Happy Holidays When You’re Single (Again)

Image courtesy of Vlad Studio

Celebrating the holidays as a single person can be tough. Watching all of the happy couples on television–seriously, could there be any more cheesy jewelry store commercials during the month of December!?–it is easy to feel discouraged remembering all of the years when we could count on having someone to meet under the mistletoe. This year don’t hide under the covers from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day; choose to find new ways to celebrate and enjoy this time of year.

Give Back: No matter the time of year, one of the best ways to get out of your own head is to help others. When you are focused on making other people happy it is hard to feel sorry for yourself; in fact, helping others less fortunate than you is a great way to be reminded of all the ways you have it pretty good. The bonus about the holidays is that there are even more service opportunities available now than during the rest of the year. Try serving a meal at a mission or homeless shelter, organizing donated food or toys for a local charity, adopting a family from a local Love Tree/Angel Tree–there are plenty of opportunities to make someone else’s holiday brighter. As an added bonus, volunteering can be a great way to meet other service-minded people, which means you can give back and expand your circle of friends at the same time.

Image courtesy of Saskia

Embrace Your Inner Child: Single parents may have a head start on this one, but even those without children can recapture that childlike joy that comes with the holidays. If you are lucky enough to live in a snowy area, get out and enjoy it! Build a snowman, go sledding, get in a snowball fight–the best part of being single is you can spend your free time however you choose. Heading back home breathless and rosy-cheeked from the cold, anticipating a warm mug of cocoa, is a great way to get in the Christmas spirit. Speaking of cocoa, why not enjoy it while snuggling under blankets on the couch watching your favorite old Christmas specials? This is something you can do alone, with your kids, or even with a few of your friends. Watching The Grinch Who Stole Christmas or Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is a great way to recapture some of that Christmas magic.

Photo courtesy of Carmen Zuniga

Decorate Anyway: Even if you are the only one who will see them, put up decorations. So many people going through the holidays after a breakup or divorce can’t bear the thought of getting out their old decorations, loaded with reminders of how it used to be. Even though it may be hard at first, getting out the decorations and making your home look festive will actually help improve your mood. If you really don’t want to get out the old stuff, why not go out and get some new decorations? One of the perks of being single means you get to do things the way you want, and that includes choosing how to decorate. While you decorate, play some classic Christmas music–a little Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, or Brenda Lee can help get you in the spirit of things. One caveat: if you do have children, remember that they like to have stability and continuity, so for their sake please incorporate some of the decorations/traditions they have come to enjoy and expect during the Christmas season. They have gone through enough change, so let them be comforted by some familiar Christmas traditions.

Image courtesy of Newsbie Pix

Treat Yourself: While you’re making sure to give back and help those around you have a Merry Christmas or happy holiday, be kind to yourself, too. Do at least one thing that makes you feel good during this time. It may be simple, like treating yourself to a pedicure or a massage. It could be more lavish, like booking a weekend away to relax and unwind. Fitness buffs might enjoy a holiday-themed fun run. Some are simply held over the holiday season while others encourage you to run while doing your finest elf/Santa/reindeer impression. Check out Race360.com for a list of races across the country, or search the internet for a list of races in your area.

However you choose to celebrate, just remember that this is one phase of your life, but it won’t be your entire life. Census data shows that the majority of divorced men and women remarry within five years. All too soon you may find yourself back in the hustle and bustle that comes with navigating holiday schedules for two extended families, so enjoy this phase of life while you have it. If you have kids, make the time you have with them special, creating memories and traditions you will all treasure for years to come. During the time you have all to yourself, embrace the fact that you can celebrate any way you choose. Giving yourself the freedom to be happy during the holidays is by far the best gift you can give yourself.