Being alone is nice but it’s also kindof sad when you’re alone during the holidays. I’ve found myself being alone for the holidays quite frequently in my twenties. In college, I would spend Thanksgiving with a different family every year. The anthropological part of me loved it – experiencing other people’s traditions and dishes. And last year, I was alone for Thanksgiving and Christmas. As most people do, when you don’t have family nearby, you turn to friends. So, I want to share with you the amazing experiences I had by simply asking – what are you doing for the holidays?
Turns out – there’s a lot of us out there that are alone for the holidays. So, I’m going to take you through the things that I’ve done for holidays – this is as much true for Thanksgiving, as it is for Christmas, as it is for Easter.
Go Out to Dinner with a Good Friend:
We all don’t have 500 close friends. Some of us just have 1 or 2 really good friends. When you’re older and especially when you’re single, a good friend can be like family. One of the best ways to celebrate holidays is to go out for a nice dinner. Not just a dinner where you take lots of photos – but a dinner that you can make a connection – share a bottle of wine and actually talk and get to know each other better.I had a lovely dinner with my best friend trying the 32-ounce Dry Aged Tomahawk Ribeye at Fogo de Chao. Fogo has a full Churrasco experience where you feel like a princess with all the attention. But now you can make dinner more intimate by ordering flavorful ribeye for the table, pair it with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon (and of course a cappuccino and his and hers desserts). Food is amazing not just because of the flavor and love that goes into making it, but because a dinner can help you connect further.
Create a Food Crawl (Chinatown is Great for This):
Last year I was at a coffee shop and started talking with a few people and they didn’t have Christmas plans. So, I organized a Chinese Food Crawl on Christmas Day. The two people from the coffee shop came and they brought a friend and then two of my friends came.
We started at 10 am for a brunch and bonded over pop culture and then went for some Bubble Tea and went to the little shops in Chinatown. We went back to someone’s place and made coffee and had dessert. Then, some of us went to the burbs and saw the most over the top displays of Christmas lights. The whole experience was magical.
When you feel lonely, you can hit a low. And to get out of that low, I suggest giving back. It makes you realize how much you have. There’s so many organizations in cities that need your help like this outreach and care package drive.
I was inspired by my friend, Sany from Sany Delight who organized her own charity event. She put together drop off boxes for people to donate winter clothes to victims of domestic and sexual violence and their children. There are boxes at Bottom Line Yoga in the Board of Trade, Son of a Butcher by Whisk and The Cryo Bar until December 9th. She’s on her way to raising $1k through the raffle she organized on December 2nd, as well as warm clothes.
Last year, I made sugar cookies and wrote a note that said “You are Loved.” I walked down Michigan Ave and handed them out to homeless people and anyone who could use a pick me up on Christmas Eve. I ended the evening thinking about everything I was grateful for while walking in Millennium Park.
There’s so many creative ways you can use your time to give back and make a difference.
Go on a Road Trip:
When you’re sitting alone watching Netflix, you can get in your feelings. Sometimes what you need is momentum and adventure. I’ve been invited on a Thanksgiving road trip to Denver and it was one of the best experiences. I’ve also taken a solo trip to Seattle and wandered around exploring a new city. Both are great options.
Create Your Own Party:
Parties are a great way to bring people together for the holidays. If there aren’t a lot of people you know, you can tell guests they can bring a friend or plus one. That way, you can expand your network as well. In the city, I understand that some apartments are small, so it’s not easy to host. You can also have a party at a bar. Having it at a bar is less pressure – you can order a few appetizers and grab a table, while everyone orders drinks from the bars. Pass the jalepeno poppers, please.
Do Something Fun:
There are a lot of fun holiday events to go to with family and friends, but there’s also a lot of events and bar crawls and activities to do with your Bumble boo. One of the most interesting performances I went to this holiday season was the Blue Man Group. Its hard to describe because it’s a performance like none other. I’ve gone alone and I’ve gone with friends and both times I had a good time. They have a way of engaging with the audience and making sure you have a good time. Wait till the end – it’s the best part.
I hope this helps you when you’re feeling alone for the holidays or can’t make it home to see your family. If there’s something you would like to add, let me know. Cheers to better cocktails and connections.
Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.