Single at Christmas? 4 rewarding things to do
I’m the sort of person who gets excited about Christmas far too early. Come November I’m cranking out the Michael Bublé, watching every cheesy Christmas movie imaginable and taking the long way home to enjoy the lights across my city. Only this year, for the first time, I’m dreading it. I don’t know whether it’s the age I turned this summer, the fact that I don’t have a permanent home at the moment or the number of friends who have recently got engaged or had babies. This year, I’d happily fast forward straight to January. I really don’t want to do another Christmas on my own. But Christmas is coming, like it or not, and I can’t hibernate for two months. So how can we choose to enjoy Christmas as a single person, when we’re really not feeling it?
Observe traditions even when it’s just you
Years ago when I was studying in Brussels, I bought a beautiful nativity scene at a Christmas market. I gave it to my parents and said: “Give it back to me when I’m married and hosting Christmas in my own home”. Fast forward and my parents still have that nativity scene, and I still don’t own any Christmas decorations.
Sometimes we feel like we have to wait to do certain things until we have a partner or family. Whether that’s investing in decorations, hosting Christmas dinner or observing a tradition that families usually do together. It can seem pointless or too much effort to do these things when it’s just you.
But you are worth that effort. So don’t let being single stop you from enjoying Christmas traditions. Last year I made my own Christmas cake for the first time. It was a lot of effort for just me, but I loved it. And yes I ate the whole thing myself. And it was delicious.
Enjoy the season with friends
I’d love to have a partner to do Christmassy things with. But that shouldn’t stop me from enjoying them with the people already in my life. Sometimes it just takes more planning – asking friends what they’re doing in advance and getting activities booked in.
I always go away with my best friend for New Year, and not only does it avoid the whole “couples kissing at midnight” thing, but it’s also an important time for our friendship and a great way to fill that strange post-Christmas gap when others are often busy seeing family.
If you’re single at Christmas, be kind to yourself
I’m a sucker for a Hallmark Christmas film. Woman moves to small town, meets the perfect man at the town gift wrapping festival, stars in a movie montage of Christmas dates and snowball fights and is engaged by the end of the week.
They’re a guilty pleasure, but they always leave me feeling a bit empty and dissatisfied with my own life. So this year I might watch ‘Die Hard’ and films about Santa Claus instead.
If there’s a particular Christmas tradition that’s painful for you, it’s ok to say no. It’s ok to avoid the Christmas rom coms. It’s ok to skip the family crib service at church. It’s ok to make Christmas plans with friends if your family gathering is just too difficult. It’s ok to be kind to yourself.
Remember what Christmas is actually about
This year I’m doing an Advent devotional so that in the weeks leading up to Christmas I can remind myself what it’s really about. It’s not about romance or family. It’s about hope. It’s about celebrating the birth of Jesus, who came to earth as a single man, to redeem every thing, every person and every situation.
It wasn’t a coincidence that the shepherds, the lowest in society, were the first to hear about it. It was good news for them. And it’s good news for us. So if you’re feeling lonely this Christmas, walk through it with Jesus. Because he’s what it’s all about anyway.