It’s not always possible to be with family and loved ones during the Christmas holidays. That doesn’t mean missing out on a tasty Christmas feast and all the trimmings.
The high cost of airfare during the holiday season, family members in all corners of the world, financial restrictions and poor health are just some of the many reasons seniors might find themselves faced with a quiet Christmas.
Many people, old and young alike, experience feelings of loneliness at this time of the year, especially if they live a long way from family or have lost their partner. While it might be tempting to “cancel” Christmas altogether, nobody really wants to miss out on the traditional turkey dinner and the sense of belonging that goes with it. So instead of giving in to feelings of sadness, why not consider asking a friend over and cooking a holiday feast for two on Christmas Day?
The Media and Christmas: Learn to Ignore the Message on the Television
During the Christmas season, the media is full of representations of the old fashioned Dickensian Christmas: Large families gathered at the heavily laden table, laughing, talking, drinking and eating. TV commercials, movies and magazine ads depict an indulgent image of Christmas – Christmas trees as tall as the rafters harbouring piles of presents beneath their branches, surrounded by three generations of family members, singing carols and toasting each other. This image is an exaggeration and the subliminal message is disheartening: Christmas just isn’t Christmas without hoards of family and friends and loads of presents.
Loneliness and the “commercialization of the winter holiday season,” means a greater number of people experience feelings of depression in the days leading up to and surrounding Christmas.
The study goes on to conclude that one of the best ways to alleviate holiday stress is “to reach out” to others. Those who find themselves alone during the Holiday season should not hesitate to invite a close friend or maybe a neighbour over to share a small feast on Christmas. This recommendation is valid for all ages including seniors. Don’t worry about the food. Christmas can be a culinary delight with a little menu adjustment.
Reasons People Don’t Want to Cook a Small Christmas Dinner
People generally don’t enjoy cooking a small Christmas feast because:
It's impossible to find a turkey under ten pounds. It's far too much work for only two people. Who will eat all the leftovers? Buying a Christmas tree when there is nobody to enjoy it is silly. Christmas just isn't Christmas without lots of family or friends.
Of course, all of the above reasons are valid. Nobody wants to cook a 12 pound plus bird for two people, especially if they have never done so before. Even less appealing is the thought of spending hours in the kitchen when there isn’t a loving crowd to appreciate the effort that goes into cooking a Christmas feast. Moreover, a fridge full of leftovers isn’t much good if there isn’t a small army to feast on turkey sandwiches, turkey soup and turkey everything for the few days following Christmas.
Tips on How to Host and Cook Christmas Dinner for Two
It is, however, very possible to prepare a small Christmas dinner. Here are some practical ideas.
Instead of buying a large turkey, purchase a free-range roasting chicken – a delicious and moist alternative. If turkey is a must-have, purchase one or two turkey breasts. A small amount of stuffing can be cooked in the oven and served beside the turkey breasts Instead of a full-sized Christmas tree, put up a string of lights in the room where dinner will be eaten, along with a few favourite Christmas decorations. Decorate the table with holly and candles – this is inexpensive and easy to clean up. For dessert, buy a small Christmas pudding or serve mince-meat pies – these can be purchased in single servings at delis or in packages of six at the grocery store.
Remember What Christmas is About
Christmas is about spreading love and joy. One of the best ways this is expressed is when one person opens his door to another. This year, if faced with a quiet Christmas, try something different – reach out to somebody else and invite him into your home for a small, but delicious Christmas dinner – there is no better gift during the Holiday season.