What do you do on a Christmas alone?
December 24, 2008 7:28 PM   Subscribe

I've got nowhere to go for Christmas and nobody to celebrate it with. Every place I could use to distract myself is closed. The soup kitchens already have too many volunteers. Plus I have no car. I'm going to be bored as hell. What to do?

Posted anonymously out of embarrassment. I've done the holiday-alone thing before and wasn't so much depressed as bored out of my skull. My friends are all visiting family. I'd like to get out of the house, but can only rely on public transportation. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to distract myself until the world starts up again? I'm in the Baltimore area.
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (37 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have a project at home you've been wanting to do?

How about going to a movie? Many people do that on holidays.
posted by Jandasmo at 7:44 PM on December 24, 2008

Are you able to get to any nursing homes? You'd be quite literally shocked at how many old people are abandoned by their families at Christmas. I bet you'd probably really make somebody's day just by going and spending time, and listening to them for an hour or so. Ask them to tell you their favourite story, or how they met their spouse. When I used to visit my grandmother, I used to meet the most interesting people there. Really, all they wanted to do was to remember and talk a little bit. It would make their day.

Call around, ask to speak the the director/manager on duty and offer to come volunteer for the afternoon. Old people are way cooler than most people give them credit for.

Merry Christmas!
posted by dancinglamb at 7:47 PM on December 24, 2008 [9 favorites]

The nursing home idea is a great one.

You could also spend the day baking something elaborate- like a layer cake, or cookies that you can decorate, or bread.

If you are feeling more couch potato-ey, you could try to watch a whole new-to-you tv series on hulu. Maybe something you've heard of but never sat down to actually watch before.

I'd recommend taking a really long bath with a book or some magazines, too.
posted by rmless at 7:51 PM on December 24, 2008

If it's not too cold or icy to spend much time outside, you could go look at some of the various interesting historical things on the Baltimore Ghosts website in person. There are a bunch of old footpaths running through Roland Park, though some of them aren't well-marked. Okay, so it's not that exciting, but it's something to do, with no worries about things being open.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:02 PM on December 24, 2008

I've spend plenty of holidays in online chat rooms. Been out of the loop for a while so I can't suggest any specific places to go, maybe try IRC and find a topic you like.
posted by Sonic_Molson at 8:08 PM on December 24, 2008

Nthing nursing home. You'll probably also have a great time.
posted by unSane at 8:21 PM on December 24, 2008

My grandmother was fond of giving bottles of wine to homeless people on Christmas. It may be a terrible idea, but the people she gave the wine to always appreciated it.

(Get screw-top.)
posted by 26.2 at 8:25 PM on December 24, 2008 [10 favorites]

learn that "if you want it then you should have put a ring on it" dance. post on youtube. that's my plan, anyway, inspired by reading this article about three minutes ago.

are you male? even better. ;-)
posted by lblair at 8:43 PM on December 24, 2008 [5 favorites]

I'm on my own, too. I was thinking about catching a flick tomorrow afternoon to fight the cabin fever. I have a car and don't mind driving. MeMail me if you're interested.
posted by weebil at 8:44 PM on December 24, 2008

Watch A Christmas Story over and over again. Read. Clean your apartment. Clean yourself. Organize your books/CDs/movies/clothes and bag up the stuff you don't want anymore. Hang out on Facebook. Sort the umpteen million files you have on your computer and get rid of the old stuff. Go through your MP3 collection. Take a nap. Order some Chinese food, or cook something yourself. Call people. Go to the movies.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:48 PM on December 24, 2008 [2 favorites]

I have no money, and this is my first Christmas alone. I've been trying to find friends in a bottle of scotch. No luck yet. Maybe they're at the bottom.

Not that I recommend this.
posted by quarantine at 8:51 PM on December 24, 2008 [5 favorites]

If you are anything like me, you could start playing this game and not look up until Boxing Day. I agree with the clean house and organize suggestion. Not only does it take up time, but you come out of it with a clean place and a huge sense of accomplishment. Also, try and make big plans for New Year's.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:57 PM on December 24, 2008

forgot linky goodness
posted by Rock Steady at 8:59 PM on December 24, 2008 [2 favorites]

Clean your place top to bottom: wipe down windows and mirrors, launder your sheets, give your fridge and bathtub a good scrub.

Go through your closet and fill a bag with clothes to bring to goodwill.

Organize your book/DVD/cd/mp3 collection. Dust the top of your cabinets and the space behind your tv.

Even if you don't love to clean, it can be really satisfying to have a task to complete and it'll be nice to start the new year in a tidy and clean space.
posted by jschu at 9:02 PM on December 24, 2008

Ah, good question. Being Jewish and having no Jewish friends leaves me with nothing to do these 2 days EVERY YEAR, so I feel your pain (or boredom is the better word).

Write a letter to someone and mail it, just for the heck of it. Go on and on in it, you've got all day. They'll be amused. At least that's what I did - I have a friend who I know will get a kick out of it and won't think I'm (too) crazy. Write a letter to me if you don't know anyone who would appreciate it as a joke.
posted by KateHasQuestions at 9:17 PM on December 24, 2008

Chinese food and a movie?
posted by toaster at 9:24 PM on December 24, 2008 [2 favorites]

Nthing Chinese food and a movie. Plus you'll make new Jewish friends.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:43 PM on December 24, 2008 [3 favorites]

I hate to be repetitive, but... movie!

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, to be more specific.

Christmas Day is lousy with new releases, so you could fit in a few more while you're out and then grab a bite to eat.

Also, the nursing home idea is a good one as well, if you feel like doing a good deed for someone else.
posted by Nonce at 9:45 PM on December 24, 2008

The Internet will be open all day. Remain calm, carry on.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:33 PM on December 24, 2008 [7 favorites]

The easiest way I ever used to deal with this, and it's happened to me a few times, is forget that it's Christmas. Just do stuff like you would any other day with nothing going on, nowhere to go (or means to get there). Play games, play with yourself, clean house, clean yourself. Just ordinary stuff.

This year, my partner and I had to cancel travel plans (to his family) because we caught flu. So this morning, after 2 days of being better, I wake up feeling like crap again. I fear bronchitis or pneumonia may have set in. At our house, fairly easy to ignore the nature of the day, as I don't decorate for the holiday (I just can't see the trouble and expense).

Oh, and assuming you have a good internet connection, surely you can find places to tour on Google Earth? I can usually kill an hour at that most any day. I like finding webcams in interesting places.
posted by Goofyy at 10:37 PM on December 24, 2008

Indeed, a movie. Even a couple! Thank God for the multiplex! Schedule 2 movies, with a break for lunch in between and/or dinner after at one of these places.

If you have not gone to movies alone, you are missing one of the great pleasures of modern life. No worries about whether your friend/date is enjoying the movie or not; it's all about you and the bigass screen.

Disclaimer: I am not in Baltimore so I have no idea about the proximity of theaters and restaurants.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 11:08 PM on December 24, 2008

Here's a list of some puppy/kitten/jaguar cams, as well as a few other time-wasters.
posted by stefanie at 11:18 PM on December 24, 2008 [2 favorites]

You wanna come to Sacramento and play Little Big Planet?
Its super rad.
And I have a whole bunch of Uncrustables of the strawberry jam persuasion.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:38 PM on December 24, 2008

Due to weather and automotive issues, I'm spending my first ever Christmas alone this year. I'm finding it interesting to be more aware of the outside world than I usually am on this day. That is, I'm usually in the Jersey 'burbs with my mothers family, aware of no one else besides those around me. It's sort of nice to be in the city (Chicago for me), seeing other people go about their Christmas business.

Nthing the nursing home idea, though. I might do that myself.
posted by HeroZero at 11:40 PM on December 24, 2008

I'm planning to:

A) Take a bunch of photographs. There are places in my neighborhood where I usually hesitate to shoot because there are always people staring at me. On Christmas day, the streets are reliably deserted, and everyone is indoors. I could set my tripod up in the middle of the street without worries.

B) Drink Leinenkugel Fireside Nut Brown. Despite having the a clear aftertaste and mild, light body, Fireside Nut Brown embodies the chocolate, caramel, roasted nut, maple, and vanilla notes you normally only find in the richer stouts. It's refreshing and drinkable, but has such a deep, complex flavor. It washes over your tongue and the sweetness, instead of being overpowering, is like tinkling piano notes played one at a time over a great distance. If you like Tommyknocker's Nut Brown Ale or Great Lakes Christmas Ale, you'll like Fireside. It's Christmas in a pint glass.

C) Attempt to draw every character of the English alphabet as a cartoon character. If I can actually tear through 26 pages of my mostly empty Moleskine, I'll call that a holiday well spent.

D) Listen to this and this.

E) Remember that just because I'm spending Christmas alone doesn't mean no one loves me. It's simple geographics and obligations. The people who are "luckier" than me probably aren't having the perfect golden Kodak moments and roast turkey and Norman Rockwell douchebaggery I'm imagining, so there is no call for feeling sorry for myself.
posted by Juliet Banana at 12:07 AM on December 25, 2008 [3 favorites]

You could try killing time on Reddit.
posted by buzzbash at 12:09 AM on December 25, 2008

Wow, a lot of Mefites alone on xmas this year, me included. My wife is with her family but I had to stay behind and work and now a huge once a decade storm has hit (Vancouver) and the car is under three feet of snow so I'm totally in the same boat, going crazy already!

- Old folks home visit - too social for shy ole me
- Movie - I have a thing... I cannot see movies alone, depresses me to the point of danger, lol
- Bottles of wine to the homeless - WHAT?

I could easily drum up an invite to some friend's family gathering but would feel like a crasher for sure... anyone have any more ideas?
posted by Cosine at 12:28 AM on December 25, 2008

I'd like to apologize for the scotch comment. Sounded funnier to me some hours ago. Now it just sounds self-pitying and pitiful.

Do you have something that takes extraordinary amounts of time and attention to do? Sort your library by Library of Congress call number? Alphabetize something? I will probably go through a huge cache of very similar postage stamps, identifying varieties. It's good to get your mind off things, especially if you have good (non-Christmas) music on in the background.
posted by quarantine at 12:30 AM on December 25, 2008

Same situation here (except in Japan, where it's totally kosher to do loud construction work in a dorm on Christmas Day). I spent most of the day cleaning my room and packing for a trip. Tonight's course is whisky, chocolate, and a few movies. YMMV
posted by mezamashii at 3:00 AM on December 25, 2008

Wow, those are some great suggestions and now I kinda wanna do that too! (I don't celebrate Christmas so I'm usually home alone)

My own "Xmas tradition" has severally been mentioned as well:
- spring-clean the house!! It makes me feel like I've put these otherwise useless (to me) two days to good use. If you do it really thoroughly it's a good work-out as well, which should keep depressive thoughts at bay.

PS That Zilch game crashed my Firefox. It's ok tho since I won't be playing, I will be cleaning!
posted by ClarissaWAM at 3:15 AM on December 25, 2008

Not to sound completely grinchy, but I wish I were in your shoes. Spending Christmas alone sounds pretty good to me. What I would do:

- clean the house to to bottom, with the music on loud
- start in on the pile of books I have stacked up that are waiting to be read
- start to make my way through all my bookmarks on the internet of things I've been waiting to read
- take a nice long walk in the cold through the empty streets
- stop off at a Chinese restaurant on the walk and have a nice meal. Chinese restaurants are such cheery and bright places to be on Christmas and I think they exemplify the "spirit" of the holidays (whatever that is) better than the gift giving frenzy and other traditional things we're force fed every year.

Have fun!

(not a fan of Christmas)
posted by triggerfinger at 4:39 AM on December 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

I could easily drum up an invite to some friend's family gathering but would feel like a crasher for sure... anyone have any more ideas?

A note on this: the trick is to remember that many families (esp. the ones without tons of children under the age of 12 running around) can start to feel a bit claustrophobic or bored with the holiday routine and welcome the novelty of a different grownup (who didn't marry their way in!) to hang out with, especially if you're fun.
posted by availablelight at 5:13 AM on December 25, 2008

Traditional Jewish Christmas: movie and Chinese food.
posted by decathecting at 7:44 AM on December 25, 2008

Too bad you're not in San Diego... I could put you to work shelving books for me! I think the suggestions up-thread are mostly all good, but mostly I just wanted to chime in as another Christmas-loner so you didn't feel so ashamed. To top it off, I'm at work. Woo?
posted by booknerd at 8:43 AM on December 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

Plan your meals for the next month, or plan a new weekly meal "cycle" to save yourself money and time (and/or introduce more variety into your diet, more vegetables or greens, or more social lunches/dinners).

Make a list of things that you need/want to do as soon as all the stores open again.

Make a budget.

Plan what you're going to do at work when you get back.

Plan a trip you want to take - and how you're going to pay for it or save money for it.

Go through your house or room finding things you no longer want or need to give away.

Build your vocabulary with FreeRice.com.
posted by amtho at 8:47 AM on December 25, 2008

Many good suggestions here.

I've spent many a Christmas by myself as I work in health care and was rarely able to get off work long enough (or at all) to visit family (now deceased) three states away.

When I do actually have Christmas day off, like today, I spend it just like any other day off - cooking (today, a huge pot of Brunswick Stew), cleaning, listening to music, internet browsing, walking/exercising outside (weather's good here) - pretty much enjoying just not having to work. And, this year I'm critter sitting for my neighbors' menagerie and am thoroughly entertained by Liz, the iguana. So maybe you could offer to walk a neighbor's dog for some variety.

Now, I'll check out some of the websites mentioned here as well. I bet your day goes better than expected. Have a good one - you're in sympathetic company.
posted by ourroute at 9:23 AM on December 25, 2008

I have always longed to read a book and take a long nap on Christmas.
posted by kellygreen at 4:38 PM on December 26, 2008

« Older Who thought Sam up?   |   Abusive and Ill? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.