Monday, March 24, 2008

Surviving the Holidays Alone

The holidays have reputation for being lonely and stressful for those of us who don't have anyone to share it with. But it can be a fun time too, if you know how to handle it. And trust me, being single is way less stressful during the holidays than trying to juggle all of the different things that need to happen when you're in a relationship.

Take Thanksgiving for instance. My plan? I'm going to get my turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes ready the night before. Then I'll get up around 6 in the morning, stick the turkey in the oven, and go back to sleep. I'll get up around 9, which will give me enough time to settle in on the couch in my underwear, watch a little pre-game show, and see the Pats and Lions kickoff at 9:30. I'm going to spend the day eating, drinking beer, and watching football. Sound lonely? Stressful? Not to me -- it sounds like heaven.

Now I'm not saying that if you don't have anyone to spend Thanksgiving with you should do what I'm doing -- it's not for everybody. But surely you can come up with your own plan -- something you enjoy doing on a day when you don't need to take anyone else's opinion into account. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or go on a road trip. Hey, Canadian Thanksgiving was back in October -- ever been there? Nothing will be closed. Whatever's going to make you happy. The same goes for Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah or whatever holiday you celebrate in December.

Just think -- if you're single, who do you have to buy presents for? No stressing over the perfect gift, except maybe to buy one for yourself and get your nephew something. By that token, I'm done with my holiday shopping already -- I got myself a new cordless drill last weekend, and I'm damn happy about it.

On the other hand, if you were in a relationship, you'd have all sorts of complications. Visiting your own family is hard enough, try working out the details of coordinating with someone else's family. Everyone has their own traditions, but you can't be in two places at once, at least not together. Do you spend Christmas Eve with her family or yours? What about Christmas Day? What do you do for Boxing Day? What the hell IS Boxing Day?

Then there's New Year's Eve. There's no way around it: if you're single, New Years just sucks. But you have to make the most of it so get together with some friends or go to a singles party. I spent last year at a concert with a half dozen of my best friends from school -- and their girlfriends. Fortunately I was with a big enough group that I didn't feel like a third wheel, but I wouldn't recommend it if it's just going to be you and two couples. And if you're lucky, maybe you'll find someone to give you a kiss at midnight, even if it is just a peck from one of your friends' girlfriends (thanks Rachel).

So if you know how to prepare yourself, being single during the holidays can be one of the most gloriously happy times in your life. You just have to be ready -- make a plan, keep busy, and do the things YOU want to do. Even if that means blowing off a holiday party to sit half-naked on your couch stuffing yourself.

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