An LGBTQ+ Guide to Surviving Christmas Alone
Published: 15 December 2021 Tags: By Jonny Carr
Can you help us to reach more LGBTQ+ people with this guide?
For some this year Christmas will be one spent with loved ones after a hard 18 month period that has been. However for many LGBT people, Christmas and its associations are a much less positive time of year. We’ve previously produced an LGBT guide to surviving the holiday if you’re spending it with unsupportive family. If this applies to you, check out this guide.
We’re offering some tips and advice on how to make the most of the holiday if you’re spending it alone. The most important thing to remember is that even no one else is around, you are never alone. There is an entire community of people who care about and who love you. We're still here if you need us, and we will continue to be here over the festive season.
How should I approach it this year?
Start by thinking about how you want to spend the day. Are you hoping for a festive bonanza for one, or are you hoping to avoid anything remotely Christmassy? It’s absolutely fine if you feel like you want to bury your head in the sand and wake up after New Years. However you decide to spend the day, make sure it’s what you want to do, not what you think you should do.
Focus on what YOU enjoy
This day is all about you! What does Christmas mean to you? If you want to dress the house up like Santa’s grotto – go for it! If you want to buy yourself some presents then do it, you’ve earned it! Are you obsessed with Mariah Carey, get that song on repeat! If you’re not a particularly festive person, that’s absolutely fine. This year is the year you can finally escape the tinsel!
Time to make a plan
Some people have said it’s important to have a plan for your day. You might not need a 16-page agenda, but it could help to have a rough idea about how you’re planning to spend the day. What time are you hoping to wake up? How do plan to spend the morning? Will you be watching anything on tv? Having a loose structure to the day can help to reduce any anxieties you might have.
"What should I eat?"
Simple answer – whatever you want! Fancy a traditional Christmas dinner, go ahead and make one. Partial to a pizza? Who’s to stop you having two? This is your day, and you can shape it however you like, free from any food-related judgement.
Self-care is key
Never underestimate the importance of self-care. Treat yourself to a special bath, or a long hot shower in the morning. It can really help to relax you and uplift your spirits. Why not indulge in a decadent bath bomb or some fancy new toiletries? Go on, you’re worth it!
Get out for a nice walk
Fresh air and movement are a great way to reduce stress and improve your wellbeing. Why not head out for a nice walk in the countryside, or around the local park a few times? A quick ‘hello’ and a smile to passers-by could help to reduce feelings of loneliness, you might even get to meet a four-legged friend!
Think about ways to keep yourself busy
It’s a good idea to have some things planned for your day. It could be getting lost a great book (we heard Michael Cashman’s autobiography is a page turner) or delving into a new box-set. Keeping busy is a good way to keep yourself distracted if you're worried about the day. However you want to spend your time, make it something special for you.
Keep in touch
It’s important that you communicate with others. It can be difficult to reach out to others, but planning a quick call or video chat with friends or loved ones during the can be a great way to keep connected. If you have some presents to open, why not arrange to do it over Zoom with someone else?
Be honest with yourself, and with others
If you’re feeling particularly low, then that’s OK. Be honest with how you feel, and if you’re able to, speak about how you’re feeling with someone you love. If you don’t feel able to open up to someone close to you, call our helpline on 0345 3 30 30 30. We’ve also listed some additional places for support below.
Keep an eye on your substance use
For some people, feelings of loneliness can be a trigger for using substances. If you've experienced any substance misuse issues in the past it might be good to think about coping strategies that have worked before for avoiding any triggers. Is there someone you can call if the urge to use is strong? If not, call our helpline and one of our team would be happy to help talk it through with you.
Remember, it’s just 24 hours
It’s OK to feel scared about the prospect of spending Christmas alone, particularly if this is your first time. Remember, it’s just one day. You can get through this. However you’re feeling right now, this won’t last forever. Things will get better.
LGBT Foundation Helpline Festive Opening Times
Our helpline provides thousands of hours of support and advice to people every year, many who feel like they have nowhere else to turn. Over the festive season, we’re still here if you need us. You can call us on 0345 3 30 30 30.
|24th December 2021||9am - 9pm|
25th December 2021
10am - 6pm
26th December 2021
27th December 2021
28th December 2021
29th December 2021
30th December 2020
31st December 2021
1st January 2022
2nd January 2022
3rd January 2022
Other places for support
Our helpline is busier than ever, and there may be times when our phone is engaged. If this happens, and you need to speak with someone right away, here are some additional places you could try to contact for support.
- Switchboard LGBT (10am-10pm every day) - Phone: 0300 330 0630 / Email: [email protected]
- MindOut online LGBTQ support service. Click here to find out opening times
- Give Us A Shout (24hr crisis text service) - Text Switchboard to 85258
- MindLine Trans+ (trans support helpline) - Phone: 0300 330 5468
- National Trans 24hr Helpline – Phone: 07527 524034
- Stonewall also has a list of LGBT-inclusive organisations that may be able to help
Despite our hours being extended we are aware that you may be experiencing crisis, if you are then please make use of the following information:
- Samaritans (24hr a day) - Phone: 116 123
- Saneline (6pm-11pm every day) - Phone: 0300 304 7000
- Childline (for young people up to 19)
If you feel you or someone else is in immediate danger, please call 999.
Whoever you are and however you are spending Christmas this year, LGBT Foundation wishes you a sincere and heartfelt Happy Christmas. Though it might seem otherwise, there are people who care, and understand your struggles without you needing to justify them. If enjoying Christmas isn't an option this year, we are here to help you get through it.