. If that’s not possible, and you need transportation, a call to the church office might get you a ride. If all else fails, you can probably find one on TV, although that may not be as uplifting as attending in person.

“Find a friend.” That’s key to getting through a lonely holiday. You may have to start with just an acquaintance, someone you know who is also facing the holiday alone. That may lead to a friendship or not, but sharing Christmas Eve will help you both.

Alone on Christmas Day too? What can you do to share the holiday?

Again, there are multiple church services offered. Then there is the possibility of helping to serve Christmas dinner to other alone people. If you are not able to serve, take advantage of a dinner and be one of those who are served.

Believe it or not, the movie theaters are open on Christmas Day. So are restaurants, from fast food to fancy.

OK. Admittedly, those suggestions are for people who can get out of their homes on their own. What about people who can’t get out?

Thank God for the phone. Try to set up a time with family our friends when you can join in the group either by speaker phone or Skype. Plan ahead: who you’ll talk to; what you want to share; questions you want to ask. And yes, they do want to hear from you, even if they were too busy to set it up themselves.

Some people like to use their alone day to take a retreat from their usual activities. Meditate on the year that is coming to an end. Make your mind go to the good things that happened; you’ve already worried the negatives to death. Go through the Christmas cards you received and pray for each sender. (I keep mine in a stack at my table and pray for them, one a day, throughout the year.)

You’re a survivor. You made it through another year. Watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” again, and relate it to your own. Be thankful for the lives you’ve touched.

Your gratitude attitude will get you through the next year.

Darlene Saunders is a lay counselor with Anew Day, a faith-based organization that provides healing and hope through lay counseling for those who are hurting.

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