News, Culture & Society

How to have a good Christmas if you go into isolation

With the news that more than one million Britons are likely to be isolating with Covid on their own on Christmas Day, it’s hard to get into the festive spirit with plans in disarray for the second year running. 

With this in mind, top party planners have shared their advice on how to make the most of your Christmas period whether you’re locked down with a few people or alone, with minimal planning or cost. 

For those on their own on the 25th, creating a packed schedule of solo board games, cocktail making to Christmas music and writing yourself a bucket list could be a way to spend the day. 

If you’re isolating in a couple the experts suggested inventing fun festive games, awarding each other vouchers or having a ‘sharing Christmas dinner’ of canapés throughout the day rather than focusing on one big meal. 

Here, Femail reveals advice from leading event planners on enjoying the Christmas even if you’re stuck at home isolating.  

Party planners have revealed their advice on how to enjoy Christmas if you’re isolating after news that more than one million Brits are likely to be isolating with Covid on the 25th. Stock image

MAKE A PLAN FOR THE DAY  

(One or more person) 

If you’re spending Christmas Day alone, the first step of enjoying yourself is shifting your mindset to stop thinking about what you’re missing out on and focus on how to make the most of your solo time.  

Events planner and co-founder of Blush + Luxe Hattie Gladwell suggested: ‘Start by making a plan of your day. Jot down the things you love to do when you’re alone, or with just one or two other people. 

‘Making notes of these things can help you to realise that there are still lots of things you can enjoy doing. Plan out your ideas into sections throughout the day.  Perhaps your perfect day is spending time watching movies or cuddling up with your favourite book. Don’t feel bad for taking some ‘me time’ on Christmas day.  

Looking for something to do online Christmas Day? Femail reveals virtual events taking place on the 25th 

Friends-themed Christmas virtual quiz (various times) – available on TicketSource for £2.00

Christmas Day knitting (15:30 GMT) – available on Eventbrite for free

Cassidy’s Apothecary Speak easy cocktail experience (various times)- available on DesignMyNight for £20.00 – £34.00

Christmas Day celebration at St Mary’s Church Hanwell (10.00 GMT) – available on Facebook for free

Christmas morning carols at Journey Church Harrow (10.00 GMT) – available on Facebook for free

Experience an empty central London on Christmas Day (14:15 GMT) – available on Eventbrite for free

Live virtual performance of A Christmas Carol (21:30 PM – 22:30 PM GMT) – available on Eventbrite for £11.50 

Virtual forum on coping with separation during the holidays (16:00 GMT) – available on Eventbrite for free 

Online poetry and spoken word open mic night (18:00 GMT)- available on Eventbrite for free   

Live guided meditation  – available on Eventbrite for free  

‘Try to keep yourself busy throughout the day so that your mind isn’t preoccupied by what you could be missing out on. This is why jotting down your ideas the night before or morning of Christmas day and actually setting timings for each event can be really helpful, because following a nice plan that you’ve actually set yourself can be comforting.’ 

REWARD YOURSELF EACH TIME YOU FEEL SAD 

(One or more person) 

Creating a self-reward system is a well observed method of reaching your goal by awarding yourself something each time you do something positive. 

So if you’re feeling lonely on Christmas Day, why not flip the technique on its head and treat yourself to something you enjoy every time you feel low to cheer yourself up. 

For example, give yourself a chocolate or a shot or your favourite tipple every time someone texts you to say how terrible it is you’re stuck at home alone, or each time you scroll on social media to see friends and family having a great time without you.   

BUY YOURSELF SMALL PRESENTS ONLINE 

(One or more person) 

Many families on Christmas Day spend the morning opening up each others presents and it may take the shine off festivities to unwrap gifts by yourself. 

So why not treat yourself and spend the morning buying yourself small festive gifts online that you can look forward to in the days following Christmas. 

We all know December can be an expensive month, so if you’re not keen to splash out, keep it simple with treats like a festive candle, a new book or some of your favourite chocolate. 

DANCE AROUND THE HOUSE TO YOUR CHRISTMAS PLAYLIST – BUT DON’T STAY IN PYJAMAS

(One or more person) 

Even if dancing is the last thing you want to do while feeling down on Christmas Day, grooving around your house with nobody watching could be a great way to boost your mood. 

Adrian Falk, author and founder of international PR and events agency Believe, said: ‘Put on your Christmas Spotify playlist and dance around the house. 

Psychologist reveals loneliness coping strategies to use on Christmas Day  

Clinical psychologist Dr Meg Arroll told FEMAIL the best coping strategies to get through Christmas Day alone: 

Stick your head out the window  

If you have a garden, going out into the garden or popping your head out the window and observing nature will tend to feel more grounded in the world and calm. It does buffer against stress, even if you can’t walk – just observing nature will lift your mood. 

Put together a collage 

Instead of focusing on New Year resolutions, reflect on the past and on the things you are grateful for. 

Putting together a collage of memories of the last year is a really great way to increase our sense of gratitude. 

We know from research that reconnecting with the past is a great way to boost the mood – especially if someone is on their own.  

Curate your social media 

You can take steps to curate your social media so it’s much more positive. 

If any accounts make you feel a bit negative or more lonely you can delete them for now, create a specific, positive Christmas account. 

Don’t ignore FOMO

Even if it’s your family, the pictures you see online it’s the pictures you’re representing what’s happening in reality. 

It probably would be a good idea to check in and schedule a call to feel part of it. 

If you do feel like you’re missing out – don’t try and push that feeling down. Observe it, connect with it, let yourself feel sad and disappointed. A lot of these negative feelings aren’t necessarily bad, it’s challenging to repress them, allow yourself to feel them. 

Emotional writing 

Write down what you’re feeling, share it, write it down for yourself. Try and process that feeling rather than scroll through social media. 

We scroll to trigger that reward system and that dopamine release, if you feel yourself doing this, try and put the phone down. 

Embrace alone time 

For some people there might be a sense of relief of being on their own – to almost have a year off where you can wake up and sit in your PJs and rejoice in being by yourself, not having to listen to your boring old uncle – take it as an opportunity to say “Sod it i’m going to do exactly what i’m going to do” – actually take it with both hands and really embrace it. It can be a good way to shift to a more positive mindset.  

Just because someone is alone, it doesn’t mean they are lonely and sometimes I think the emotional impact is “I should be feeling lonely” and you almost feel ashamed of enjoying our own time, it’s a really good thing to learn to do that.

Studies have shown even if you put in your headphones, listening to music changes your mood and your behaviour and it can bring back those memories of Christmas with carols and Mariah Carey classics. 

Make sure to get dressed, make your bed have some sort of routine, you definitely want to put on your favourite Christmas jumper and tinsel earrings, even if you’re by yourself it will get you into the festive spirit.’ 

CREATE AN AT-HOME SCAVENGER HUNT 

(Two or or more people) 

If you’re isolating with a partner and are bored of playing ordinary board games, try creating a festive scavenger hunt where each partner searches for a pre-determined object.  

Both parties should write notes each other giving clues about the whereabouts of the object, maybe with riddles about their relationships to solve for the correct answer, with the fastest player winning.  

To make the game even more fun, think up a prize for the winner, for example the last ball of stuffing or pig in blanket, and a forfeit for the loser – like an extra shot of festive tipple. 

DO SOME ONLINE KARAOKE 

(One or more person) 

Similarly to dancing, blaring out some Christmas songs is sure to get you in the festive spirit and whether you’re on your own or with a partner – some online karaoke is a surefire way to cheer you up. 

Online services like LuckyVoice offer an online karaoke experience which offers pre-made playlists for you to sing your heart out to without any equipment or installations needed.  

The service offers a two-week free trial for the festive period, and whether you’re alone or isolating with a partner could be the perfect excuse to show off your vocal chords.  

WRITE OUT YOUR BUCKET LIST  

(One or more person)  

To create a more positive mindset, Adrian suggested using the time instead to write a list of all the things you want to achieve, or presents you want to give yourself. 

He said: ‘If you can’t get presents from other people, say “When lockdown is over i’m going to treat myself”. Create a bucket list, use this time to say “i’m going to write out things i’m going to do throughout my life. Holiday to Greece, i’ll start saving for that”. 

‘We as humans live our life for everybody else, it’s about using the time. You become a robot, you’re working all the time and this is actually a time to take note of your life and say, “What do I want to achieve?” 

PRACTICE GRATITUDE 

(One or more person)  

Another way of lifting your spirits is by remembering all the positive things going on in your life and re-reading the list when you’re feeling down about missing your loved throughout the day. 

Adrian said: ‘Shifting the mood, it’s easy to go into a negative spiral, feeling like the world is ending. You have to break that negative cycle and write a list for things you’re thankful for as difficult as that is. 

‘Every day in the festive period write a list and add five more every day. By the time it’s New Year’s Eve you’ll have a massive list and whenever you’re feeling down you can read it.’ 

As Christmas approaches, it may be difficult to get everything you want ahead of the big day, and Adrian suggested shifting perspective by using a small amount of money to donate a meal to those in need through charities like B1G1. 

He said: ‘You may not be able to get your traditional Christmas turkey, to make yourself feel better, go online and turn it into a positive thing. Think, “This Christmas I can give food to someone else”. 

‘You can choose a course and for a small amount you can give a child food for a month. That’s a great way of feeling grateful, thinking “Christmas isn’t how I wanted to it be, why don’t I make a difference in the world.” 

CREATE YOUR OWN COUPLES GAMES 

 (Two or more people)  

If you're isolating with your partner, why not take the time to create your very own game. Stock image

If you’re isolating with your partner, why not take the time to create your very own game. Stock image

If you’re isolating with your partner, why not take the time to create your very own game, for example asking questions to each other about your relationship, having a talent contest or even playing truth or dare. 

What to eat when you’re having a scaled-back Christmas

If you’re used to celebrating with a huge family feast, trying to recreate the norm can sometimes make you feel like you’re missing out even more. Break with tradition and enjoy your treats throughout the day rather than putting the focus on one big meal that might feel like and anti-climax without all your loved ones. 

You can also break away completely and order a meal kit from a restaurant or get a takeaway if that’s what you fancy. There’s no rule saying you have to eat a roast dinner. 

EAT IN STAGES 

 (One or more people)

Rather than cooking an entire Christmas dinner from scratch make the process easier by using a meal kit with the exact ingredients and why it may be for two people rather than one – there’s always left overs at Christmas! 

Katie Brown, Senior Event Coordinator at The Mere Resort, Cheshire, said: ‘If Christmas dinner is the highlight of your day, go all out and enjoy a festive cook up with all the trimmings. Not known for your culinary skills? Order a Christmas dinner meal kit from a local restaurant, which includes everything you’ll need for a festive feast. 

‘That way you can show your support for the struggling hospitality sector too, even if you can’t attend in person.’ 

Alternatively, if you’re only celebrating with one or two people, rather than having an entire roast dinner at once have the dinner in sections throughout the day. 

Liz said: ‘It doesn’t have to be a Christmas dinner where you’re sat alone at the table. Have a “sharing christmas dinner”. Get up in the morning and have pigs and blankets with prosecco! 

‘Prepare the day so you feel it’s special, not so you’re waiting for the Zoom call. Prepare a kitchen itinerary you have on you wall. 

‘If you’re with a partner you can share the load, do stuff for each other. You both have jobs, you have stuff that takes you through the day that does not make the day long.’  

OR DITCH CHRISTMAS DINNER FOR A TAKEAWAY 

Instead of the hassle of cooking and cleaning a full Christmas dinner, why not go for a takeaway meal instead. 

While some chains like Burger King and Dominos will not be operating on the 25th of December, a handful of McDonald’s and KFC restaurants are set to be open on Christmas Day. 

It’s wise to plan ahead and find out which eateries local to you are delivering.  

According to Just Eat, a quarter of the takeaways ordered on Christmas Day last year were kebabs, while the second most popular was margarita pizza followed by a cheeseburger. 

In London, apparently the most common takeout last Christmas was Chicken nuggets followed by a chicken burger and kebab. 

Adrian suggested: ‘If you’re a couple, try Christmas dinner in the dark. One person is blindfold and the other guesses what the dish is. 

‘You can try create vouchers for them to redeem. A massage voucher, i’ll do the dishes, i’ll clean the toilet. When you’re stuck at home for the next 10 days you won’t run out of things to do!’  

TAKE AN ONLINE BURLESQUE CLASS

(One or more person) 

If you’re looking for an online activity to keep you fully entertained for the evening, look no further than online burlesque classes – which are run every Saturday including Christmas Day.  

The sessions are led by our international burlesque performers and will see instructors teach routines throughout a two-hour session – you can even pick your own festive song. 

If you’re keen to join you’ll have to sign up ahead of the 25th and will receive a kit of foam, rhinestones and glue to make a personalised costume. 

With tickets still available on DesignMyNight for £85, those brave enough to a commit to a session will certainly not be at risk of being bored on Christmas evening. 

GIVE YOURSELF A SPA DAY 

(One or more people)

While spending Christmas with your family can be fun, with cooking and cleaning up huge meals, overly competitive board games and family arguments, it can also be massively stressful. 

So instead of being jealous of other people’s hectic Christmas Day, indulge in the peace of being by yourself and treat yourself to some self-care. 

Pamper yourself at home with a hair and face mask, give yourself a facial or sit back with some relaxing music, candle and a glass of wine while enjoying your favourite luxury snacks. 

And if you don’t have the money to spare you to buy any new products could indulge in some self care by sitting in freshly washed bed sheets with a home made face mask after having a warm bath or shower.  

TRY A DIY CHRISTMAS THEMED ESCAPE ROOM

(One or more people) 

If you’re looking for an activity to fill the Christmas afternoon lull, a festive online escape room could be a great way of passing the time. 

The game, created during lockdown and available on Trapped In The Web, can be played from anywhere in the world either solo or with teams of your choice from anywhere in the world.  

Players will be placed in a series of room – which they can move about freely -with text, pictures and video to help solve puzzles and find clues and solve the mystery.  

There’s even a special Christmas themed game available to purchase in time for the 25th which sees the player or team wake up after the office party desperate to retrieve a dubious email sent to your boss. 

Visit trappedintheweb.com to find out more.  

NOSTALGIC BOARD GAMES 

(Two or more people) 

Adding a bit of nostalgia is a great way to help you make Christmas feel normal, and board games are a cheap and easy way of doing so. 

Hattie said: ‘Look at doing things that make you feel nostalgic – but not too much that it reminds you of what you might be missing out on. Plan games that are made for two-three people, not large games that usually require more because that won’t be any fun and will put a downer on your day.

‘For instance, you can easily play charades, some card games, and some smaller board games made for less people.’

Katie Brown, Senior Event Coordinator at The Mere Resort, Cheshire, added: ‘If you’d prefer to keep your laptop firmly closed on Christmas Day, stock up on some classic board games to while away an hour or two with your locked-in companion. 

‘Board games are surprisingly cheap these days and are a great way to fend off boredom when you’re forced to self-isolate; they also make it much less likely that you’ll spend the entire day in front of the TV. ‘ 

Adding a bit of nostalgia is a great way to help you make Christmas feel normal, and board games are a cheap and easy way of doing so. Stock image

Adding a bit of nostalgia is a great way to help you make Christmas feel normal, and board games are a cheap and easy way of doing so. Stock image

SOLO BOARD GAMES 

(One or more people) 

And if you’re spending the day alone, there are various solo board games out there that you can order online before the big day. 

Often solo board games are based on fantasy role play and ask the player to immerse into a character rather than competing against other players. 

Examples include Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island which sees the player see how long they would last on a deserted island or Newton in which sees players go around the board solving puzzles.  Both board games are available on Amazon. 

CREATE A FESTIVE TABLESCAPE 

(One or more person) 

Whether your guests are virtual or in person, taking the time to create a festive dining table can make all the difference on Christmas day. Stock image

Whether your guests are virtual or in person, taking the time to create a festive dining table can make all the difference on Christmas day. Stock image

Whether your guests are virtual or in person, taking the time to create a festive dining table can make all the difference on Christmas day. 

Nadia McCowan Hill, Wayfair’s resident Style Advisor, said: ‘A small and intimate Christmas at home can be made to feel just as special and memorable as larger celebrations. Giving some extra attention to smaller details can really make all the difference for festivities.

‘Your dining table is at the centre of the main event for the big day, playing host to the all-important roast dinner and the ensuing board games and cocktails or mocktails, whether that be virtual or in person. When you’re dining solo or with a smaller number of guests, it doesn’t take much to transform a plain table into a magnificent sparkling setting to lift your Christmas spirits.

‘Think about your home dining set up as a restaurant table, bringing in all the key features that make dining out feel so special. A tablecloth will quickly change up the everyday look, layering it up with a formal full place setting, adding all the various plates and cutlery needed for each course, complimented by your best glassware. 

‘Simply laying the table like this will make the occasion feel extra special. The final addition of a scattering of tea lights and some metallic candle holders down the centre of the table will cast a pretty, cosy and sparkly glow!’  

VIRTUAL DRINKING GAMES 

(One or more people)  

While Zoom calls will naturally take up a large part of the day, there’s various online drinking games that can make chatting to your family over the phone far more interesting.  

Kate said: ‘Of course, a large part of your day will probably be taken up chatting with friends and relatives on video calls. But if the idea of spending Christmas on Zoom sounds a little depressing, remember there are ways to make remote meetups more fun.

‘Lots of people will remember multiplayer games from early Covid lockdowns, in particular Houseparty. But since then, several other remote games have emerged to help bust Zoom-call boredom, including Bunch, which has a library of built-in games for you to enjoy with your nearest and dearest – ideal for that time in the day when you’d normally be breaking out the charades.’

VIRTUAL MOVIE DATE 

(One or more people)  

Instead of watching your favourite Christmas films alone, choose a time of day and watch them with your loved ones virtually. Stock image

Instead of watching your favourite Christmas films alone, choose a time of day and watch them with your loved ones virtually. Stock image 

Instead of watching your favourite Christmas films alone, choose a time of day and watch them with your loved ones virtually. 

Hattie said: ‘Plan out each of your favourite Christmas films and make sure you actually watch them! Doing something like this together – even if you’re not keen on one of the films – will help you feel closer to the people you are able to spend Christmas with. 

‘And don’t forget you *can* do Christmas virtually. Why not have a virtual Christmas dinner with your loved ones so that you don’t miss out on the big sit-down meal together? Zoom is so handy, especially during the times of Covid, and it’s there to help us keep connected through these strange times. 

‘And if you are spending it alone, have a virtual movie marathon! There’s nothing better than watching The Grinch, Home Alone, and Elf all one after the other.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk