It’s ok if Christmas isn’t the most wonderful time of the year

pine tree branch and pine cone covered with frost
Head shot of Victoria Fenton

Article by: Victoria Fenton

Publication date:

The Christmas and New Year period is a happy one for many people, a time for socialising and catching up with loved ones, but this isn’t the same for everyone.

We understand that some of you won’t be celebrating Christmas, or you won’t be travelling home to spend it with your family and friends. Perhaps you just don’t really enjoy the festivities.

Regardless of the reasons, we’ve put together a list of activities that you can do if you find yourself alone on Christmas day and wanting a distraction.

  • Join a walking tour group – whether you’re new to London and want to learn your way around, or you just fancy a wander, there is a walking tour taking place on Christmas day. It leaves from Trafalgar Square at 2pm.
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen – volunteering can make you feel good any time of the year, but it is extra special on Christmas. Soup kitchens are the most common place to go and help – as they are busy serving Christmas dinner all day for those who are in need.
  • Take a Christmas lights tour – London’s Christmas lights are one of the most magical things about being in the big smoke! The golden tour company are running these all day on the 25th, and it includes 90 minutes on a London bus admiring the spectacular sparkle.
  • Indulge in a pub lunch – there are many places across London that will be open for food on Christmas Day so you can go and get yourself a nice feast. If you’re struggling financially, there are even places that will offer a meal and a drink for free. It’s also a nice chance to meet some new people.
  • Take a walk round Hampstead Heath – nothing quite beats a moody wintery walk, and we think Hampstead Heath is the ideal place for it. The swimming ponds will also be open (despite the freezing weather conditions) so you can cheer on those deciding to go for a Christmas day dip!
  • Stay creative – even if you’re not a fan of Christmas, the city does look beautiful with all the lights (and perhaps a bit of snow)… why don’t you practice your photography skills or try and make a TikTok?

Oxford Street

A red bus travels down Oxford Street which is decorated with Christmas lights

A lot of people are concerned about money this Christmas and worried about being able to pay for presents and meals out. We don’t think Christmas needs to be expensive; here are a few ways you can keep to a reasonable budget:

  • Secret Santa – instead of buying all your friends a gift, why not get into a group and arrange secret Santa? It means you only need to buy one present, and everyone gets a surprise!
  • Charity shop presents – you can pick up some excellent and unique gifts these days in charity shops and we think it’s a great way to save on some cash.
  • Cook in – instead of going out for food or drinks in the lead up to Christmas, you could invite friends over and cook for them. Ask everyone to bring a dish and you will have an epic feast for far cheaper than if you’d gone out!

doing some work

Someone uses a calculator and writes in a notepad

Finally, if the holiday season gets you down and you feel depressed or anxious, there are always people you can talk to. We have a free counselling service here at Ravensbourne for all students, as well as a nightline for out of hours. You can also check out the resources within our Students’ Union.