As a child there was nothing that brought me more joy than waking up on Eid with the fragrance of my mother cooking festive food. Mouth-watering Samosa’s, Pokora’s and various other traditional Eid snacks. I would wake up, bathe and excitedly put on my Eid clothes, carefully selected weeks before. Not much changed during my teen years and transitioning into a young adult. The only change being the added bonus of also seeing my friends during this special day.
After I got married Eid’s then became less about seeing friends and more about fitting in my family and my in-laws, whilst also making time for my spouse and I.
Earlier this year I celebrated Eid in a completely different way. I celebrated it at home with just my husband. This for me was like none other before. Knowing I wouldn’t be able to see my siblings and mum felt really disheartening. The excitement I always felt prior to Eid was absent and I felt sad. I felt lonely and I felt that maybe the day just wasn’t worth celebrating.
As Christmas is fast approaching I understand that many, regardless of the lockdown rules relaxing, will still be spending the day alone. To some It just doesn’t seem worth putting our elderly grandparents, parents and vulnerable family members at risk to celebrate one day. This is understandable and commendable. Although I have no complaints regarding those of us who will be mixing more freely on the day either.
For those of you who will be spending Christmas alone here are few things that helped me to get into the spirit of Eid back in June when I spent Eid without my whole family. I hope they will help you to get into the festive spirit too!
1) Make a plan for the day.
A couple of days before Eid I organised how I would spend Eid and this really helped me to give myself some goals for the day!
2) Christmas Movies.
Is it really Christmas if you’re not watching Home Alone and Love Actually?! Whatever your Christmas favourites are, grab a mince pie, hot chocolate and binge watch the Netflix Christmas selection. There is nothing like a feel good Christmas movies to get you into the festive spirit.
3) Set the scene.
You heard it. Some people argue that Christmas is just for kids. No, it is not. Christmas is for everyone. Decorating your home will get you into the Christmas spirit and really help to uplift your mood. This includes setting the table for your Christmas dinner with your best cutlery and China included!
4) Buy a new outfit!
If you can afford to, buy a new outfit. A sparkly party dress, a new Christmas jumper or even reindeer pyjamas! However, this year I know that perhaps money is tighter than it has ever been before, so why not wash and press you favourite Christmas outfit with all the accessories included?! It doesn’t have to be a new outfit, just your best outfit and one that makes you feel good. Research shows that dressing for a specific occasion e.g. work, party, exercise and etc. enables people to be in a more positive mind-set for that occasion.
5) Make a full Christmas spread.
I know it seems like a lot of time and energy to make a formal Christmas dinner when you are eating for one but you deserve to celebrate the day regardless of who is or isn’t sat around that table with you. What helped me on Eid was to get the recipies off my mother and sisters and cook all the food that I grew up eating on that special day.
6) Embrace technology.
We are so fortunate that during this lockdown we are in the age of very sophisticated technology. Why not schedule in a Zoom call with family and friends? You could also schedule to eat your Christmas dinner and open presents at the same time. They may not be there in person but they will definitely be there in virtual spirit!
7) Light a candle.
Sadly, many of us may have lost loved ones throughout this disastrous year. It may be your first Christmas without them. Why not light a candle in their honour and spend a few minutes in remembrance?
8) Be kind to yourself
It’s easier said than done but this is the most important thing, always. Christmas is about giving and sharing. What are you giving yourself? You deserve to give yourself the love and care that you give to others. Speak with kinder words, be less judgemental and if you don’t have the energy or motivation to celebrate Christmas, don’t feel the need to pressure yourself into it. Do what feels right for you.
I hope you are able to take away some of the tips from above or find what works for you. Some will spend this Christmas with their families, some with their flatmates and some alone. There is no right or wrong way to spend the day. Remember being ‘Alone’ during Christmas doesn’t need to mean ‘Lonely’ too.