Alone for the Holidays

You can be happy being alone over the holidays, even your own birthday. Avoid being alone if you want. Or enjoy being alone if you want a break from being social.

So many of the big family holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas and of course New Year’s Eve) arrive at the end of the year. If you are single, not dating anyone or a single parent with kids to celebrate for and with, it can be a bit lonely – if you let it.

I am single, divorced and don’t have any children. I do look after my sister’s children but it’s not the same. I kind of look forward to being alone. Maybe it’s because I’m not alone very often. I share a house with my Mother for half a year. The other half of the year I have a brother and two sisters who keep in touch. It’s all good. But, I crave alone time sometimes. So, I may not be the prime example of being alone for the holidays – because I’m happy to be alone and do whatever I want to do.

Avoid Being Alone

Accept invitations from family, friends and co-workers.

Find other holiday orphans and get together somewhere. Have a great evening out.

Attend events like the office Christmas party.

Invite people over to visit you too.

Go to church. Even if you don’t attend usually, churches will have people and host their own events during holidays.

Go somewhere you know there will be people, like a shopping mall, a coffee shop, a restaurant, and strike up a conversation. Even a short chat can make you feel connected to the world again.

Host a party or get a group together for a day out.

Make the Best of Being Alone

Create a new holiday tradition of your own. Have Chinese food delivered on Christmas Eve. Enjoy a taco salad on Valentine’s Day. Find your own personal way to celebrate.

Plan an event for each day of the holidays, or those coming up to it. Give yourself something to look forward to every day. You can always visit the museum, art gallery and buy tickets for the theatre.

It may feel pretty self-indulgent but, buy yourself a gift or a card for the holidays. Have a Valentine card you sent yourself. Get yourself something you know you really want for Christmas. Send yourself flowers on your birthday.

Write a holiday journal about your adventures.

Be an artist, even if you can’t draw, take along some paper and pencils/ pens and draw some holiday scenes.

Enjoy some alone time to think.

Whatever the holidays and season you can still decorate the house for the holidays: St. Patrick’s Day, Valentines Day, Halloween, Christmas… all the holidays can be an excuse to indulge in a little excess cheer around the home.

Rediscover a creative talent. Become a baker, or a film maker, or take up crochet discover a new creative outlet.

Eat out somewhere new you have wanted to try.

Eat in – cook yourself a wonderful dinner with new recipes and unusual ingredients or go for all comfort foods, the foods you love, cooked the way you like them.

Buy something from a fancy bakery but get just one slice, one piece, one square you can enjoy all by yourself.

Put together a holiday emergency kit for yourself. Stash it with the things you really want like a few chocolates, coffee beans, pick a great wine, a fresh book, candles, bubble bath, gift cards and coupons for a restaurant.

Have some special plan of your own. When others talk about their holidays you will have something to talk about too.

Redecorate your bedroom, your kitchen, find something new and great for the house and make it fresh, shiny and new.

Pamper yourself with all the little luxuries, like a real soak in the tub. Have a spa day at home.

Use the time to catch up on reading, rent movies you wanted to see and anything else you have let slide while you were too busy with other people or a full schedule.

Work on little home repair projects you just haven’t gotten around to yet.

Indulge yourself. Go to the unfashionable, geekiest, nerdiest movies, events, and places you’d love to go but would never ask anyone to attend with you.

Be of service to others. Be a volunteer for a day. Phone or write to relatives and acquaintances you seldom think about. .

Take a road trip, a bus trip, a train trip. Plan a day trip and be home before midnight or plan an overnight away. Look for great tour packages and travel even farther.

Book a room in a downtown hotel and spend your time indulging in downtown holiday events, tourist places and all the holiday decorations.

If you’re single, try a few dating sites, look into a dating service, something where you might find someone new to meet over coffee.

Revel in Being Alone Don’t be SAD

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) creeps up on people during the winter holidays. I think we can feel the same SAD feelings around our own birthdays too, but that doesn’t seem to have a name yet.

If you are feeling alone and neglected let your family and friends know so they can make sure to include you in their events and get togethers.

Avoid being SAD. Use the time alone rather than letting it drag you down into feeling alone around the holidays.

If you need other people around – get them. Make plans with others but understand that plans around the holidays change a lot and last minute things pop up. Have back up plans if you are planning to meet a friend, that way you still have something to do if the friend can’t be there.

Find yourself a patch of sunshine somewhere and sit in it awhile. A great place to try this is a coffee shop window where you have some sun and people watch while you read a book and enjoy a great coffee too.

Not Everyone Alone for the Holidays Needs Cheering Up

People who don’t want to be alone for the holidays are more likely to be upset or feeling down about the holidays.

Some of us, like myself, LOVE having some alone time. For me being alone during the holidays is great. I spend time with family and I make arrangements to meet up with friends and co-workers. I attend the office/ work parties. But, I really enjoy the days I am alone and I can do just what I want to do.

I feel empowered when I am alone. I soak up the holidays: the good cheer, the lights and decorations and the excuse to be self indulgent. Being alone for the holidays is like having an extra birthday – the day that is especially all about you! Make being alone for the holidays all about you.

A Few Links

Join The Holiday Project – Local chapters visit people confined to nursing homes, hospitals and other institutions and enriching the experience of a holiday for everyone.

Prompt for December 4 | Project Reverb

20/20: Hindsight is the one thing we never benefit from in the present.  Is there one moment you wish you could do over?

via Prompt for December 4 | Project Reverb.

No. I don’t want do overs of anything unless it’s a single great moment. Even then, things are always better in the moment than the second time around. You can’t have the same reaction twice, especially when you already know how things are going to end.

Do you read the end of a book while you are still reading it? Life is like that. At times we would like to know how it ends, do we accomplish everything, or anything? How do family and friends do with their own lives? So many questions to ask and yet having the answers leaves us without all those questions.

I think we need those surprises, questions and all those moments of suspense and even fear. If we had a book of our lives to read from how dull that would be. To already know how your every moment will be…. Wouldn’t that be sad to just be waiting around for things to happen instead of wondering what will happen next?

Why are Coins Left on Gravestones?

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COINS LEFT ON TOMBSTONES

While visiting some cemeteries you may notice that headstones marking certain graves have coins on them, left by previous visitors to the grave.

These coins have distinct meanings when left on the headstones of those who gave their life while serving in America’s military, and these meanings vary depending on the denomination of coin.

A coin left on a headstone or at the grave site is meant as a message to the deceased soldier’s family that someone else has visited the grave to pay respect. Leaving a penny at the grave means simply that you visited.

A nickel indicates that you and the deceased trained at boot camp together, while a dime means you served with him in some capacity. By leaving a quarter at the grave, you are telling the family that you were with the solider when he was killed.

According to tradition, the money left at graves in national cemeteries and state veterans cemeteries is eventually collected, and the funds are put toward maintaining the cemetery or paying burial costs for indigent veterans.

In the US, this practice became common during the Vietnam war, due to the political divide in the country over the war; leaving a coin was seen as a more practical way to communicate that you had visited the grave than contacting the soldier’s family, which could devolve into an uncomfortable argument over politics relating to the war.

Some Vietnam veterans would leave coins as a “down payment” to buy their fallen comrades a beer or play a hand of cards when they would finally be reunited.

The tradition of leaving coins on the headstones of military men and women can be traced to as far back as the Roman Empire.

This was on Facebook today.

How Did the Human Race Appear?

A little girl asked her mother, “How did the human race appear?”

The mother answered, “God made Adam and Eve and they had children, and so was all mankind made..”

Two days later the girl asked her father the same question. The father answered, “Many years ago there were monkeys from which the human race evolved.”

The confused girl returned to her mother and said, “Mom, how is it possible that you told me the human race was created by God, and Dad said they developed from monkeys?”

The mother answered, “Well, dear, it is very simple. I told you about my side of the family and your father told you about his.”

Found on Facebook: The Husband Chronicles.

I’m a Woman with a Moustache and I Don’t Mind

disguiseAt the great old age of 48 now, I still have the same whiskers on my upper lip which I have lived with since I was about 13 or 14. I have never tried to hurt, maim or kill my moustache. I have left it alone, in a live and let live kind of way.

It helps that my whiskers are sparse. I do have dark hair and the hair on my lip matches the colour of the hair on my head (or most of it now that I’ve got grey mixed in with my dark brown mane).

I live with my facial hair and I don’t mind it. I even have a bit of fondness for the facial hair – It makes me feel connected to other women in my family who have far more facial hair than I ever hope (or want) to have.

I remember the very first day I actually noticed the whiskers myself.

I was in our downstairs bathroom and I had leaned in for a closer look at my face because I had a zit (also known as a pimple). I still like to get rid of those. I squish them then put stuff on them to finish the killing process and decontaminate so they can’t so easily return.

Seeing darker hairs on my upper lip was a surprise. I’m sure they weren’t there before then. I hated them on sight. They were traitors to the young, perfection of my face. That face being one of the few things I actually did like about myself – and still do. Having whiskers was a shock. Only old women were supposed to get those kind of things, women going through menopause or women from hairy families. I had neither. I was about 14 and my ancestry was pretty slanted to the Celtic side.

I called in for reinforcements, my Mother. She looked and then looked closer. She said they were hardly noticeable unless someone was really looking for them.

So I took a step back from the mirror, which wasn’t much considering my face was almost pressed against the glass to start with. It was true! Once I stepped back and wasn’t focused on that area of my face, I really couldn’t notice the whiskers. If I looked, I did see them. But, I had to be looking pretty carefully.

So I wasn’t turning into some weird sort of man-beast after all.

My Uncle has had a full beard and moustache for as long as I can remember. As children we would buy him shaving cream, packages of razors and so on. Children sometimes have such great ideas but not the common sense to see these ideas through. He laughed about our gifts and after being embarrassed once or twice we realized a man with a full beard and moustache isn’t going to need shaving cream. Later I would try after shave, thinking he could use it like cologne. I never did hear either way about that one. Maybe he thought it was a good idea.

Anyway, at that young age myself and having whiskers I did picture myself growing a beard, thick and hairy as I went through puberty and all those changes. I would check my upper lip for changes, new growth, more growth – dreading to see a whisker begin to do so much as curl.

I was lucky in the genetic lottery. I never did get more whiskers, or thicker whiskers. I did have friends who were less lucky.

One young woman I worked with had to shave her face every day. If she skipped a day she had 5 o’clock shadow. From talking to her I know she tried all kinds of methods to get rid of her whiskers. Waxing was painful but seemed to give her an extra day from having to deal with them. She tried several of those gimmicks from TV ads. Some of them burned her skin and made everything worse. Not only did she still have whiskers but her skin was burned and red or even blistered too. I was so glad for my sparse little whiskers then.

We Women Do Get Whiskers

Women in my family have a small tendency towards whiskers, when we get older. My own Mother began plucking her face (not just her eyebrows) once she was in her 40’s. My younger sisters both had whiskers on their upper lip and chin by the time they were in high school. Mine may have started sooner but they were less visible.

When my Great Aunt Alice died one of the saddest things was the full beard she had which no one was there often enough to prevent for her. She was my Grandmother’s sister (on my Mother’s side of the family).

My Grandmother also had stray whiskers on her face, but I never saw her with a lot of them until she was quite a bit older, when I was far past being a kid myself. She was a plucker too. Interesting to note that I have her same pattern of grey hair mostly in the front too. Maybe we share our whiskery ways too and I won’t have to really worry about them until I’m 60 or so too. I miss her – in that way it’s an honour to share her whiskers and grey hair. I do think about her nearly every time I look at my face in the mirror.

But… I do Like Being Contrary

Having written all that, a funny thing happened when I turned 40-something and began to get whiskers on my chin – I began plucking them, pretty mercilessly, with tweezers. I’m far from being a bearded lady. I only notice one a week and I do pluck them as soon as I feel them.

The only difference with the moustache and the chin whiskers was my age. I did not like the hair on my chin making me feel old when I actually was past the age of high school and beyond. Nature’s little digs about our age are much easier to take when we aren’t old yet.

Moustache Growing Month: Movember

How to Become a History Buff

Peace, Love MuseumsI think our interest in history begins with our own family. Parents and Grandparents talk about their own past, their parents and even farther back in your own history if you are lucky.

The first thing I ever did myself was to record my Grandmother’s sister, Alice, talking about her life, her past and what she remembered from when she was a girl living in Ireland. In school we made family trees, but that wasn’t something I had done on my own initiative. I still have the tape recording, I just don’t have a machine I can hear it on. Technology isn’t always our best friend.

Many people get into genealogy and stop there when it comes to history. Not me. I have researched many people (mostly women adventurers and fighters of one kind or another) and places (mainly local history, places I have found through my own exploring). I also like to research the history of paranormal things and creatures like dragons. (Can you prove they don’t exist?)

Try the history buff quiz for fun.

How to Learn About History on Your Own

Narrow your focus.

Choose a time period, an event, a country, a building, a person or some other smaller area of history you want to learn more about. Narrow your focus a bit because history is huge as a topic. Every moment becomes history as we live it.

Start a journal.

Pick a notebook (or bring a laptop) to take notes, write down facts and information as you find them. Keep notes about the resources you have used too. You may want to use the same book, website, etc. again or find the author of the book for more information, even an interview.

Keep a pen and pencils handy. Along with the journal you might want to draw maps, sketch a face, or use colour pencil crayons to organize your notes. Consider a hand scanner which you can take to scan a document or pages in a book rather than giving yourself writer’s cramp.

Review your notes and pull things together in a report.

It isn’t enough to have a rambling collection of facts. When you put all your information together to create a report (just for yourself even) it really helps you see everything as a bigger picture. You also notice details which you hadn’t seen connected before.

Join a local history society or group.

It’s okay to go it alone when you can’t find anyone to share your interest. But, most towns will have a local museum and a local history society too. Of course cities may have more resources for you once you begin looking. If the person or place you are researching is something local then the historical society will likely invite you to present your research to the group at a meeting. (Of course, this is up to you to do or turn down if you just can’t handle public speaking).

yesterday is history

Where to Learn About History on Your Own

  • Visit museums and libraries and talk to the staff there. Let them know about your interest in history – they usually have suggestions you wouldn’t have thought of.
  • Get on the mailing list so you will know when a new exhibit comes to your local museum or library.
  • Visit the art gallery and look at paintings/ illustrations from the time period you are looking at.
  • Make the trek to bigger cities and visit those museums and libraries too.
  • Look at genealogy. It’s a lot of information but a nice way to track down ancestors and find out where the bodies are buried, literally.
  • Get online and track down other people who share your interest. Read their websites or weblogs. Leave comments or notes for them. Ask questions. If they really seem to know a lot ask if you can send them some questions, even interview them through email.
  • If your interest is something local, get out there with your camera. Take photos of the places where history happened. Talk to people like urban explorers or look them up online and see the photos they have taken too.
  • If your interest is Medieval history talk to people who like Renaissance Fairs and create their own costumes to wear based on the authentic clothing worn in the time period.
  • If you have an interest in prehistory, find out about anyone who has been digging up history in the area you are researching. Try to find them online and get information from the source.
  • Read fictional history books too. In most cases the authors will talk about their research and any liberties they took in changing history for their fiction. Meanwhile, you will be reading an account based on all their own research of the time period, the place or person you are researching too.
  • Keep an eye on the news, online and through the television and radio too. History happens all the time. New finds and discoveries come up in the news more often than you may think.
  • Talk to people who were there for history in this century. Read biographies from people in earlier times. You may even find autobiographies which they wrote themselves versus a biography which was written about them.
  • Watch for TV programs, documentaries, coming up for your history interest. Talk to your librarian and see if any documentary can be ordered in for you. Talk to the people who were interviewed in the documentary and, of course, the people who created the documentary would be a great source of information. (The narrator is not always a great source, look for the people who produced the documentary).

Where to Find History Online

On This Day in History…