Even the happiest, most independent singleton can get a little depressed during the holidays. This family-oriented time of year has a million ways to remind you that you have no warm body to cuddle at night – in addition to the fact that it’s freaking cold outside, and you have no warm body to cuddle at night.
Your relationship status is always a hot topic at family dinners. Be prepared to ward off another round of nosy questions from relatives who assume that the only path towards happiness includes a marriage certificate, picket fence and 2.5 kids. Just hope that they don’t try to set you up. From the office fiesta to the big New Year’s bash, parties abound – and they require a lot more energy when you don’t have a plus one. And just the fact that another year has gone by can make you evaluate your status in life: where you are, where you’re going, what you’ve accomplished, and what you’ve haven’t.
But the holidays don’t suck just because you’re single – they suck for a lot of people. Think of your second-cousin who can’t get pregnant, or your third cousin who got pregnant too much and now has a swarm of screaming children. The holidays also suck for people who have said goodbye to someone special, have just moved, have lost a job, or have problems finding the money to buy presents.
In short: the holiday season heightens emotions, and is hard for a lot of people. A time of childhood hope and wonder can be a really dark time for adults. But if you approach the season knowing that you’re likely to feel lonelier than usual – you can counteract the power of the holidays to amplify your negative emotions.
So while everyone else is kissing under the mistletoe…
• Find another singleton at the party and chat them up. See, you’re not the only one after all.
• Focus on spending time with your family. Chances are, your eccentric old aunt, wayward brother, or second-cousin may be feeling a little lonely too. Taking the initiative and planning something fun will take your focus off your problems.
• Catch up with old friends. In your hometown for the holidays? Look up an old friend from high school and catch up. Stuck in the city? Call up that cool girl who moved away and say hello.
• Throw yourself into decorating the Christmas tree, wrapping holiday presents, baking cookies for everyone you know, or planning a party yourself. Pick your favorite holiday tradition and get busy.
• Volunteer. Spending some time at a local nursing home might seem like a downer, but you’ll be surprised at how happy – and young – you feel after you cheer up the old folks.
Finally, remember this: people kiss under the mistletoe because it has long been linked with fertility. The juice of it’s white, sticky berries resembles another viscous fluid associated with sex and romance. So when everyone else is kissing under the mistletoe… have a good laugh – and pour yourself another cup of eggnog.