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How to Survive the Holidays When You’re Single


It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, a time when everything is merry and bright and peace and joy fill the air. Hallmark Christmas movies play on an endless loop on your screen showing the same recycled storylines where the heroine finds her true love and unexpected love burns brighter than the overly decked out holiday lights. A happy ending is served along with with a steaming mug of cocoa and some cloyingly sweet Christmas cookies.

How to Survive the Holidays When You’re Single

mug of hot cocoa for single people during holiday time

The reality, however, is very different. The holidays can be a difficult time for everyone. The pressure to buy gifts for those who don’t really need them, the frenetic pace to get in the last minute shopping, the increased traffic, colder weather, dreary dark days, parties, family gatherings, overeating, overdrinking, and the change in routine. All these factors contribute to making the holidays one of the most stressful times of the year.  It’s no wonder that many people would rather skip the holidays altogether!

And when you’re single, the holidays can become a time of dread, loneliness, and anxiety. From November to December, the holiday season can exacerbate negative emotions. From dealing with insensitive family relatives asking invasive questions about why you’re still single to your own overly romanticized ideas of what the holidays should be, the holidays seem to reinforce the fact that you’re still alone. And while you were okay being single during the warm summer months, the end of the year and all the celebrations and gatherings serve to remind you that you have not found your true love.

A Single’s Guide to Surviving the Holiday Season

single woman at a holiday party

But this is not the time to despair and brood about your singleness.  Don’t let the pressures of the season get to you. Be proactive in avoiding situations that will make you uncomfortable or sad. Accept your singleness and take preemptive steps to keep yourself busy and happy this holiday season. 

From dealing with insensitive family relatives asking invasive questions about why you’re still single to your own overly romanticized ideas of what the holidays should be, the holidays seem to reinforce the fact that you’re still alone.

7 Ways to Get Through the Holidays When You’re Single

There are several ways you can survive the holidays when you’re single.  Here I’ll give you seven tips to get you through the season.

woman sipping hot cocoa on christmas because she's single and alone and needs to survive the holiday season

1. Throw your own party. Throw the best party in town. Invite your single friends and ask them to bring a plus one.  Invite people you don’t know and ask them to bring someone along. If the Christmas angels work their miracles, you may even meet someone you like.

2. Go on a trip. Book a cruise, go abroad and invite your single friends.  If you just want to get out of Dodge, then book a cruise, or plan a vacation to an all-inclusive resort.  Better yet, invite your single friends.  They may be going through the same holiday angst you’re experiencing. And besides, you can find really great rates around the holiday season. Take advantage and book a trip.

3. Pamper yourself. Go to the spa.  Give yourself the gift of self-care.  Get a massage one day, a mani-pedi the next.  Get your hair done. Look fabulous for yourself. This is the time to indulge yourself and do something you didn’t get to during the year. 

4. Give of your time. Volunteer at your local homeless shelter.  I know it’s cliche but there are people who are struggling just to survive. Helping out by working at a soup kitchen during the holidays can really help you to put things into perspective. Volunteer at a local pet shelter.  Those furry babies need love and care during the holidays as well. Or you may just want to bake cookies and take them to a nursing home. Bottom line is that when you put others first you’ll stop feeling sorry for yourself and realize that things are probably not that bad.

5. Take up a hobby. Learn to crochet or knit. Because it requires concentration and repetitive motions crocheting and knitting can relax the brain and calm your soul. Make baby caps, scarves, sweaters, and donate them to a children’s hospital.  Again, you’ll be helping a worthy cause.

6. Give yourself permission to just get through the day. Do nothing, stay in your pajamas all day if you want to. Grab some of those cookies you baked and turn on that Hallmark channel and spend the day lounging around.  Don’t want to attend that holiday company party? You don’t have to. The dysfunctional family gathering? You don’t have to.

7. Don’t romanticize the holidays. Comparing the reality of the holidays to the romanticized version that movies and postcards portray, can only bring to light how inadequate we are.  No couple, family, or person will ever live up to the perfect standards portrayed by the commercial media. These portrayals set us up for an ideal that can never be achieved. Accept the holidays for what they are:  a time to celebrate with the ones we love and spread a little cheer to others.

You Can Be Happy During the Holidays When You’re Single

woman can be happily single during the holidays

Being single during the holidays can be pretty awesome. By shifting your mindset you’ll see that this is a pretty good time in your life. Take it as an opportunity to reflect on the past year and show a spirit of gratitude for all the blessings you’ve received. The holidays give us a chance to start a new year with intention and faith. Make the changes and adjustments you need and want and set your goals for the new year. And in the meantime, have yourself a merry little Christmas and a happy new year!