Blogger | Teacher
As Kate McCallister so passionately said in ‘Home Alone,’ “This is Christmas. The season of perpetual hope.”
For many, Christmas is a time of family, of laughter, and of the joy of being together another year. It’s sitting around the tree opening gifts, enjoying the feeling of being just a little too full of yummy Christmas dinner, and listening to your favorite artists sing covers of popular Christmas carols.
Christmas is ultimately about togetherness. But, unfortunately, not everyone has the benefit of being able to experience that togetherness. Sometimes life takes us far away from the people we love during the Christmas season, and we have to spend this festive time of joy and happiness on our own.
It can be really disheartening to be on your own at Christmas. Feeling jovial and excited about the holidays is difficult when there’s no one there to share it with.
If you’re alone or separated from the people you love this Christmas, I am writing this to you to let you know that you are not the only one feeling a little lackluster about the holidays. You are not the only one struggling to find joy in the usually joyous season. And you are not the only one wishing you could be home.
Recently, I moved across the ocean to teach English in Japan. And while I am enjoying my experience immensely and am incredibly grateful for this opportunity that I have been gifted, trying to feel festive about the holidays has proven to be incredibly hard.
Christmas for me is almost entirely based around my family. I have always gone home to them for the holidays – even when I was in college, Christmas wasn’t really Christmas until I was back with my parents and sibling.
In our house, the holidays are Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole Christmas albums, the smell of freshly baked cookies, and fighting over who gets to put the Barbie ornaments on the tree. Christmas is Hickory Farms sausage and cheese trays and waiting for my dad to finish putting up the lights outside. Christmas is classic holiday movies and warm apple cider.
Here, alone in my apartment in Tokyo, there’s no Bing Crosby or cookies or Barbie ornaments. There are no Hickory Farms, Christmas lights, or warm apple cider. I recently moved in, so there are no decorations and no real Christmas-themed plans. While Christmas exists around Tokyo, it has not made its way into my little personal space.
And some days, that’s hard. Knowing that I can’t be with my family this year and being in a new city where I am not yet comfortable and secure in my place here has been a real challenge over the last few weeks. Thanksgiving went by as just another day, and Christmas has yet to feel very Christmasy. And all of that is exceptionally difficult at times and I have felt incredibly isolated here on my own.
But I also think that having this experience has made me appreciate the beauty of Christmas even more than I had before. For example, while I’ve worked at jobs in the past that decorated for the holidays, the fact that my office took the time to decorate and really bring Christmas to life made me exceptionally happy.
Also, I’m surrounded by other lonely friends who aren’t able to go home for the holidays because of one reason or another, so I’m constantly being reminded of the love and joy we find in those people around us. I may not have my family, but I have no shortage of friends who want to spend the holidays with someone familiar and warm.
And sometimes, finding some semblance of comfort in times of uncertainty can make all the difference.
So, to everyone celebrating alone, experiencing a Christmas for One, I hope you can find some small pockets of joy.
I hope you can see holiday illuminations that make your heart happy.
I hope you can find your favorite festive album, one that makes you feel a little closer to home.
I hope you can be with someone who makes you feel a little less alone.
Christmas by yourself won’t feel the way it usually does. It won’t feel like cookies and presents and warm apple cider. But that doesn’t mean it can’t still feel like Christmas.
Happiness isn’t always something that’s given to you – sometimes, happiness is built entirely on intention. It’s looking at your life and what you have and saying, “You know what? I can make this work.”
And, if Christmas just can’t be the same – if there’s no way you can recreate old traditions or make it feel like normal – then it’s time to do something completely unexpected. Make entirely new traditions that remind you that Christmas doesn’t always have to look the same to still be festive and fun, full of love and joy and excitement.
This year, I probably won’t have the Christmas tree. And I might not have Bing Crosby. And I definitely won’t have my family. But I’ll have my friends and fried chicken and a Christmas cake we ordered from the convenience store. I’ll have laughter and togetherness and joy.
And that will be enough, at least for this year. And maybe, if the universe is willing, next Christmas I’ll be able to be with my family again.
No matter where you are, or who you’re with, or what this holiday has looked like for you so far, I hope that you can find a little bit of Christmas. And I hope, if you can’t, that you remember you aren’t alone in feeling that way.
And finally, I hope you can rediscover the “perpetual hope” of Christmas this holiday season.
About Draven Jackson
Draven is an avid writer and reader who enjoys sharing her opinions on movies, books, and music with the rest of the world. She will soon be working as a teacher in Japan and hopes to use her experience to connect with other teachers and students around the globe. Draven spends most of her time at home with her family, her dogs, and her ferret.
To see more, view all posts by Draven Jackson here.