Survey says 2.3 million Californians will spend Christmas alone

Loneliness is more than a silent battle for millions of Americans; it’s a public health concern with serious mental and physical side effects. During the holidays, this issue is magnified.

The festive season, a time synonymous with togetherness, can be isolating for those who find themselves alone, making the cheer a reminder of solitude.

Delving into this poignant aspect of the holiday narrative, conducted a survey of 4,000 respondents dwelling in single-person households, aiming to understand the prevalence of solitary Christmases. Alarmingly, the survey illuminated that a staggering 19 million people are preparing to spend Christmas in solitude this year.

A deeper analysis revealed a state-wise disparity, with Oregon emerging as the state with the highest proportion of solitary celebrants—nearly half of its surveyed residents (45 percent) facing a lonely Christmas, which translates to 533,786 adults.

In California, one-in-four respondents said Christmas will be spent alone this year, equating to 2,344,461 people.

Conversely, Tennessee emerged as the least lonesome state for the holiday season, yet the numbers remain significant, with approximately 238,000 Tennesseans – 12 percent of the surveyed population—anticipating a solitary Christmas.

Respondents were also asked to rank the days they found most challenging to spend alone…

  • Christmas Day, carrying 42 percent of the vote, stands out due to its cultural significance as a day of family gatherings and shared joy, making the pangs of isolation acutely felt amidst widespread celebration.
  • Personal birthdays, with 22 percent, often underscore the personal aspect of celebration, and lacking companionship on this day can intensify feelings of neglect and insignificance.
  • Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, each at 11 percent, are times when the anticipation of festivities and the tradition of counting down together heighten the sense of exclusion when spent alone.
  • Thanksgiving, securing 10 percewnt of the votes, is traditionally a day for gratitude shared among loved ones, making solitude on this day particularly poignant as it may underscore the absence of close bonds.
  • Easter Sunday, though only at 2 percent, is a day often associated with renewal and family, and spending it alone can be a stark reminder of solitude, contrasting with the communal gatherings that usually mark the occasion.

Facing the prospect of a lone Christmas, survey participants shared their coping strategies, a variety of solitary activities to occupy the festive hours:

  • Online gaming (26 percent).
    • Movies binge (19 percent).
    • Hobbies (15 percent).
    • Cooking (15 percent).
    • Volunteering (11 percent).
    • Reading (8 percent).
    • Online communities (6 percent).

Finally, also posed a hypothetical question to those who will be spending Christmas surrounded by family: Would they extend an invitation to a neighbor known to be spending the holiday alone?

The response was a heartening testament to human kindness – 88 percent affirmed that they would welcome their neighbor into their home to share in the Christmas spirit.

“The data paints a vivid picture of the silent struggle many face during what’s supposed to be the most joyous time of the year. It’s a powerful reminder that while we celebrate in our homes, we must not forget those who might be looking on from the shadows of solitude. We believe in the strength of community, both online and offline, to bridge the gap and light up the spirits of those spending these significant days alone,” says Holger Sindbaek from, Special to