So you just moved to a new city. You haven’t found any friends yet—in fact, you haven’t even found your way around town yet. Your family is far away planning a holiday feast without you and for the first time in your life you’re going to be spending Christmas alone, drowning your sorrow in eggnog while you listen to “Blue Christmas” on repeat. But don’t cue up the Elvis quite yet. The holiday season doesn’t have to be depressing just because you moved to a new city where you don’t know anyone. Instead of sitting on your couch alone, try one of the following ideas instead.
If you’re alone on Christmas, it’s tempting to indulge your misery by hibernating in your apartment, watching holiday movies on TV. We promise that there’s no yuletide joy to be found in that plan. Instead, use your lack of familial obligations to help the less fortunate. Find a volunteer opportunity nearby and spend the day helping out at a soup kitchen, a nursing home, a crisis center or involved in some other cause that you care about. Even if you don’t have the best Christmas ever, you can take comfort in knowing that you brightened someone else’s day.
We guarantee you’re not the only person in your new city with nowhere to go this Christmas. Wouldn’t it be great if all of those transplants got together and had a meal? Thanks to websites like Meetup, local Reddit city threads, community Facebook pages and even good old fashioned flyers at the library, that scenario is entirely possible. If you don’t see an event like this posted, consider creating one yourself. This is a great way to enjoy Christmas and make some new friends—two things you were meaning to do anyway.
Walking around downtown amongst falling snow and Christmas lights might make for a great Instagram shot, but it certainly doesn’t always make you feel less alone. If you’re missing family and friends and you know that the sight of other people enjoying holiday cheer is going to bum you out, spare yourself the pain and skip the crowds. Getting into nature, whether it’s to enjoy a long hike, an easy stroll or just a scenic drive will offer you fresh air and beautiful sights without the FOMO.
Nothing makes you feel like a local faster than learning the unique quirks and traditions of your new hometown. Part of the reason you feel sad around the holidays after a recent move is that feeling of not quite belonging yet. Find out what Christmas traditions your new city is known for, whether it’s a special cuisine, a local event or something totally random and offbeat and make a point to participate. Yes, going alone will probably feel weird, but it’ll also make you feel like you’re a part of the community.
There’s no shame in using your social media game to make friends after moving to a new city. You may not personally know anyone around you, but your friends and acquaintances on Facebook might. Post something simple like, “Hey, I just moved to (insert your new city here) and I’m looking to meet people. Does anyone know any folks here who I could be introduced to?” Have your friends vouch for your awesomeness and see if those new connections are open to taking in a stray for Christmas dinner.
Shake off the holiday blues by scaring yourself a little this year. No, we’re not saying that you should go base jumping or challenge a grizzly bear to a fight. But isn’t there something you’ve always wanted to do that’s a little out of your comfort zone? It could be something like trying yoga for the first time, learning a new language or buying a bike and actually riding it. Whether it’s something big or something small, challenging yourself will distract you from your loneliness and will likely result in you feeling accomplished instead.