How to feel, spread the spirit of Christmas when you live alone

Decorate your home. One year, a former roommate informed me that she was going home for Christmas and, therefore, was not going to help decorate our place. I was tempted to do the same, since I was also going to my parents' home for the holidays. But then I realized that I, too, am important and that decorations are as much for me as for others. So I decorated. Since then, regardless of whether or not I have had roommates, I have decorated my home and enjoyed it.

Attend Christmas parties. I attend parties given by my ward, given at work and given by friends. My neighborhood also has Christmas parties. In addition, some years I have thrown a party at my home for my friends. That is my Christmas gift to them - the time we spend together.- Find ways to be part of a child's Christmas. Children are so exuberant. My first nephew was born when I was 10 years old, so when I was growing up and out of the "awe" of Christmas there were still children around. That kept the excitement of Christmas fresh.

Reach out to others. The fun of Christmas is planning things for those around you, especially for those who may not have as much. Do things, such as the 12 Days of Christmas. One thing you can do is give someone a Christmas story every day to read before Christmas. I pick out my favorite Christmas stories and start Dec. 1 giving them out. - Ellen Rae Allred, Orem, Utah

What we did:

Sharing the spirit

Having lived in many parts of the world previous to my retirement, I've collected many "Christmas card friends," with whom I communicate during this time. Good people all, but too few are members of the Church. My letters never omit important Church activities nor those of my children, such as missions, temple weddings, etc. And these letters always reflect my priorities however subtly.

My salutation (Happy Holydays) does not vary from year to year, nor does my selection of Nativity-centered cards. The post office offers several designs of stamps, and I always choose a religious theme. As a widow, I am, thus, spreading - and feeling - the spirit of Christmas. - Betty Bryner, Springville, Utah

Gift of giving

We should remember the birthday for whom we are celebrating. When we celebrate a loved one's birthday, we always bring gifts. We should focus on a gift that would be appropriate to give to Jesus on His birthday.

In many instances that gift is giving of ourselves to others in serving their needs. In addition, the gift we give may be to study His life, thereby bringing about a greater testimony of His life and mission. Then we can go throughout the rest of our lives in service to others in His name. - Mark T. Warner, The Colony, Texas

Pictures of Christ

The main ways I feel the spirit of Christmas while living alone are the following:

Having pictures of Christ around my apartment. This helps me remember what Christmas is really about not only in December but also all year.

Increasing my personal gospel study during the month of December, making a goal of reading one of the complete standard works between Dec. 1 and Jan. 1.

Having family thoughts present in my day. Gift giving and trying to find the most unique gift for a family member helps me think of family.

I help spread the spirit of Christmas by doing the following:

Continuing our family tradition of giving anonymous gifts during the holidays. As a single member of the Church, I not only can continue this tradition of giving, but also increase the level.

Increasing missionary activity, goals and prayers during the holidays. - Jeff Wright, Cheyenne, Wyo.

Reflect on your life

Christmas is a wonderful season. It is a time to reflect upon your life and the lives of others. When you live alone, it may be hard to feel the spirit of Christmas, but by serving those around you, you will have love in your heart for others and for Christ.

This is the true spirit of Christmas. - Trish Collett, Elfrida, Ariz.

Writes missionaries

For me, the spirit of Christmas is love, the love of my Heavenly Father for all His children, the love of the Savior as shown through His birth, life and sacrifice for each of us, and the love that I feel for my friends and my family.

Even though I'm alone, I can reflect on all this through my prayers, through my personal gospel study and through listening to Christmas music. In addition, I always attend Messiah concerts every year.

Christmas just isn't Christmas without the Christmas story as found in Luke chapter 2. I'm usually with family members when we share that story.

Even though I have problems with my eyesight, I still put out Christmas decorations my children enjoyed when they were young. I strive to send Christmas letters to friends and family members I don't see often. I also write missionaries serving from my ward. I feel they are keeping Christmas best of all.

I share gifts and phone calls with people living near me and share goodies.

I really enjoy giving gifts to friends and family members. In addition, I always try to think of someone for whom I can anonymously make Christmas better.

These are not extraordinary things, but what I do do fills my heart with love - which is the spirit of Christmas. - Peggy Frome, Afton, Wyo.

Involved herself

When I lived alone, I focused on the scriptures during the holidays. There were several particular scriptures that meant a lot to me during that period of time in my life and that helped me keep going.

I strove to follow the counsel in Mosiah 2:17, 2 Ne. 32:9 and D&C 88:63-65.

Basically, what I did was involve myself in my Church work and my other work, tried to take care of myself and tried to reach out to the other single adults in the area and to other people.

I sought occasions to be with my family, I put up a Christmas tree. I put up lots ornaments that people had given me and that reminded me of their love.

Because of the love I felt, I wanted to give that love all back. - Catherine (Lois) Demo, Hanover, Pa.

How to checklist:

1 Remember whose birthday is being observed.

2 Reach out, serve others; send Christmas cards, write the missionaries.

3 Reflect on your life, on the love of the Savior.

4 Continue family traditions; decorate your home; attend Christmas parties.


Dec. 13 "How to find strength and be a positive influence when you're the only Church member in your family."

Dec. 20 "How to make Christ the center of Christmas traditions."

Dec. 27 "How to develop qualities of discipleship."

Jan. 3 "How to gain a deeper spiritual appreciation for the Old Testament."

Jan. 10 "How to better serve those to whom you are assigned as a home teacher or visiting teacher in 1998."

Jan. 17 "How to avoid greed."

Jan. 24 "How to be more resilient in day-to-day life."

Also interested in letters on these topics: "How to get out of a rut in your career," "How to help yourself or loved one overcome an abusive nature," "How to be prepared to share the gospel and answer questions," "How to build a strong work ethic in children," "How to encourage children and young people to be physically active."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, send fax to (801) 237-2524 or use internet E-mail: Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed