Holiday loneliness is very common because holidays always stir up emotions. While many people enjoy the festive and social nature of holidays, other people struggle with the emotions the holidays bring up. Whether people are alone for the holidays are in the midst of a group of people, people can feel very alone, causing stress and despair.
Everyone wants to be “home for the holidays.” Home may be far away where all your family and loved ones live, and there is just no logistical way of making it back home for each and every special holiday. You remember with fondness your family’s holiday traditions and feel sad and bitter that they are being carried out without you. Your own experience of the holiday is just not the same.
Home might also be your literal place of residence, but due to work or other commitments, you cannot spend the holiday at home. Working parents might miss the chance to see their kids open presents at Christmas or hunt for eggs at Easter. If you’ve never once missed out on taking your kids trick-or-treating on Halloween and suddenly have to work that evening one year, it can feel very depressing.
Furthermore, home is where the heart is, but this holiday, your heart is just not into it. You stay in alone on New Year’s Eve because you wish you had a romantic partner to share it with. Everyone is celebrating love on Valentine’s Day, but you have no one in love with you. Your parents divorced this past year, and now you know only loneliness at Christmas because everything is different, nothing is the same, and all the specialness of the past is gone. You gather with your siblings and either your mother or your father but not your mother and father at the same time.
Clearly, our meaningful traditions and our close bonds with family and loved ones matter to us. Holidays throughout the year give us the perfect excuse to take time out of the ordinary to celebrate together and to strengthen our traditions. Holidays are also the perfect time to experience profound loneliness when you lose the emotional fulfillment it once gave you. Building new traditions, finding something to be grateful for, and acknowledging the way you feel will all go a long way toward overcoming loneliness at the holidays.