Avoiding Loneliness During the Holidays

by Dianne H. Lundy

Dianne H. Lundy

"There's no place like home for the holidays." The refrain from Perry Como's holiday song ran through my head like a train on an endless track as I sat in my dorm room in a small private college in Arkansas, four hundred miles from my home.

I hadn't made it home for Thanksgiving that year.

One of my suitemates had invited me and my roommate and her roommate to her home in Missouri for the Thanksgiving holidays. I think her mother was shocked at the amount of food we had consumed, as everybody went for second helpings of everything. It had been so long since we had eaten home cooking. But that still wasn't like being with my own family.

I had assured everybody I wasn't going to get homesick as I headed out of Louisiana to a college I had never even visited.Those words were coming back to haunt me. I was lonely. I wanted to go home and I definitely wanted to chow down on some of my mom's Southern cooking.

I managed to snag a ride home for Christmas with Jimmy Howard, one of the college football players. He sat behind me in my Art Appreciation class. We had known each other from our childhood days because his grandparents lived next door to my family. Seven or eight of us piled into his Buick Wildcat and headed home as soon as classes were dismissed. It was a noisy, crowded ride with "Love Potion Number Nine" playing on his radio and everybody singing along.

I now know that many people experience periods of loneliness during the holiday season. So, what can a person do to avoid loneliness at that time of year? It really depends on each individual and their situation.

Volunteer to help with some of the organizations that sponsor holiday activities. Assist with preparing or serving meals for the needy. Do backstage work with Christmas productions. Go Christmas caroling. Help out at the local food bank or deliver meals to shut-ins. Read Christmas stories to children at the local library or at a day care center. Hand out blankets and supplies to the homeless. Ring bells for the Salvation Army.

Prepare homemade cookies or candy to give to others. Knit or crochet caps, mufflers, or mittens for the needy. Make up some baskets with things that the elderly might use such as fruit, warm socks, puzzle books, and packages of instant cocoa or soup mix.

Pick a name off an "Angel Tree" and buy gifts for a needy child.. Send flowers or cards to someone who lives alone. Prepare a holiday meal and invite a widow or widower to dine with you. Attend the Christmas celebrations for your community and church.

These arejust some suggestions, but I believe the main way to avoid being lonely during the holidays is to give of yourself. You will forget about being lonely, and you will be richly repaid.

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