Written by: Mary Ann Winters
Date: December 1, 2015

Holly Tree

Holly Tree Photo: Nannette Turner/Flick

Though I’ll share my new Christmas traditions with you in this blog, I truly hope you might include  a few of my recipes in the holidays you celebrate.

Maybe you are a single dad or mom and your last child left the nest this year, leaving you to wake up alone in your home on Christmas Morning.  Maybe you recently lost your husband and your married children have invited you to their homes for Thanksgiving dinner and an afternoon of family time. You may still wake up alone to an empty house or condo.  Widowed, divorced, single–whatever your particular situation is, waking up alone on a Holiday morning can be a real downer if you don’t take a little time to make it special.

I found myself alone on Christmas morning for the first time in my life at age 57.  That first year I used my very basic coping skills and followed my plan.  No wake-up alarm needed, so I slept in till about 9am.  It was too quiet. I wanted to say “Merry Christmas,” so I said it to my dog, Sophie.

Determination moved me from my bed into a chair near my beloved childhood manger scene, with my Bible in my lap.  I read the Christmas story from Luke aloud, my voice warming the silence.  By the time I had a cup of coffee, my thoughtful daughters had called and we excitedly discussed the grandkids’ gifts and our plans for later in the day.  In all, the day was lovely – though I do confess to a few “pity party” tears early on.

In the years since, I’ve kept the same tradition on Christmas morning followed by a very special breakfast for myself.  While visiting a dear friend recently, she gave me a lovely jar of her homemade jelly.  I immediately thanked her and said, “Oh this is perfect, I’ll save it for my Christmas breakfast.”  I explained my new traditions and decided it might be helpful to share this with you.

Mary Ann’s Recipe:

Holiday Morning for One

  • Have your favorite breakfast food ready to go – keep it simple.  (I pre-order my favorite English muffins from a website, buy Amish butter, special coffee, fresh fruit and this year I’ll add Jane’s jelly)
  • Bring out that “company” place mat, cloth napkin, china plate and coffee cup with a saucer – no mug this time…you’re worth it!  (I like to set my place at the table the night before – add one or two flowers in a vase by your plate or a favorite decoration)
  • Once I’ve finished my Christmas traditional reading, I begin playing my favorite Christmas music; singing along while I prepare breakfast.  (For Thanksgiving, watching the Parade on TV is a delight!)
  • Following breakfast, while enjoying another cup of coffee at the table, I love texting or calling family and friends.  This is also an excellent time to read cards you have received, enjoy holiday pictures from earlier years, and keep a gratitude journal of the people in your life and the many ways you have been blessed.

A few more suggestions:

  • Make plans for the Holiday afternoon a month in advance, and put it on your calendar.  If you don’t have family available, seek out other single friends who might like to go to a movie or come by for dessert in the afternoon or evening.
  • Bake cookies and deliver them to a nearby Fire Station or Nursing Home.  Their holiday staff will be appreciative. (Growing up as a military child, I often had Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners at the Mess Hall with the soldiers.  As an adult USO Volunteer, I have found ways to reach out and focus on helping others. Their families are often alone and in distress.)

Throughout the year, treasure that jelly from a friend, buy that lovely single table setting for yourself, save those special pictures, books, movies and cards.  They will cloak you with pleasant contentment on your special holidays.

A little pro-active planning goes a long way in nurturing yourself through holidays alone.


  • http://www.byronedgington.com/ Byron Edgington

    Thanks for sharing this Mary Ann. The physical limitations we encounter as we age can be disappointing and discouraging, so it’s always good to read about and learn about alternatives etc. You’re absolutely right about the time factor. As it slips away faster and faster, priorities change and we have to decide what to keep and what to abandon.
    Good piece. Keep ’em coming.

  • Steve D’Aoust

    I posted this blog to show others that life “IS” survivable and never allowing those that damaged you to dictate how the rest of your life will be. I have a saying, “Reach BEYOND Higher!”

  • George DeForest

    Being #@! yrs old now my body is, like, “You’ve got to be kidding me” /// whatever you pick next, make sure it is mostly sitting, cuz that “ageing process” just keeps on going!

    • Steve D’Aoust

      MANY Thanks George!!! I am SO sorry that I haven’t replied sooner. I was supposed to get a notice when someone replies and it never happened! Great advice! I was thinking along those lines myself…..smile