It's never too soon to prepare for Christmas.

Even though empty-nesters and singles may not have all the activity generated by excited young'uns to spice up the holidays, there's plenty to do if you want to make this holiday special.

Create Cheer for One and All

Begin with yourself.

Do you want a tree? Maybe not, it seems a lot of work for one adult. But if you feel the holiday slipping by and leaving you a little left out, even a small one can make a huge difference. There are some fine table tops on the market now. And, heck, it doesn't have to be an evergreen. Consider decorating the plants you have with lights and tinsel. It is, after all, the greenery and splash of color that uplifts the often gloomy days of winter. You deserve that.

Baking, too, can seem a thing of the past. All that fudge, cookies and holiday bread are a bit much for those who don't need to add any more pounds to the weight they carry around already. But what if… you dig out your old favorites and made them anyway…and shared half of it with another? It's a simple way to honor your cherished memories and create new ones.

Shopping? Whether you're done with shopping for gifts (for yourself as well as for others) a little time at the local mall sitting by and people watching may yield some spirit-lifting experiences. Many of the larger malls are dressed to the hilt for the holiday and many of those have interesting events like Christmas caroling and live enactments to cheer shoppers. You can, of course, finalize any shopping you may have to do – but you don't have to. Just being in a cheery environment will make a lot of difference in how you feel about the season.

Handle the Pain

Yes, for some the holidays mark the loss of loved ones and bad memories of all sorts. It's easy to wallow in the pain…to feel like covering up your head and isolating yourself for a day or more. Don't do it. The more we dwell on our losses, the more depressed we become.

Rather, take a little time to celebrate the past and all the great memories of bygone years. Remember those loved ones we miss so much gave us lots or presents in each today they shared with us along our brief journeys. Sometimes it helps to write down some of those great memories. Write in the present tense. "I remember when…. We are enjoying…."

And then, look for ways to create new memories with new friends. The local homeless shelter and similar places are good places to start because they allow us to spend time with others who have lost so much more. Or, invite a neighbor out for a spot of tea or "coffee and". Even the local grouch may surprise you, given half a chance.

Don't Waste a Minute

The holidays will come and go whether we choose to participate or not. This may be a bitter sweet holiday. That's life. Why not add a little cheer to the mix for yourself and for others. Remember each and every day is a present.  Make this one special.

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