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The holidays are a time for being with the ones you love the most. Big family dinners, family movies, exchanging gifts with those you care about more than anything. But what about those that don’t? How do they spend the Christmas and holiday season? surveyed 4,000 Americans in single-person households, aiming to understand the prevalence of solitary Christmases. Alarmingly, the survey illuminated that a staggering 19 million people are preparing to spend Christmas in solitude this year. 

A deeper analysis revealed a state-wise disparity, with Oregon emerging as the state with the highest proportion of solitary celebrants—nearly half of its surveyed residents (45%) facing a lonely Christmas, which translates to 533,786 adults.

In Indiana, 1 in 5 respondents said Christmas will be spent alone this year, equating to 391,502 people. 

Conversely, Tennessee emerged as the least lonesome state for the holiday season, yet the numbers remain significant, with approximately 238,000 Tennesseans – 12% of the surveyed population—anticipating a solitary Christmas.

Respondents were also asked to rank the days they found most challenging to spend alone…

•    Christmas Day, carrying 42% of the vote, stands out due to its cultural significance as a day of family gatherings and shared joy, making the pangs of isolation acutely felt amidst widespread celebration.

•    Personal birthdays, with 22%, often underscore the personal aspect of the celebration, and lacking companionship on this day can intensify feelings of neglect and insignificance.

•    Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, each at 11%, are times when the anticipation of festivities and the tradition of counting down together heighten the sense of exclusion when spent alone.

•    Thanksgiving, securing 10% of the votes, is traditionally a day for gratitude shared among loved ones, making solitude on this day particularly poignant as it may underscore the absence of close bonds.

•    Easter Sunday, though only at 2%, is a day often associated with renewal and family, and spending it alone can be a stark reminder of solitude, contrasting with the communal gatherings that usually mark the occasion.

Facing the prospect of a lone Christmas, survey participants shared their coping strategies, and a variety of solitary activities to occupy the festive hours:

Online gaming (26%)
Movies binge (19%)
Hobbies (15%)
Cooking (15%)
Volunteering (11%)
Reading (8%)
Online communities (6%)

Finally, also posed a hypothetical question to those who will be spending Christmas surrounded by family: Would they extend an invitation to a neighbor known to be spending the holiday alone? The response was a heartening testament to human kindness – 88% affirmed that they would welcome their neighbor into their home to share in the Christmas spirit.

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