February 29, 2024

How to Spend Christmas Day When Your Plans Change Unexpectedly

What to do if you're feeling disappointment or sadness on Christmas

Christmas traditions are often joyful and nostalgia-filled, but once the activities are finished and the celebrating has concluded, you may be left with a bit of time on your hands wondering, now what?

What to do if you’re feeling disappointment or sadness on Christmas

Cancelled plans are often disappointing, and over the holidays it can be even more distressing since many of us wait until this season to see family and loved ones, and the tricky weather in many parts of North America make things all the more unpredictable.

If you’re experiencing sadness over a sudden change in plans this Christmas, give yourself space to feel your feelings. And once you’ve done that, try and put it in perspective (simple, but not easy).

How to find perspective

This isn’t a process you can rush, but going through the steps does help switch your brain from the negativity it’s probably cycling through to something slightly more hopeful.

Think of a time where you had to deal with a change of plans and it worked out alright

What happened? How did you respond? How long did it take for you to feel OK about it?

Consider how much uncertainty there has been throughout history

Choose a time period at random or think about what your grandparents or great-grandparents may have gone through during large global events such as war or The Great Depression. How do you think they coped? What do you think they would do in your situation now?

Notice the thoughts your brain is giving you and ask whether they’re helpful or not

Our brains are amazing at keeping us safe and being cautious. But they’re also super negative. Are your thoughts helping you right now? Are they accurate? Are there better thoughts you could have instead?

If you’re able to process your negative feelings and move past them, now it’s time to plan some new activities to salvage the day the best you can.

How to Spend Christmas Day When Your Plans Change Unexpectedly

At-home Christmas Day activities

If your festivities wrap up earlier than expected, or winter weather ends up cancelling your holiday plans altogether, here are a few creative suggestions for spending Christmas Day at home and enjoying your downtime to the fullest.

  • Watch a favourite Christmas movie
  • Cook or bake something you enjoy making (and eating)
  • Read a book for fun
  • Rediscover a forgotten hobby
  • Have an at-home spa day—take a bath, give yourself a facial, walk around in a fluffy housecoat
  • Create a new playlist
  • Build a puzzle
  • Go for a stroll through the neighbourhood (and if you wait until dusk, enjoy the lights!)
  • Do a live version of the fireplace channel by lighting a fire in your fireplace (or, if you have a yard and it’s permitted, having an outdoor bonfire)
  • Send video or text messages to loved ones you keep meaning to call

For more suggestions, check out 7 Simple Ways to Make Meaningful Holiday Memories

No doubt you’ve been busy this year. Really busy. Too busy. If you find yourself unexpectedly without plans, embrace it! Not every suggestion from this list will be relaxing or enjoyable for you, so use these as a starting point.

Robyn Roste

Robyn Roste is a professional writer with blogging, marketing and tourism experience. She also has a bachelor of journalism and diplomas in media and communications and biblical studies.

View all posts


Get Faith Strong Today in your inbox!


Get in touch

Collaboratively harness market-driven processes whereas resource-leveling internal or "organic" sources. Competently formulate.