How can you survive the holidays while single? Sigh. Isn’t that the question of the hour?
Part of me reads that sentence and thinks self-righteously, “That’s probably the title of a pathetic self-help book.” Then another part of me desperately wants to know what important advice I might be missing.
The songs and stores are telling us it’s the most wonderful time of the year – and it is – but it can also be a time of the year we approach with a certain degree of trepidation.
Every non-married person over the age of 22 has been at the family Christmas gathering when a random relative hits you with the inevitable questions, horrible assumptions, and inappropriate comments about your single status.
Oh the choices of witty and/or biting responses we’d love to use in those awkward moments. But instead, we smile graciously, make some excuse as to why our love lives aren’t quite up to par, and flee the scene of interrogation.
So, how do we do it? How do we make the holidays okay—maybe even fun—in the midst of potential awkwardness and embarrassment? While there’s no easy answer, here are my two (or four) cents:
1. It’s okay to be a little lonely.
Let’s face it: The holidays can be a difficult time to be alone. Between Christmas love songs and mistletoe around every corner, there are constant reminders that the holidays are meant to be shared with loved ones. Feeling sad that you don’t have anyone to kiss at midnight on New Year’s Eve is okay.
2. It’s not okay to sit at home and mope about it.
Celebrating the holidays, single or not, is vital. A few years back, when I was living in downtown Dallas, my group of friends decided to have an Urban Family Thanksgiving Dinner the week of the holiday. We invited a number of people, mostly single and a few marrieds, and enjoyed a wonderful time celebrating the season. This comfortable gathering was the perfect way to put us in the holiday spirit. While holiday events may be difficult at times, my guess is you will also find joy in celebrating the birth of Christ with loved ones at this special time of year.
3. Debrief with someone when/if needed.
This person can be your BFF, sibling, or a random stranger. But, bottom line, the holidays may take a toll on your emotions, for better or worse. It doesn’t have to be someone who totally understands where you’re coming from, although that would be nice. It just needs to be someone who will listen and allow you to process your thoughts and feelings.
4. Remember what’s important.
I realize this sounds trite, but it’s essential. Specifically, Christmas is first and foremost about celebrating the birth of our Savior, and the holidays should be about sharing love with friends and family. If this remains your primary focus, it should make everything else a bit easier.
Last year, I received a Christmas card with Psalm 126:3 printed at the bottom: “The Lord has done great things for us. We are filled with joy!”
Knowing 2011 was a tough year for the individuals who sent the card, I was impacted by their response to thank the Lord for His many blessings in the midst of less than ideal circumstances. If, like them, this Christmas will be difficult for you, I hope you can find the joy—and maybe even a bit of fun—this holiday season.
Do you have any other tips for surviving the holidays while single?
Shelley Ford is a registered nurse who spends her days as a nursing instructor teaching the next generation of wannabe health care professionals. A lover of spy shows, all things British, and Diet Coke, she’s also a big fan of her miniature schnauzer Bauer, who bears absolutely no similarities with his 24 namesake. Traveling is her passion and she has left a big chunk of her heart with the orphans of Lusaka, Zambia over the past 5 years. After countless occasions of adamantly swearing off dating for life, she met her husband Michael through (gasp!) a dating website and married him 9 months later when they were 31 and 34-years-old, respectively. While being single past 30 is never easy, she can say with every confidence that he was worth the wait.
*Photo credit: allenran 917