Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Being Alone at Christmas Doesn't Mean Being Lonely

DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently moved across the country for a job. I’m excited about this opportunity, and things are working out pretty well so far. My issue is that I cannot travel home for Christmas. It’s too expensive, plus I am new to the job and get only two days off. It makes no sense to travel 3,000 miles for two days.

I don’t know many people in my new city, because I’ve just been working. Now I am in a predicament. I usually spend a week with my family wrapping presents, putting up decorations, cooking, everything that families do. I have no idea what to do this year. I don’t know where to begin. Can you give me some ideas? -- Alone at Christmas, San Diego

DEAR HARRIETTE: It can be lonely to be so far away from your family during the holidays. The good news is that there are options everywhere.

I recommend volunteering at an organization that helps others. This will make you happy for sure! You just need to do a little research. Most churches offer meals to homeless and low-income people. They always need help serving food and sometimes in food preparation. Check with your local chamber of commerce for volunteer opportunities. Same goes for libraries, shopping centers and food kitchens.

One more thing: Use Skype, FaceTime or another video-conferencing tool to connect with your family each day of the holiday season.