by Gena Kaufman, Glamour
Conde Nast ArchiveLast year when I was still freshly off a breakup, it was all I could do to survive the holidays as a single lady. I put on a happy face when I could, and I occasionally even enjoyed myself, but mostly I felt bitter and tense and sad. Thank goodness for holiday champagne.
I'm not beating myself up for taking some time to get here, but this year, I could not be more into the Christmas spirit. All the bitterness I felt about facing the holidays alone last year has just evaporated into a haze of good cheer.
Here are 8 things that have helped me get there:
Reliving childhood traditions: Last year I was grumpy because I was dwelling on the past years with my ex-boyfriend, but I should have gone even further back in time! Remember when you were a kid and the holidays were about magic and fun, not being the only single person at the cocktail party? Sure, you can't avoid the occasional lone Christmas elf in a room full of Mr. and Mrs. Clauses situation, but you can still focus on the things you loved when you were younger. Personal Exhibit A: I've already dragged some friends to drive through a display of lights with peppermint mochas in hand, and stick around for the free cookies and Santa photo after.
Remember what the holidays are really about: If you're religious, there's so much more to think about than romance at this time of year. And if you're not, you can really focus on celebrating your family and your friends and another great year of your life, single or not.
Get social: Yes, the omnipresent jewelry commercials make it seem like the holidays are meant for couples (although hey, couples get Grinch-y sometimes too). But really, this is a GREAT time to be single: Everyone's getting together, hosting parties, hanging out. You know when it sucks to be single? In February, when no one leaves the house because of the freezing rain and you're stuck alone all the time (also, Valentine's Day). December is a single girl's dream month just for all the opportunities to dress up and where lipstick without a date.
Be a little selfish: Money is tight at the holidays, but I feel like as a single girl I am entitled to splurge just a tiny bit on treating myself too. (Hello, everyone else gets an extra present from their guy, and I'm saving by not buying for a significant other!) I'm going with one of these sparkly nail polishes for the perfect holiday manicure and a cute dress for a seasonal wedding, but a post-shopping massage, an extra day off work to spend relaxing, or even just a big old glass of eggnog would also do the trick.
Making new traditions: Do something festive that's just so you, like perfect a special holiday cookie recipe that becomes your signature gift amongst friends. For me, after years of living in teeny tiny New York, I got my first real Christmas tree since I was in high school. My roommate graciously let me take the reins in decorating it, so of course I promptly covered it in sparkly gold flowers and rose gold disco ball ornaments. It's the Gena-iest tree ever and I love it.
Get into the giving spirit: A good way to stop focusing on how single you are is to think about other people. I'm way ahead on my Christmas shopping and having so much more fun than I usually do picking out gifts for my loved ones (my friend's babies does not even know the cuteness coming their way). And of course, this isn't just about buying unnecessary presents: donating to a holiday coat drive or volunteering for a few hours will make you feel better than a kiss under the mistletoe.
Embrace the romance of the season: Even though I do think the holidays are about so much more than romance (see above), I'm also trying to spread the love and cheer into my dating life as well. I don't know if the lights and glitter everywhere are just putting a twinkle into men's eyes, but I'm feeling extra flirty these days!
Have yourself a very merry single Christmas!
Are you feeling good about spending the holidays single, or is it getting you down? What are your special activities at the holidays?
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by Gena Kaufman, Glamour