Life Advice



Ask Amy: Minimalist wants to maximize birthday gift

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

I did buy some gifts for myself to ease the day a little, but I will be alone this Christmas.

Please give me some advice of what a person can do when he is alone on this particular day.

– Sad and Alone

Dear Sad: Many churches are recognizing the extreme sadness and loneliness so many people experience around the holidays, and so they organize a special service, usually held on or around the “longest night” of the year, which is December 21st.

These services are called “Blue Christmas” services, and they are designed especially for people who mourn.

I attend one of these services every year, and while it can be an extremely tender and sad event, it can also be a time to recognize and understand in a deep way that you mourn — because you experienced the privilege of being loved.

The feeling of connection and community with others who are also feeling sad and lonely will help all of you to feel less alone.

If you can’t find a local service to attend, an internet search will turn up services available via Zoom or livestream.

You should have a plan in place for Christmas Day. Ritualize your experience a little bit. Toast your father’s memory, open your gifts, and force yourself to reach out to your closest friend or family member. And then – if possible – in the late afternoon, go to the movies.


Dear Amy: “Deflated Post Wedding” described his extreme disappointment that his daughter did not visit all guests at their tables during the reception.

Hello, isn’t this what the receiving line is for?

– Frequent Wedding Guest

Dear Guest: Yes, this is what the receiving line is for. Unfortunately, many couples seem to be fleeing right after their ceremony in order to spend time having photos taken of themselves.


(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2021 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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