This is the type of advice, as a single person heading into “the most wonderful time of year”, you’ll get from reading the likes of COSMOPOLITAN and GQ. Getting a massage actually sounds nice, so I definitely recommend it, but it’s not really going to help chase away your holiday blues for long.
In fact, I would recommend you not try to chase away your holiday blues at all. I would encourage you to find a way to USE them. But I’ll get to that in a minute.
First, I want to let you know that I am not talking to you as an expert who is married with kids, looking back on one or two holiday seasons in my twenties when I showed up single at parties of mostly coupled people. I’m not going to tell you how to “just have fun!” in the hopes that one day you will be more like the rest of us grown-ups, driving kids around and secretly feeling nostalgic for the days when our lives looked like yours. I won’t talk you out of any misery by suggesting that you will be partnered soon and will eventually forget this time.
In fact, I have been in the trenches of being single for the holidays more times than I care to remember. I have spent holidays somewhat glued to Match.com, tearing out of family gatherings on sacred holidays to meet a potential mate for drinks. I’ve ordered take-out on New Year’s Eve, and sat on the couch with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and two chick-flicks in the cue.
There were a few holiday seasons in which I was wildly happy to be by myself, but mostly, I pinched my nose, held my breath and got through it like a 4-year-old showing Daddy I could dunk my head under water. I felt left out of society, alienated within my own family, and overly steeped in “I’m such a loser” self-talk.
What I’ve learned through all those times is that no matter how you feel about this time of year, the holidays can be a gift to single people because:
You have TIME.
Time to DO and BE.
Time to make art. Incidentally, most great art is born in the quiet of aloneness, so please express and transform those holiday blues by putting them to music, or on paper, film, or canvas, etc..
Time to read. Does anyone read books anymore? Try them, they’re great!
Time to rest.
Time to snuggle up with your comforter and watch your favorite holiday or non-holiday flick (for some reason everybody is talking about Elf. I’ve never seen it, but I’m beginning to think I need to. Thoughts in comments, please.).
Time to take walks alone and notice people. Or nature. Really notice.
Time to feel sorry for yourself, if that’s what keeps you company.
Time to grieve all the things you hoped would happen this year, that didn’t.
Time to gather yourself together and make new wishes for the New Year.
Time to return all the energy, the incredible, immense amounts of energy that you have been expending over the year to get someplace or to meet someone, back to yourself.
You may not have everything you want. But honestly, I don’t know many people who do. Or who have it all, for long.
But what you have is the luxury of time.
Make the best of it. Or not.
And remember, Love Yourself, no matter what
Do you want to find out more about getting through the holidays with true joy and setting up 2016 to be your best year yet?
The Holiday Singles Survival Camp starts DEC. 19! A two-week course designed to keep you laughing, creating, reflecting and connecting to you and likeminded others this season. SIGN UP by clicking the link.
I may not be truly qualified to respond in that I have been in a relationship for 37 years, and we’ve been married for most of them. But I do vividly recall the years when I was alone, visiting and going to parties as you write about it. Walking alone through Central Park, i’d wonder if I’d ever “them,” walking arm in arm from the holiday magic of a Lord & Taylor window scene.
Your advice is spot on. Activities that are solidly “me” and aligned with my interests actually do produce a strategic byproduct of causing the circle of friends to widen and the loneliness to dissipate. I believe your advice is really sound for holiday “singles” and quite possibly for the rest of us too. One can be too social, too extended, too stretched so these days become an exhausting blurr. Having a centering focus is a good thing.
Thanks so much for stopping by. I am so glad it resonated for you, even though you have been married for — gulp — some time! 37 years, what an accomplishment.
Beautiful. This is such a wise and wonderful perspective. It makes me want to break up with my boyfriend just so I can be single over the holidays.
Thanks so much for stopping by and making me laugh.
Refreshingly honest post my friend!
I’ve spent holidays without a ‘love’ … ‘soul mate’ …. ‘partner’ … for a decade now since Gary died. I still don’t like the holidays as much as I did when he was alive but I confess, it’s gotten easier to deal with over the years. And more than likely because I’ve learned how to be with myself ‘alone’. Which may actually be part of the reason I’m still SINGLE..which I don’t really want to be for the rest of my life but that’s for another time, place, and post! (grins)
The holiday season is an excellent time to channel all of our emotions into art, into music, crafts, writing…anything that will aid or allow us to transmute those emotions into useful expression.
Thank you for you real, heart felt honesty. I hope this post reaches the MANY people who struggle during this time of year.
Thanks for your heartfelt sharing, Samantha!
I hope it reaches many people as well. Thanks always for your part in spreading the word.
Happy holidays to you, dear one.
[…] Single for the Holidays? There’s a Gift […]
Lots of experience with holidays alone. Held my breathe through them many times until it became time to be grateful for the opportunity to enjoy them. Winter nights 8n front of a fireplace are not awesome alone at the same time often less stressful.
I hope your holidays bring you the happiness you deserve. Thank you for sharing such an authentic personal post. You are an awesome lady.
Tom, thanks so much for your beautiful response. I hope your holidays bring you the happiness you deserve as well.
I like your post and the permission you give not to “talk me out” of feeling whatever I feel. I am enjoying being alone this year. Enjoy that it’s better to be and do exactly as I please and what pleases me, far better then in past years (and there have been many) when I was with the wrong person and twisted myself into all sorts of pretzel positions to suit their needs in absence of my own. Wishing and all holiday joy and laughter, Stephanie