Should You Dread the Holidays?


Should You Dread the Holidays?

            I
have concluded that the Christmas holiday runs second only to Valentine's Day
as the official "Season to Feel Sorry for Single People."  It's a difficult time, they tell us.  It's all about family and home and
hearth.  It's about beautiful couples
exchanging gifts from Jared ("He went to Jared") in front of a roaring fire,
while their single counterparts are enduring another year of Christmas dinner
with relatives asking when they're finally going to get married.

            I've
never been one of those single people who dreads the holidays.  I actually look forward to this season.  Part of that is because I've been blessed
with a very close family.  We're together
every Christmas, we have a lot of fun, and nobody shows the slightest interest
in giving me grief about my singleness.

I don't want
to dismiss the fact that there are single people who struggle during the
holidays.  There is a lot of emphasis on home and hearth and togetherness.  There are a lot of parties, which means a lot
of couples at parties, which means a lot of singles who feel out of place when
they show up "stag."  And that feeling
could only be intensified by the nosy relatives who lecture our poor hapless
singles on the dangerous connection between excessive pickiness and eternal
spinsterhood.

I can't change
the holidays.  I can't make parties less
"couple-ish", or make annoying relatives disappear.  But I can give you a few pieces of advice to
make the season a little merrier.

First, about
the whole "poor, single you" routine at parties and family functions.  I've never experienced this.  But I have
observed that people tend to feel sorry for people who feel sorry for
themselves.  Before you start blaming
everybody else for making a big deal of your singleness, take a look inside.  Do you
make a big deal out of your singleness? 
When you show up at a party without a date, do you call attention to
that fact by making excuses?  Do you
complain loudly about the shortage of decent men/women available to date?  Do you run around asking people to set you up
with their friends?

Worse yet, do
you avoid showing up dateless by hauling along some poor hapless Joe (or
Josephine) you barely know?  I've never
understood this. I mean, it's one thing if you're really interested in getting
to know this person.  Going to parties
together can be a good way to begin dating. 
There are other people around, so there's not as much pressure to make
conversation with one person for several hours. 
And it gives you an opportunity to see how this person interacts,
functions, etc.  But that is entirely
different from bringing a virtual stranger to a party for the specific purpose
of "showing up with somebody" as opposed to "showing up with nobody."  Do you think people don't see through
this?  Trust me, they do.  They know why you do it, and it broadcasts
one message: "I'm uncomfortable with my singleness."

The point of
going to a party is supposed to be to have fun. 
And I'm going to have a lot less fun if I have to "babysit" some
stranger who doesn't know anybody in the room.

I learned a
long time ago that people take their cues about me from . . . well, me.  If I don't seem to mind showing up alone,
they won't mind.  In fact, they probably
won't even notice.  In fact, come to
think of it, they're probably much too busy thinking about what people are
thinking about them.  ("Does this dress make me look fat?"  "Is my mascara running?" "Do they all still
remember last year's party when my husband got drunk and knocked over the
Christmas tree?")

So when you go
to the Christmas party, or to the family Christmas dinner, don't make a big
deal about your singleness.  Don't
complain about it.  Don't overcompensate
by announcing how much you love being
single, how free you are and how you would hate to be tied down by a spouse and
a bunch of little rug rats.  Just be your
best self.  Focus on the other people in
the room.  Show your interest in them

And finally,
don't forget the Reason for the Season. 
We in the western world celebrate this holiday all backwards.  The weeks leading up to Christmas aren't
supposed to be about overeating, overdrinking and hopping from party to
party.  Advent is a time of waiting, of
preparing for Christ to be "born" in our hearts at Christmas.  The more you turn your focus to prayer, to
quiet and to Christ, the less interest you'll have in obsessing over whether or
not you have a date for the office "holiday" party.





13 Comments

  1. Roslyn-80300 December 10, 2008

    Can't agree with you more! way to go

  2. Karen-386447 January 5, 2009

    VERY WELL SAID…BUT THE HOLDIDAYS ARE A LONELY TIME…I FEEL SO LEFT OUT OF COUPLE THINGS…YOU CANNOT HELP BUT FEEL THE FIFTH WHEEL…BUT I GO, AND SMILE AND MAKE THE BEST OF IT…I WILL HELP DO DISHES, CLEAN UP OR START EVERYONE TELLING JOKES…LAUGHTER IS A WONDERFUL THING…HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL…KAREN

  3. Raymond-405642 January 19, 2009

    Wow!!!! R U spoiled and selfish!!!!!
    - Single

  4. Claudia-490212 October 13, 2009

    I don't have time to feel lonely, like you my family gets together and it is never about gift giving but being together. As a matter of fact, growing up in my country we did not exchange gifts till the Epiphany (Jan 6). Nowadays I'm usually the one cooking for Christmas anyway, so I'm so busy I don't have time to feel all sad and blue.

  5. Andrew-155566 October 14, 2009

    Thank you for this, I needed it this morning.

  6. Patrick-467674 October 14, 2009

    Christmas is not really a problem. New Year's Eve? Now that's a problem ….

  7. Kara-405819 October 19, 2009

    I'm in agreement with most of this; I love being with my family at the holidays and realizing the holiday season isn't about gifts, parties, or being single, it's about enjoying family, friends and blessings. Now, New Year's … there's a whole 'nother issue! NYE is terrible alone, talk about a third wheel!

  8. I do appreciate this article and I too love Christmas and celebrate the beauty of Advent! What makes it difficult for me, however is the inability to share the joy of this season in a tender/close way – someone to joke with when that one light burned out…so the whole set is kaput! Someone to kiss under the misletoe. Drinking wine in the city on a cold night and looking at the decorations. Good family/friends or not, there's just some things I simply can't enjoy as fully as a single person.

  9. Megan-498908 October 24, 2009

    This was great! I agree 100%!

  10. Cristen-322876 October 25, 2009

    This is a great post. Thanks for keeping the focus on Him. It makes everything good.

  11. Mary-285153 October 30, 2009

    Christmas isn't one of those holidays that meant being alone and single for me. I guess I'm lucky because I have a large extended family and it's all about celebrating one of the most beautiful days about Christ, giving and loving. It's when I'm away from home that I get the single-sick bug and that's when it's not the holidays. lol, so I guess I get the opposite to a lot of people. except Valentine's Day, and the past couple have been particularly annoying lol.

  12. Jim-397948 November 1, 2009

    YES, I would love to slip out the back door and go to the Bahamas…Forget the cold!!!!

  13. Cherie-466896 November 2, 2009

    This was a good read. It really makes me look forward to the holiday's and the singleness that you talk about it. love it!!

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