Surviving and Thriving Christmas Single
I am an absolute believer that you can enjoy any holiday, single. You may already love Christmas and thrive in the party season, but if you don't, then this is for you.
Unset your mind.
I had a roommate who was dumped three years in a row by three different boys, each one on Valentines day. That's got to be the worst luck in the world. She said she could never enjoy the holiday again with so many bad memories. But after I put on the most lavish Valentines Day for her and a few handpicked single girls, she admitted that it had completely changed her feelings about the holiday. Success!
If you have negative feelings and expectations for the Christmas season, change your mindset. Release past experiences and expect to have good times. Don't do self pity. Singleness , even at Christmas, is not a lesser state. Nor is it something you are a victim of. It may not feel like it, but being single is always a choice based on your great value.
New Experiences v. Old Traditions
Christmas is a tradition above everything else. So it is easy to feel disappointed if our experience doesn't look like the traditional christmas card/Hollywood movie version of Christmas. Remember that every Christmas is different in every home and many aren't ideal or traditional either. Don't compare. Decide what you want to do and what you can do this Christmas and enjoy it for what it is. Christmas is just the best excuse to have fun and see people.
If you have a concept of the Christmas you want, create it (as far as it's possible). You will find that often we sabotage our own Christmas because we're not willing to jump in whole heartedly. If you want to feel Christmas then do it well. Whatever it is that makes the season Christmassy for you. Carol services, decorating your home, a fat christmas tree, candles, cooking dinner, buying and wrapping really good presents, driving home for christmas in traffic, going on walks that end in pubs or baking mince pies. It takes someone to make Christmas happen and now that someone is you.
this is the party season and the party season is the single person's season. So own it. Start saying yes to every invite, facebook or otherwise. Avoid couple centric parties (think Bridget Jones) and make sure you have a getaway car (yours or a taxi) so you can leave whenever you want. Better to go and leave, than to never go.
No Ugly Sweaters
Unless it's the party theme. Spend some money on you this season getting some new clothes, shoes and grooming. You need to be the hottest person in the room, particularly if the room is full of great aunts and children. If you are doing the extended family thing, do it befitting your singleton beautiful self.
Revel in Alone Time
All year long you're chasing your tail and that mental list of things you'll do when you have some spare time never gets look in. Sometimes it's hard to slow down, particularly if you use business to avoid feeling lonely, but it's important to know how to slow down and enjoy your own company. Read War and Peace, take long baths, walk the dog, redecorate, write letters, watch sports re-runs, hit the gym, start painting, pick up your guitar, wander antique stores...
Be the Host(ess)
The thing about single people is they get their way a lot, because there is no-one else's way to get. The same can be wonderfully true of people time when you are the host/ess. If you host a dinner, party, event or activity you get to control everything – so host at least one thing this holiday and do it your way.
Navigating the family
first count the blessings. Family or friends, with all their hang-ups, are still amazing assets. To be loved and to love is so important. So find people to love and do a good job by not judging to harshly and by laughing a lot. You may need a sibling, BFF or journal to help with the last part. Have an answer ready for uncle Alfred's annual question regarding your marital status and plan in escapes, trips to the store, the movies, a cave, or any other bolt hole you can envision. Above all, remember you are an independent adult and you (respectfully) make decisions for yourself. Don't be bullied by the collective or by ageists pulling rank.
Do something for Humanity
Single people often fall into the narcissistic trap of thinking it's all about us, because, well, it is most of the time. But, it leads to depression, always. So remember, while you may be sailing solo, there are many who are sailing solo on the streets or worse, trying to support a family in the Sudan. Give something of yourself to help someone else this year.
Need more sun or ski than turkey? Make the most of your time off to take a little trip. Oak Hall will find you some new friends or head off with a bunch of your own to somewhere you could never go with in-laws and children in tow.
...And finally the most important personal tip of all time:
Buy yourself (what I like to call) The Boyfriend Present
Work out how much you would spend on a partner if you had one and set it aside just for you. Then go out and spend it on a fabulous gift that you don't need, but you want. This way you are spending no more than you would have done and receiving no less. Just because he or she isn't around yet doesn't mean you have to miss out on the relationship bonuses. After all, you are just learning to budget right?
Do what you love, enjoy the break and love the people you have.