Xmas Alone
December 13, 2018 6:23 PM   Subscribe

For Reasons, I will be spending this Xmas alone. Help me come up with things to do!

It looks like I'm doing Xmas alone this year, which is making me a bit sad. But! I am determined to find ways to keep myself occupied and hopefully keep the loneliness at bay.

My original plan was to spend the morning watching happy holiday movies or holiday-themed episodes of my favorite TV shows (while hanging out with my cat) and then going to the diner for food at the normal Xmas "dinner" eating time with my Kindle and enjoying a leisurely meal. I'm unsure as to whether the local multiplex will be open or not, but if it is, I may duck in there for a movie. What other things could I do to take my mind off of the alone-ness on this day?

I am also within driving/train distance of NYC, and maybe there's fun stuff that one can do there alone on Xmas day that I'm not thinking of? Maybe a cool place to eat that I might have a snowball's chance of getting a reservation for 1 if I call now? Maybe an interesting sight to see or event to partake in or something? If I sound completely inept it's because I've lived in the NYC metro area for 15 years and it's hard for me to conceive of anything novel to do there that I am not already aware of, but if any Mefites who live in NYC proper have any suggestions I'm quite happy to hear it.

posted by thereemix to Grab Bag (24 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Volunteer! One year I couldn't make it home for Christmas so I went and served lunch at a soup kitchen. It was great and I didn't think for one moment about being alone.
posted by bunderful at 6:34 PM on December 13, 2018 [5 favorites]

Movie and Chinese food is a time-honored Christmas tradition.

I really like the tradition of New Years hikes, maybe transpose to Christmas? Bear Mountain is nearish NYC -- I don't know if MetroNorth will be running, but sounds like you have a car? It's alone-ish, but there's nothing so sublime as climbing to the top of a mountain/hill/random colline and looking across at the world before you.
posted by basalganglia at 6:35 PM on December 13, 2018 [12 favorites]

Watch Die Hard!!!
posted by supermedusa at 6:39 PM on December 13, 2018 [3 favorites]

There's A LOT you can do in NYC on Christmas Day! But! You might as well lean into the alone-ness (which doesn't have to be loneliness) and truly take advantage of a Christmas where you don't have to worry about what other people want. Take a bath! Eat weird foods at weird times! Roll on the floor! Buy yourself a present!
posted by redwaterman at 6:49 PM on December 13, 2018 [19 favorites]

Jewish Christmas traditions mean that Grand Sichuan in Chelsea is always bustling and festive-feeling on Christmas day. (Grain of salt, I left five years ago, but I can't imagine this would have changed much.) Movie theaters are also often buzzing, to the extent that you might want to get a ticket in advance if you're going to go!

At this point I basically have to link this.

I hope it's nice. It actually sounds nice to me, especially the cat part.
posted by Smearcase at 6:51 PM on December 13, 2018 [5 favorites]

Hiking (Harriman State Park May be a good option for you), followed up with a thermos of hot coco. Making a gingerbread house once you’re home and watching movies (or go to the movies). Chinese food for sure.
posted by raccoon409 at 7:09 PM on December 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

We’ve had a tradition of going to the movies on Christmas for years. There’s usually a few big things opening plus whatever is already showing. The theaters will be packed which can be a nice way to change up a solo day.
posted by notheotherone at 7:35 PM on December 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Roast a small chicken: easy and delicious, you can finish it by yourself in a few days.
posted by SaltySalticid at 7:46 PM on December 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

I wish I could double-favorite redwaterman's comment. This is YOUR day! You can spend it however you like!

Me, I'd take a walk in the morning (I love Christmas morning walks as the day is starting!).

Then I'd head home and be super productive! I'd fire up some sort of movie marathon and clean the house from top to bottom (or at least a single room) -- empty out a closet and toss everything that doesn't fit or is stained or can't be repaired or that you don't love, sweep and mop the floors, organize a dresser, wash all your sheets so you can sink into them early Christmas night and go ahhhhh to how fresh they feel.
posted by mochapickle at 8:25 PM on December 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

I relish the holidays on which I have no social obligations. I always offer to substitute for volunteers in my cohort who have family in town or celebrations to attend, but that's within the structure of an ongoing volunteer commitment. I can't imagine that a one-day, rushed and harried volunteer experience would be helpful. YMMV

I used to used the holiday to clean my home thoroughly and cook something luscious (like truffled Mac & cheese or bananas foster mousse), knowing that I'm not on a tight schedule. The great thing about these winter holidays is that it's like time stops -- no one is doing anything productive, so no matter what you do, you won't fall behind and your time won't be wasted.
posted by janey47 at 3:55 AM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

For decades I read "A Christmas Carol" by Dickens (Wikipedia). Haven't done so in a few years but it is A Good Thing To Do, leastwise for me it is. I'm not a guy who knows all of the movie versions -- likely there's over forty-two million by now -- but one that stays with me, and makes me wince, and makes me smile, is George C. Scott playing Scrooge. (Wikipedia)

Scott is great in this role, really nails it. And -- drum roll -- the whole movie is streaming free on youtube.

If you're a morning person, get outside, enjoy the quiet. Christmas morning always has the least amount of traffic. If you're a bicycle rider you'll enjoy having the streets to yourself, not needing to worry about some mope who thinks his text is more important than your life.

Call someone who is hurting behind the holidays. Extend yourself to them. Open your heart to a person who is hurting, you'll both walk away feeling better. Human interaction. Care. Love. Love doesn't (always) mean roses and walks in the sunset or sunrise or whatever; love can also mean being a good friend
posted by dancestoblue at 4:33 AM on December 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

Jewish xmas tradition is Chinese food and a movie, because those things are open. The time I had super low key xmas in NYC, my friend and I went to get Indian food, which was also open.

Morning time with kitty sounds amazing (my cat is beside me as I write this). I'd probably use the time to work on art projects or read, watch tv, or cook a fun food. What are some things you've wanted time to do for a while? Do those things.
posted by bile and syntax at 6:06 AM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is me, too! First of all, make sure you don't have any underlying feelings of shame or embarrassment because you are going to be alone. I'm sure your Reasons are very good, and lots of people don't celebrate this holiday (or don't celebrate with family) for 1,001 reasons. You are not alone, and there's nothing wrong with you.

Okay, so here's my list of what I'm going to do. And in fact, I have vacation time I need to use, but nowhere I particularly want to go, so I have a whole solo Christmas holiday staycation.

-Buy a new pair of pajamas and cozy socks, and a book I've been wanting to read. Spend at least one day in bed, in my new PJs, reading my book.
-Winter solstice ritual: Bake a cake and decorate it like the sun. Then turn off all the lights in my house, and sit in the darkness to meditate on the year behind and the year ahead. From here on out, every day is longer! Light candles, set my intentions, and then turn on ALL the lights in the house and eat some sun-inspired foods. (The cake, oranges, sun-dried tomatoes, Sol beer or Tequila Sunrise, etc.) Writing this out, I realized I need to make a sun-themed playlist: "Here Comes the Sun" and so on.
-Order chinese food, and binge watch movies, Christmas-themed or otherwise. Head to the movie theater if I'm bored and want social contact.
-More baking, to fill the house with good smells.
-Take my two dogs on long walks and relish the extra time I get to spend with them.
-Lots of little cleaning and organizing projects that I've been noting the past couple months. This is fun for me, and I especially love throwing out things I no longer use/need, but if it's a chore for you, skip it!
-Wine and painting. I'm picking up a canvas, paints, etc to have on hand, so that when the mood strikes, I can pull out my supplies and a bottle of wine and have a grand time working on something creative.
posted by ohsnapdragon at 7:23 AM on December 14, 2018 [3 favorites]

I try to pick out a really good book for any days off around that time, and/or the last of the year. Jeanette Winterson's Christmas Days is wonderful, and it has the advantage of being a bunch of varied pieces, not a novel that you may not end up getting into.
posted by BibiRose at 7:40 AM on December 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

I've done a couple of alone Christmases. Once I decided to really splurge and book myself a week trip to Paris, with Christmas Day as my departure date (I figured the airfare would be cheaper). I had just enough time at home to unwrap a couple presents and make an indulgent breakfast before heading for the airport, and the trip to Paris was an absolute damn blast.

The second year I was just all indulgent at home - bubble baths, eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, watching trash TV, giving into each and every whim. I think I took a walk at one point, but otherwise I was a lazy schmoo and loved it.

Please yourself and your deep-down desires. Yes, it's a bit melancholy because everyone is pushing the Family Together Time angle, but maybe you can satisfy that with scheduling a phone call or a skype with people you really care about; and then go back to "oh hey, you know, I've always wanted to see what plum pudding tastes like and the rest of the family never was into that - maybe I'll get a little one and save that for myself" or whatever.

And yes, there will be a lot of things going on on Christmas Day here in NYC. Time Out New York has a list of their own suggestions for "what's open" and I'm seeing movie theaters, Broadway, restaurants, ice skating...you could also just come into the city and walk around, there are some lovely hikes I could suggest to you in MeMail if that's how you roll.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:13 AM on December 14, 2018

I always spend Christmas alone and I love it.

Take a really long bath, do something nice for someone, make some soup, and otherwise just treat it like another day!
posted by aspersioncast at 9:06 AM on December 14, 2018

I did that once a long time ago. Christmas Eve, actually. I went to a local dive bar that was open on Christmas Eve and had a great time with others who were flying solo.
posted by zzazazz at 9:21 AM on December 14, 2018

I live alone and have really no family or friends in the area who I can bug/bother during this time. My traditions for Thanksgiving and Christmas have solidified for the past 4 years into this;

Volunteer (I volunteer at the Shedd every holiday)
Chinatown for Food

But the problem is the Chinatown has been a Zoo for the last couple of years as every Jewish Family from the Chicago Area seems to have had the same idea. :-) So this year, I am taking the advice from MeFi and doing Indian food.

But seriously, the volunteering is the best part. See if you can help somewhere needed.
posted by indianbadger1 at 11:44 AM on December 14, 2018

Zabar's is open in NYC!
posted by 8603 at 2:05 PM on December 14, 2018

RiffTrax has a number of hilarious Christmas riffs, if you'd like to go off the beaten cinematic path.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 2:06 PM on December 14, 2018

In my experience, Christmas Day is an excellent day for a solo hike.
posted by RedEmma at 2:32 PM on December 14, 2018

I’m doing what I did for Thanksgiving - going to a hotel bar (amost guaranteed to be open), ordering a fancy meal that’s something I love, eat it really slowly, read and post on my phone while I’m eating, have a glass of champagne and whatever else I want a drink of, and flirt/chat with the bartenders.

But with a few variations this is something I love to do - in fact I’m doing it right now.
posted by bendy at 6:58 PM on December 14, 2018

This might be too late at night and/or too religious for your taste, but the late Christmas Eve service at St. John the Divine is lovely if you like traditional/church Christmas music. It's open and welcoming to non-practicing and/or non-Christian audiences; there are plenty of people who come for the music and company and spectacle and don't take communion or participate in the prayers. There's also a late-morning service on Christmas Day that features the cathedral choir, although not the fancy soloists.
posted by karayel at 7:50 PM on December 14, 2018

Are you in the NJ part of the metro NYC area? At 1pm in Washington Crossing, Washington will cross the Delaware! Full reenactment with boats, speeches, all sorts of other ceremonies and commemorations.
posted by apparently at 4:29 PM on December 17, 2018

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