When most people think of Christmas, they envision big family dinners and lots of revelry. But what if you what you really want to do is spend the holidays alone doing what you want to do?

is something wrong with you if you want to change things up?

What if you don’t like those big family dinners? Does that mean something is intrinsically wrong with you?

What if you just have the desire to spend the day doing what you want to do?

Does this make you selfish? No, it does not.

Society judges women differently than they judge men. Women are expected to be in charge of planning and cooking and making the day joyous.

If a man chooses to spend his holiday on a cruise ship, no one thinks a thing of it.

table top christmas tree

Take the pressure off yourself:

If you’re being pressured to plan or attend an event, simply say you’re going to do something different this year. That you really want to enjoy a quiet holiday alone, or with your pets.

Be firm. This is your holiday and you should be able to spend it as you choose.

You do not have to be held hostage by what others demand of you. Stand up for yourself and hold firm. Don’t feel guilty.

Someone else can take the reins this year. They will manage.

Maybe what you yearn to do is spend the day watching a whole slew of movies cuddled up with your pets on the sofa.

There’s nothing wrong with that!

kitchen vignette

Most of my readers are older women. We have raised our children. Many of us are widowed or divorced or have remained single.

We need to embrace our autonomy. Stop doing things just because it’s what you’ve been doing for years. Or it’s what others have come to expect of you.

One thing you must learn: You are the master of your own ship. You do not have to follow the dictates of others or follow family traditions forever.

Change is good. It’s time for the grown kids to learn to create their own holiday memories with their family. It will actually do them a world of good.

vintage bottles

Things to do on the holiday:

  • Stay in your jammies all day and listen to old music
  • Go for a long drive in the country and enjoy the scenery
  • Make your own special meal or pick up take-out and don’t cook at all
  • Rearrange your furniture for a quick decorating reset
  • Plan your spring and summer gardens on paper
  • Start a DIY project you’ve been looking forward to doing
  • Buy yourself a nice gift. (This is mandatory!)

christmas kitchen shelf

Holidays should not be either/or. They should be what you most want them to be. Otherwise they aren’t holidays. They are commitments.

Please don’t feel a bit guilty for making yourself number 1. If you aren’t going to do it, then who is going to?

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  1. Brenda, you don’t have to make so many apologies; we know there is nothing wrong with loving solitude and living it.
    Wishing you a happy, relaxed Christmas!

  2. I understand I feel the same way you do Brenda .This year I just can’t do it ,I am too sick with my back and I am going thru this grief process about my brother and other losses .It has been a year of nothing but sadness and loss for my family .My husband and I choose to do the same thing you wrote about .I am sick and tired of being sick and tired and just want it to be over .
    This year we are thinking of what we need not what everyone else wants !!it doesn’t mean we do not love them .But solitude is what we need and peace !!
    We bought no gifts for anyone and told everyone to give to the needy instead of us !
    I sincerely hope you enjoy the holidays with Charlie and Ivy !
    Hugs to you !
    Hopefully 2019 will be a better year for all !!!!!

  3. ???
    Sorry not sorry cuz I disagree totally! You can spend any day of the year alone. Christmas comes only once a year, so it’s great to make memories with your family and friends cuz you never know how long they have on this earth!
    I still remember all the wonderful holidays that I spent seeing all my aunts, uncles and cousins. I also went with my Dad to see my Meme and Pepe, aunts, uncles, and cousins on his side of the family at night. My Mom was too tired to go and my siblings wanted to play with their new toys.

    Now on my Mom’s side it’s only her and on my Dad’s side it’s just him and his sister…the one that hosted the parties every year. It was worth being tired for one day of the year and I wish they were all still living cuz I would do it again in a heartbeat!

    One of my sister’s just lost a son a couple of months ago and her husband had an operation for prostate cancer the day b4 Thanksgiving. He’s been back to the hospital numerous times and feels like crap, but he still wanted to see all the family, so everyone went including my parents cuz that’s what families do. Even though I had alot more baking to do…it could wait.

    My Dad told me when I was younger, that sometimes in life even if you don’t want to do or go somewhere, that you need to, in respect for others.

    Now I’m going back in my kitchen and bake more cookies for my grands. All their favs to make it even a better Christmas than the year b4. More memories in the making!

    I baked everybody’s Christmas present this year cuz it’s made with love! Well the exception of my other older sister cuz the day after Christmas she has surgery too! So I will be baking her some cookies and quick breads, when she can eat and enjoy them. In fact their new recipes…I showed her pictures of them. Something to look forward too.

    I don’t care how tired I am on Christmas Day cuz I have the whole year to relax in my pjs if I want, but for me I would rather relax in my sweat pants and hoodie. I can watch all the movies I want and spend time with my dog any day of the year.

    When we have gatherings, we pitch in and bring food too. That way it’s not hard on just one person.
    Now they want to have even more gatherings, so I’ll be there unless I’m sick with a cold.

    Brenda, just think of all the great memories ur building with ur grandson. Also ur readers with their families. It’s only one day out of the year people! Please make memories happen! You will be glad that you did in the long run!

    Merry Christmas to everyone no matter what you do and how you spend your day! I hope with your loved ones b4 it’s too late and you regret it later!

  4. I say Amen! to that, Brenda! Since our family Christmas will be at my house on the Sat. after Christmas Day, I was quite content to spend that day by myself. With my daughter and her two boys living with me I don’t get half enough time to myself as it is. Then a friend who lives alone and has no family in this area tho’t we’d spend it together and that was fine. We were going to eat a particular store-bought pie we used to enjoy when we lived together. But, then, my grandsons’ dad said he was doing dinner on Christmas and invited me. Since I am really fond of him and don’t see him often since he and my daughter broke up I decided that is what I would do. So the day has morphed into several alternatives. But, if it hadn’t, I would have been fine just by myself. Not sad, not feeling forgotten or left out. Just fine all by myself.

    Those of us who feel fine about spending holidays alone or with out four-legged friends may be considered odd by some folks but that’s okay. We are just being who we are, each of us. So I totally agree that it doesn’t matter what others think about our choice of solitude and it’s not our place to change others’ minds about whether it’s a legitimate choice as long as we are happy with it.

    So, rest assured, friends, that there is not one thing wrong with you if you prefer a solitary Christmas or New Year’s day. Just be happy and do your thing–whatever that might be. Amen!

  5. I love your idea of alone time. I’ll love Christmas Day after we return home from visiting grandkids and seeing what they got for Christmas. Four of the grands live an hour away. Then it’s time for a nap and lots of reading until time for dinner at my younger son’s home. Christmas exhausts me and I realize I’ve brought it on myself but I think next year I’m going to slow down. I’m having more back problems this year than ever before!

  6. My Christmas this year is five single women coming over around noon and we are having corn chowder and sandwiches. Very low key and I’m looking forward to it. I have a five foot tree that I decorated, stockings hanging on the fireplace and icicle lights on my front porch. That’s it and on Wednesday I’m putting that tree in the second bedroom and covering it up from dust and it will be ready for next year. I love Christmas, but it exhausts me. I’m so glad Ivy likes her cat stand and go get that shot; give Charlie his composure pill and let’s hope having Ivy there will give him some comfort while you are away.

    Carol and Molly

  7. I enjoy spending Christmas Eve with my sister and her family, but I see nothing wrong with staying home either if that’s what a person wants to do. I will spend Christmas Day with my pets at home in my jammies watching Netflix! I will prepare some of my favorite snacks and have a good time relaxing.

    I used to rush around and bake a lot but I just don’t feel up to it any more, no apologies!

  8. I can totally relate! I’m alone this year for Christmas, and have been the last 3 years. My husband usually house/pet sits for my sister (who goes to Florida to see her son and grandson), always in December. Friends and family say “oh no, you’ll be alone for Christmas”…… and I think, oh YES I’ll be alone! I love it! I love my own quiet company. I love knowing I can do whatever I want and not have to make a big fancy dinner, decorate the house, etc. I think some people just NEED to be alone sometimes.. others don’t. If someone says, oh you could come to my house or go with me to my friends’ family for Christmas, I just opt out and say I’m very happy to be alone and enjoy the peace and quiet and not having any pressure. This year, I’ve hardly decorated.. am not baking anything….. and may just have a turkey sandwich for my “Christmas dinner”! I also want to go to the movie theater to watch a movie (yes, alone, I don’t mind at all).. and have been binge watching Christmas movies – and snacking of course! Have a very nice Christmas Brenda…. Marilyn

  9. I bring things on by myself – offering dinner, cookie baking, crafts, games and presents galore for adults kids and spouses and grandkids – so they will have warm memories of “Christmas eve at grandma’s house,” but my heart really isn’t into it. This is the only place I dare admit that! I don’t mind the invites to each of their houses on Christmas Day to see kids’ gifts and have brunch and dinner, but what would I enjoy really? Being home with hubby and numerous pets having an ordinary day!

  10. THANK YOU for writing this! The hardest part for me about the holidays is the expectation out there that we have one of those Hallmark holidays portrayed in the movies, commercials, social media, etc., etc. It’s not reality for me, and I suspect there are others out there for whom it is unrealistic too. I actually like being alone doing my own thing. (Another way to put that is that I like my own company). Thanks again.

  11. Love the advice. I will be home with my doggie, Dixie and Sam, the feral cat who has meowed its way into my heart….and the studio in my house. What I’ve gone through to set up an opening to the outside for this feline!!! Plus keeping out other animals like the giant possum which came onto the porch looking for food!!!!

    I have a couple of small projects planned plus some movie watching. Can’t figure out what to eat; this small town closes everything so no takeout. I’ll manage just fine. Merry Christmas!!!

  12. Meeey Christmas to one of my most favorite of people?. This is great advice which I’m finally doing. My daughter and I are treating ourselves to Christmas Eve dinner at a French restaurant and skipping a huge get together we used to attend. Christmas Day will be spent in our jammies and have invited one dear friend over for dessert late Christmas night after her husband and sick father go to bed so she can decompress. Merry Christmas to all. ?❄️☃️

  13. Boy! Did you hit the nail on the head!!!! It’s too late for this year, but next year I’m taking your advice. I have three grown kids close by. One has a spouse and three kids, no problem there. Another son is not married and I feel I have to cook for him to have a Xmas celebration. My daughter is divorced, works long hours , and has two kids. I do it all for them, and would love to watch movies, read, or even go to a movie in a theater. I needed to hear what you said(wrote!)…… and I will pay attention next year.

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