Being single around holidays can be depressing, but it doesn’t have to be. Yes, every movie, every commercial, is selling happy families, but anyone with a family knows that is not exactly the truth. I’ve had my share of family Christmases, of being half of a smug couple, but some of my most fun have been as a single. You only have yourself to please, you can choose who, if anyone, you want to share it with, you have absolute freedom to create the experience that you want…all you need to do is make up your mind – and go for it!!!
Here are my top traditions, created by me, to celebrate the holidays….
1 – Every year, I create my own Xmas card, using a photograph of me, usually somewhere I’ve traveled during the year, sharing with friends what I have been up to. I don’t bother with a newsletter, just a few, well-chosen words on a card…no cute pets, no mad sweaters, no posing in front of a fire place necessary. This year was one taken while visiting Alaska earlier this year – her is the front and the back…
In the past few years, I have been making my own calender, so each month, the next year, I can be reminded of fun memories and lost friends – Shutterfly.com – they always have special offers, so sign up for their emails, prepare your calender, photobook etc, then purchase when you like the deal being offered! I have never paid full price – and they save your photos for free…
2 – I buy myself the pressies that I would love to receive. This tradition started years ago; the first few years that I was in the States, I surprised everyone by sneaking back to the UK. The first year I didn’t go, nobody believed me when I swore I was staying in Los Angeles, therefore, nobody sent any presents. Come Christmas morning, I had nothing to open – talk about depressing!
Since then, I always buy myself new jammies, something to watch – this year, I’ve bought the DVD of “It’s A Wonderful Life’ – something to read, and something to play with – that last something may be used to further an Instagram idea – I’ll let you know, after the 25th…I wrap all my gifts and place them under, if not a tree, then my pine wreath!
3 – Go on vacation – this one can be done a few ways. I like to go away early December for a week to recharge my batteries before the madness of the season – it always puts me in the mood for the holiday season. This year, I’m off to a photography workshop at the Salton Sea. Or, if you can’t handle being home alone, go away…
Check out the deals on vacationstogo.com – late minute specials….or booking.com for hotels if you fancy driving somewhere local. When you’re a tourist/in foreign climes, soaking up new experiences, it’s difficult to feel lonely.
4 – A very silly one – I love singing along to the commercial-free Christmas music on Sirius radio in my car – it would probably drive people mad and I must look daft – but I don’t care.
5 – Decorate as much or as little as you like – don’t not put up a tree because ‘there’s only me to see it’ – if you would enjoy lying under a twinkly lit, Noble Fir tree, all sparkly and shiny with baubles and tinsel and dripping with cellophane streamers – do it! If you can’t be bothered, don’t. I usually put up at least a fresh pine wreath, some decorations, and all my cards. Do what makes you smile when you walk in the door….
6 – Usually by the time Christmas is here, I’m exhausted by all the late nights and fun parties, and want to hide. If you want to be alone, and have no family close that you’re obligated to see, you can choose to hide out at home. People will presume you’re going somewhere, so you can hang out in your (new) jammies, and relax, not worrying about weather or being nice. Depending on my mood, I love to watch either, The Godfather Trilogy, back to back, eat pasta and drink wine – or – do a marathon of Xmas movies – Love Actually, White Christmas, The Holiday etc. If I’m in the mood for conversation, I call friends around the world and check in with them.
7 – Conversely, if you want company and be around people, it’s the prefect time to be adopted by a friend’s family – your commitment to cooking is light – I usually bring wine and desert – and your main job is to entertain and keep everyone distracted from the family tensions that are seething under the surface from something that happened that morning!
8 – Or, host your own party – invite all the waifs and strays and singles that don’t want to be alone – who knows who you could meet? Get everyone to bring a dish or drink, but be careful – we did that in London, one year, and ended up with more alcohol than food, which was better than the year in St. Louis, where we ran out of alcohol by 7pm; all 12 of us ended up in a bar, dancing until closing time!
9 – Volunteer/donate to charity. There will always be someone worse off and lonelier than you – so, if you want to give back, donate food to local shelter, hand out food on the day to the homeless, with a big smile and grateful that you’ll be going home to your comfy bed, or give money to your favorite charity – tax deductible in the USA. I like Project Angel Food – who create/deliver meals to the homebound of Los Angeles – http://support.angelfood.org/site/PageServer One I am planning on doing this year – a non-profit in Los Angeles, their volunteers visit people in facilities, who have no one, and spend time just talking and listening, allowing them to feel not so alone… http://www.cardsforhumanityla.com/
If you have a family living locally, are in love and happy, spare a thought for your single friends and inquire whether they would like to be adopted for Christmas; there’s nothing worse than being alone because you think that everyone has forgotten about you.
If you’re single, embrace it – next year, you may be with family or have a family – this year, make it about what you need right now. Take stock in the past year, think what you want to accomplish next year, start making plans. It’s always time to be the person you want to be…
It’s not a crime to be single. And being alone can be fun. But feeling lonely is bad – reach out to someone – you know you can always contact me and I’ll listen/cheer you up – and I say to any stranger reading this – if you need a friend – contact me…my dad always said that a stranger is a conversation away from becoming a friend….
To my family – enjoy your time together – sorry that I can’t be there. To my local friends – thank you for being you – I love you and hope to see you soon. To my international people – I wish we lived closer, I miss you, and don’t be surprised if you get a phone call from me over the holidays….Love, Always, Yvonne xxx