The familiarity of festivities – whether that’s cramming a Christmas playlist with cheesy tunes or sipping a Boxing Day sherry – can be cheerily comforting.

But some Canary Wharf workers don’t have lives that fit neatly into the supposed norm. And for those, counsellor Owen Redahan advises turning tradition on its head.

“Use Christmas as a cocoon,” he said. “It is something you can focus on and do something zany.”

He said the festive season could be used both by those fighting feelings of lonliness stuck in the office or couples struggling to establish their own identities as a catalyst positivity.

He said: “Whether you’re alone, with a group of friends or a couple, you can decide to do something different.

“What’s stopping you? Perhaps you don’t want to upset your parents?

“Remember when they first got together as a couple, they began to develop the traditions you grew up with.

“For those in a relationship, it’s an open discussion about what’s important that needs to be had. That’s the beginning of gelling.

“This is your time to pick a tradition – you don’t have to sit around for a Christmas meal – you could always go for a jog along the Thames instead.”

To these ends Owen gave us six suggestions for creating fresh Christmas traditions

1. For couples having their own Christmas, accept you might miss your family - but still be involved.

Owen said: “It’s old fashioned but why not send Christmas cards with letters saying you will miss them, have a Skype call, send emails and presents?

“I’d suggest limiting how much you look at Facebook over the festive season because seeing what others are doing could generate a painful longing.”

2. Don’t feel guilty for having alone time.

Owen said: “For some of us this time of quiet helps to recharge batteries and there is nothing wrong with that.”

3. Fancy a Christmas crowd?

Owen said: “If you do better in a crowd, find out who else will be around on Christmas Day and organise a dinner at your place, at a friend’s or at a restaurant.

“Although there’s electronic media, at a time like this, face-to-face contact is important if you don’t want to be alone so try to organise something.”

4. Volunteer at a charity.

Owen said: “Christmas is about family and giving and focussing on helping others can make you realise how fortunate you are.”

5. Tick off the to-do list.

Owen said: “Set yourself that task you’ve always wanted to do but have not yet got around to – tidy your apartment, paint a room or bake a cake.

6. Indulge in chill time.

Owen said: “If you don’t feel like doing anything then don’t and don’t feel guilty. Spoil yourself.”

Owen’s counselling room, in West India Quay, will be open for emergency appointments from Monday, December 28.