A Single Girl’s Holiday Survival Guide
‘Tis the season for matching sweaters, playing footsy beneath fuzzy blankets, romantic proposals next to a crackling fire, hanging stockings two by two …
Whoa, there, little lady. Did you say you’re single and all that holiday stuff doesn’t apply to you? Admittedly, the holidays, with their emphasis on all things family and romance and togetherness, can tend to make the single girl feel more single than ever. But the holidays don’t have to bring you down. Read on for some tips on surviving and even reveling in the season’s traditions.
Holiday diamond commercials. There’s the one with the couple driving through the snowy city night and he steals a glance at her profile, then grabs her hand and drops a string of diamonds into it, and the cabs all have to drive around them while they make out, and the tagline pops up, “love is a journey that knows no end.” Or the one with the young mother rocking her newborn baby in the middle of the night and her husband comes in and gives her a watch from under the tree and they kiss, because it’s their first Christmas as a family, and because “every kiss begins with Kay.” Quell that urge to take a sledgehammer to your flat screen. Might I suggest instead turning the channel to the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills? There you’ll be reminded that diamonds aren’t always forever.
Mistletoe. According to legend, a single girl who fails to get herself kissed under the mistletoe during a holiday season is doomed to remain single for another year. Before camping out beneath that bunch of silvery berries, consider that the solo fate may be preferable to finding yourself caught beneath the mistletoe with your boss’s creepy nephew or the drunken player who will dump you flat before you can say Happy New Year. Let mistletoe be your annual herbal reminder that it’s better to be single than to settle.
The holiday form letter. Sick of reading about Cousin Enid’s book club and duck-hunting husband and volleyball-playing daughter and tooth-losing son and family vacation to Destin? Send your own form letter, filled with tales of your freedom-filled glamorous single-girl year (just make it up if you have to), and don’t forget to enclose school-size photos of your pet cats with their ages scribbled on the back. (Example: Fluffy, age 17.)
Virgin births. You may hear some talk about virgin births during the season. And you may be hoping you’ve finally found the answer to skipping over the dating game entirely. Don’t cancel your eHarmony account just yet. My research reveals only one documented case of a virgin birth, and it was some two thousand years ago. Now put on your flirt and your favorite holiday lipstick and get back out there.
The holiday party. In fact, the holiday party is the perfect opportunity to don one of those cute “I believe!” Santa T-shirts from Target, down a cup of Candy Cane Punch for courage, and start a conversation with the hottie in the Santa hat. Better yet, throw your own party, so you can control exactly what’s in that Candy Cane Punch and who’s on the guest list (and thus your mistletoe odds).
Family gatherings. Study up before you head home for the holidays so you’re prepared when Aunt Frieda launches into the “why haven’t you found a decent man and settled down” cross-examination. His name is Eric, and he’s 38, a banker, no, an elementary school teacher, and he couldn’t join you because he spends his holidays delivering meals to the less fortunate and making sure stray animals have shelter from the cold.
Holiday volunteering. Speaking of which, just about the time you start feeling sorry for your lonesome yourself, consider distracting yourself for a good cause. You never know what good-hearted volunteer male-type you might run into while volunteering, and you’ll ensure yourself a spot on Santa’s “nice” list (which means he’ll bring you what you want for Christmas, as long as your wish isn’t for something unreasonable like Jake Gyllenhaal or a virgin-birth baby).
Shopping. But being single doesn’t mean you have to be more saintly than the next person, so don’t feel guilty buying that tin of Williams-Sonoma peppermint bark for you, yourself, and you. The way I see it, you have one less person to buy for than all those married gals fighting over bargain cashmere in the men’s department, so you can afford to treat yourself.
Hot chocolate. Drink some. You’re guaranteed to feel better no matter what. And if Aunt Frieda is particularly annoying this year, add a splash of peppermint schnapps. To your mug and hers.
Holiday travel. Don’t give up hope and automatically assume you’ll end up squished into the airplane between a five-year-old brat who repeatedly screams, “we’re crashing!” and a Unabomber lookalike with white spittle gathered at the sides of his mouth who’s openly interested in learning more about you. Maybe this year for once you’ll end up next to a dead ringer for Jake Gyllenhaal and accidentally fall asleep on his shoulder, and he’ll help you lug your holiday gifts to your connection and promise to call on Christmas Day. It could happen. And if it doesn’t, there’s always that hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps I mentioned above.
“I dreamt my whole life about being a mother,” says Heidi Jellison. “I never dreamt about a big wedding, honestly never even dreamt about the husband part.” Jellison, a 35-year-old concert harpist and harp teacher, laughs at this last bit, but then her face settles into a quiet solemnity.
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