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Spending Christmas Alone? Here Are 7 Things You Can Do in Manila
Where you can find little pockets of joy in the city should you be celebrating a solo holiday
Christmas time is a joyful season marked by festive celebrations often spent with family and friends. That said, these festivities shouldn’t leave out the solo holiday, of course. Picture this: a contemplative Christmas for one, which could be set up either by choice or to simply make do with being unable to make plans with loved ones. To make way for work commitments, limited finances, a cool-off period with family members, or whatever else it might be: a solo Christmas can be just as fun.
Spending the holidays on your own can still be filled with light and joy as you reconnect with yourself. Wondering how you can make the most out of a solo holiday? Scroll through. Here are some activities you can do in Metro Manila to make your solo Christmas merry and bright:
Focus on self-care activities to replenish your cup.
“You cannot pour from an empty cup.” Ever encounter this quote? It’s a reminder for you to take this time to slow down. Allow your body to rest and your spirit to be nourished. Hit reset, in other words.
You can accomplish this through contemplative reading. Recommended books in this category include Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience by Brené Brown and Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia. If you’re particularly feeling lost and would like to gain some clarity, these titles ought to be helpful.
To reconnect with your inner child, meanwhile, why not look into expressing your creativity through abstract painting, macramé, or pottery? Consider a marbling plate class with studios like Mess We Made Manila, where you can let your mind wander as you freely mix pastel-colored clay to create memorable ceramic pieces for yourself.
Treat yourself to something special.
Christmas is the season of giving, after all; the first one on your gifting list should be yourself. You deserve something good as a reward for all your hard work in 2022, so don’t feel guilty about treating yourself to meaningful things that spark joy. Why not take yourself out on a date to your favorite bookstore? Or why not take yourself home décor shopping and get yourself something beautiful for your space so you can stay inspired? In this category, consider artisan-made decorations or art prints from local artists.
If you need more ideas on what you can gift yourself this year, here are some items for your consideration—whether you are someone who loves handmade products, an advocate of sustainable fashion, or someone who likes shopping for affordable finds.
Watch Filipino movies featured in the 2022 Metro Manila Film Festival.
It’s the second year of the festival’s return to the cinemas! After shifting to online streaming, the 48th edition is dubbed “Balik Saya sa MMFF 2022.” The eight official entries this year are Deleter, Family Matters, Labyu With An Accent, Mamasapano: Now It Can Be Told, My Father Myself, My Teacher, Nananahimik ang Gabi, and Partner In Crime.
With different genres including romantic comedies, heartwarming dramas, and horror thrillers, you can choose to watch your picks at a movie theater near you. The Metro Manila Film Festival runs from December 25, 2022, to January 7, 2023.
Get inspired by going to museums and art galleries.
Immersing yourself in a cultural experience is one way to spend time alone. Why not revisit our Filipino heritage for a quiet day date in the city? You can visit the recently reopened National Museum of Anthropology, which highlights the exhibition INDIO-GENIUS: 500 Taon ng Labanang Kultural (1521-2021) featuring the creations of National Artist Kidlat Tahimik in December.
If you feel like enjoying an artsy kind of holiday, continue your museum tour by heading to the Ayala Museum. In December, the exhibitions include Landscape into Painting: Fernando Zobel Serie Blanca, which features the linear and minimalist art of Fernando Zobel executed between 1975 to 1978, and Intertwined: Transpacific, Transcultural Philippines, which zooms into the Filipinos’ transpacific heritage through regional and global maritime exchanges. As a lovely reminder of your visit, you can purchase art-inspired gifts for yourself, too; shop curated and exclusive selections at the museum shop.
Reach out to the people—especially those who made your 2022 memorable.
No doubt there are others spending a solo Christmas, too. If you know friends living nearby who might also be spending the holidays on their own, you can invite them out for a quick pre-Christmas bite and drink. Poblacion in Makati is your best bet for a resto and pub crawl, where you can treat yourself to 2022’s celebrated new establishments like Le Petit Café Fleur, Pardon My French, West 32, and Sawsaw by Sau.
If you feel like sharing your time and generosity, consider volunteering at or donating to charitable causes before or after Christmas Day.
Go on a relaxing walk where you can spend time with nature.
Take a stroll around areas with a lot of trees and wildlife. Yes, it’s possible to enjoy this luxury in the city. Breathing in the fresh, cool air will help refresh your mind.
Thinking about the wonderful green spaces tucked away in the city, you might just find that enjoying a peaceful walk (in places like the University of the Philippines-Diliman campus, Luneta Park, and Ayala Triangle Gardens) can be something you can—and should—do regularly in 2023.
While on your walk, catch up on your favorite Spotify playlists or podcasts. You can take a break in between to do some meditation exercises, too, so you can take care of your mental health while on your nature excursion.
Find a quiet spot to write a list of your goals for 2023.
Being alone during the holiday season can be a therapeutic experience on top of being a liberating one. Take advantage of this time alone for some introspection. Gather your thoughts and reflect on your wins from 2022. If you want to stay in a cozy nook to do your personal reflections, consider visiting a quiet neighborhood café (The Cabean Café comes to mind). This might also be an opportune moment to take up journaling so you have a visual guide as you take stock of your big moments and challenges from the year. These can be used to inform the goals you can go after in 2023.
One other way to make use of this time alone is to make a list of the things that you are thankful for. For each month, you can outline the moments that brought you happiness or may have taught you precious life lessons. Writing about your experiences can help cultivate a more grateful mindset—a great way to kick off 2023.
Spending the holidays on your own can be a meaningful and purposeful experience. Rediscover the spirit of Christmas when you lean into it!