You could be alone during the holidays for many reasons: maybe your family isn't near, maybe you're new to town, or maybe you actually relish the rare, few hours you get alone each week and want to keep that time to yourself. If you're flying solo this holiday, we'd like to bring to your attention an assortment of ways (traditional and not) to indulge in this time of year on your own — no supporting cast needed. After all, one of the best gifts in life is learning how to enjoy, rather than run away from, a moment by yourself.
Local retail therapy
If you are looking for holiday spirit inspiration, there's no better place to look than — you guessed it — Corporate America (just go ahead and admit that the arrival of Starbucks' holiday cups and special menu make you giddy). However, at least Austin attempts to keep consumerism local with the 2nd Street District's inaugural Holiday Window Walk. Take a stroll and window shop while checking out the storefront displays St. Edward's design students have created.
Do DIY decor
Look no further than ye ol' Internet for holiday DIY projects galore. This cheery string of candy lights will instantly transform your home's exterior or interior with four easily found materials: a string of lights, pipe cleaners, corsage boxes and cellophane. Still too ambitious? Stick to the time-tested and kid-approved popcorn and cranberry garland.
Mull over mulled wine
Try your hand at making a homemade, warming drink on a chilly evening. The cold months will (hopefully) last beyond the holiday season, so you'll have ample opportunity to serve this recipe to guests after perfecting it against your own palate. Take a look at this classic recipe from Food & Wine Magazine.
Recreate childhood sweets
You never forget a childhood treat. Now that you're all grown up, see if you can make the once-a-year goodie (be it peppermint bark, chess squares or toffee) as well as your grandmother did and then take the extras to your office.
Bad movie marathon
Prepare appropriate provisions: fire and/or space heater, hot chocolate, cell phone (with pizza delivery cued-up), pajamas, water, Kleenex and loads of blankets. Allow yourself to guiltlessly hunker down for one day (pick a rainy one) and watch all of the guilty pleasure movies you've been dying to see but too embarrassed to admit.
Make a list, check it twice
Take the time before the new year to think about what you wanted to accomplish during the past 12 months. Rather than being disappointed in yourself, use this opportunity to review the awesome things you have accomplished and reset the remaining goals that you just didn't have time to conquer. But this time, make those resolutions enjoyable, like learning to skateboard, growing (and maintaining) a garden, or finally booking that trip you've been dreaming of.
With the post office on its last leg, deliver sentiment and nostalgia straight to someone's doorstep. To receive an unexpected postcard from a friend is a divine reminder of the relationships you treasure. There's perhaps no greater pick-me-up than seeing a hand-written 'hello' sandwiched between electric bills and useless coupons.
Sip and savor
Put your big boy pants on and acquire a taste for bourbon whiskey. No, don't mix it; drink your whiskey neat. The point is not to get pickled — try appreciating this one glass at a time, one night at a time. Learn about the aromas, savor it and sip accordingly. The Bourbon Enthusiast breaks the science down for you.
Volunteer, for once
Philanthropy is the most rewarding, simple way to help others and count your blessings, all at once. Put aside a few hours a week during the holiday season to help a variety of local organizations serve the greater good of our community. Hang with kids, care for animals, deliver meals—there's no shortage of ways to lend a helping hand, but there sure is a shortage of hands to go around.
See? Being alone doesn't have to equate to being lonely. Share how you navigate the holidays on your own below.