We’re not doing this anymore. Not on my watch. This year, we won’t be sad from now until January 2 just because we’re single. Because that’s, in old fashioned parlance, bullshit. No more “survival guides” for single women telling us how to stealthily move into the kitchen to help with the yams when Aunt Susan starts asking about our love life. No more tech detoxes to avoid the romantic milestones of others. We shouldn’t have to avoid Instagram just because Jenny Whatsherface is on there with a newly bedazzled left hand. This year, this year my friends, we are going to fully live the holidays — because we can. We are free and untethered to enjoy, indulge, and appreciate every single second of the season precisely the way we want to. The holidays are our oyster. We ain’t surviving shit.
As with anything single women don’t want to hate anymore, a shift in thought pattern is required. That’s why I’m happy to gift you (see what I did there?) with a few ways I’m no longer subscribing to holiday season single sadness this year. I hope you’ll join me.
Getting Zero Presents
Waking up on Christmas morning with nothing more than my cat under the tree is, apart from slightly adorable, kinda sad. Gifts are lovely, because they usually mean someone you love had you in their thoughts and selected a gift for no other reason than to make you happy. Never receiving a gift in that capacity can, over time, suck ass.
Rather than sulk at my gift-less tree skirt (lol, I don’t have a tree skirt, my cat pees on them), this is the year that I remember one thing that coupled people have that I have, too: a bank account. Bonus: I have fewer people to spend money on! I will absolutely be buying myself holiday gifts this year. I’ve made an extensive list and am mulling (I’m really funny guys) it over before I make my selections.
I know what you’re thinking: “Shani, half the fun is being surprised. You can’t surprise yourself.” Like hell I can’t. Mystery boxes, subscription boxes, advent calendars — what good is the millennial economy if we can’t use it to our single person benefit? Do some research on the types of surprise gifts you’d enjoy most. They cover a lot of ground, from beauty, to snacks of the world, to Harry Potter swag in case anyone would like to send me a little something. A bit of research and creativity are all that’s required to send yourself presents you don’t know the contents of. If you actually manage to save them until it’s traditionally time to open presents, I applaud you.
Getting Zero Party Invitations
First of all, yes, I have friends. It’s just that few of us live in spaces large enough for big gatherings, and most of us dread the clean up afterward. I am also a freelancer and thusly have no office party to buy a sparkle dress for. (I do understand that many people look at this as a positive and I think that’s nice.)
The way I see it, if I’m not getting invited to parties and I want more excuses to wear magpie-inspired fashion, I have two choices. First, throw a party myself. But I tend to over stress about hosting and make things more complicated than they need to be. Truly, I could fill my bathtub with ice and bottles of champagne, turn my kitchen island into one giant cheese board, and that would just about cover it. Second, I could spend my no-invitation nights having more meaningful one-on-one or small group gatherings, and enjoy the holiday offerings all around this city that never sleeps. Perhaps you’ve heard of it, New York City. I’m always so lit up (yes that’s a menorah reference) by emails I get sharing all the bars and restaurants that are themed for the holidays. Maybe a less-than-packed social calendar is my invitation to venture out and visit these establishments.
Social Media Sand Traps
Whatever functionality Instagram decides to leave us with this holiday season, people are going to be posting — a lot. This is a joyful time of year and the natural instinct is to share that joy. And probably also brag about engagements and weddings a little bit.
Rather than see each moment of happiness as something we don’t have, I really feel strongly that we should take every milestone, story, and expression of love as an opportunity to remind ourselves of what’s possible. The single space can be a narrow one, especially around the holidays. It can be so easy to stew in jealousy and swipe through dating apps with desperation as some kind of antidote to feeling left out. But if we viewed each scroll instead as a beautiful reminder of what can happen, rather than what hasn’t happened for us, we can approach the holiday season from a much more positive place.
I look forward to engagement and wedding photos now, and I can’t wait to hear stories of how people met. It reminds me that anything can happen, and I like that. I feel much more open to possibility and joy of all kinds when I approach life knowing that social media is not out to get us. Except for Twitter. Twitter’s kinda mean.
Awkward Family Conversations
If, unlike me, you haven’t built a career of advocating for singlehood no longer being treated like leprosy, your family might still be prone to asking unwanted, deeply personal, and none-of-their-damn-business questions. Your single status and dating life are your concern and yours alone, but that idea hasn’t quite caught on as fast as we’d like. I’ve tried to hire whoever did PR for Pokémon GO and/or White Claw, but so far I’ve been unsuccessful.
The worst thing you can do when presented with these questions is smile, shrug, and say, “nope, not yet!” That response doesn’t teach the asker anything. It all but ensures that you’ll get asked the same question again. Worse still, they might ask someone else the same, rude question. So to stand a little taller in your single worth and do some work to protect your single sistren, it’s imperative that we all, as a collective, stop answering this shit. Let them know it’s not a topic you enjoy discussing. Tell them it’s really not their business. Ask them how happy their marriage is, if you’ve had a few. However you refuse, just refuse — because that’s the only way we take this crap off the table, for good.
Overall Holiday Season Single Sadness
I just want a more positive take on it this year, that’s all. I want single people to approach the holidays with excitement. I want them to think of all they get to enjoy and experience, and to tailor this year completely to what they like most. Approach the holidays with an understanding that as single adults, we are the most free version of humans. We can make any decisions we want. We can celebrate (or not) however we want. We can gift (or not gift) whoever we want. We can be (or not be) wherever we want. You guys, we are Uncle Jamie. Don’t waste this!
It’s my hope that every single single person reading this has their happiest holiday yet. I hope you make a list of everything you want to do, everything you want to give, and most certainly everything you want to bake — and then experience it all. We don’t have to have lesser versions of anything, and certainly not lesser versions of the holidays. This isn’t about surviving. It’s about enjoying, celebrating, and having gratitude. I’m grateful for my solo holidays, because they look, feel, and sparkle exactly the way I want.