**Disclaimer: this post is NOT to be taken seriously. Merry Christmas all you non/lovebirds.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve recently claimed the status of singleton or if, like me, you’re well versed in the concept of going solo, Christmas can come as somewhat of a shock to the system. A season full of love, you can’t shake a bag-for-life full of merlot without whacking into a smooching couple. Not intentionally, of course.
I have just spent twenty minutes waiting for my train – politely minding my own business, might I add – while a loved-up twosome played tonsil-hockey mere inches away from my person.
Now, I don’t begrudge a good kissing sesh or a nice bit of PDA, but when you’re heading home to spend Christmas with your family, alone, for the fourth year in a row, you might be forgiven for muttering obscenities under your breath. That said, Christmas is the season of goodwill and all that, so I replied warmly to their cheery “Merry Christmas” as they barged on the train before me (as I attempted to navigate the throngs of people and clutching World’s Biggest Suitcase) refusing to release each other’s grasp.
I feel the need to state how much I love couples right now – some of my favourite people in the world are coupled, married, involved with someone – but come Christmas Eve, it’s hard to be as bright eyed and bushytailed, and romance seems to be EVERYWHERE. Except anywhere near you.
So as I head off on yet another train journey to my childhood home, to spend a few nights in my childhood bedroom, no boyfriend in tow – just the aforementioned World’s Biggest Suitcase and bag-for-life full of merlot – I feel the need to share with you lovely, single lot, how it’s extremely possible to supress the gloom and have a truly cracking Christmas flying solo.
Spend it with your family
Now I am extremely lucky with my family. My parents are flippin wonderful. I have the best time just hanging out with them and, yes, while they are still sickeningly in love, they are the type of people who would rather I go out into the world and have a damn good crazy ridiculous time, rather than worry when I will marry someone sensible, settle down and produce offspring for them to fawn over. The thought of my doing so seems to bring my father out in a cold sweat. They ply me with wine, spoil me rotten and make me belly laugh the entire time I am with them. We lost my brother eight years ago and so family, for us, is extremely important.
Embrace the family this festive season. Dance around the kitchen with your Mum to Taylor Swift. Get drunk and play quiz up with your Dad. Slip Grandma some more sherry and watch her say everything that comes into her head.
Tonight I will be going to bed pleasantly boozed up and looking forward to spending the day with people who truly love me. I can’t really get any better than that!
Plus Point: while it would be quite nice to be tucked up in someone’s arms, embrace the fact that you can starfish the hell out of that double bed when you’re in a red wine/turkey coma.
Spend it with friends
Friendmas is a relatively new concept for me. In all the years that I have lived with friends and housemates, I have never suggested spending Christmas with them. I think it’s because I love spending Christmas with my Mum and Dad so much that I’ve never considered it. But after two hip-operations (Dad) and a long year, my parents are opting to spend Christmas 2016 in sunnier climates. Despite offering me an invite, the thought of crashing the rents’ romantic holiday at the age of 31 is less than appealing. Instead, housemate I have decided to bring friendmas into the mix.
What better way to spend Christmas than with a whole heap of people you love getting drunk with?
Plus Point: You can get as drunk as you like. These people already know that three drinks makes you dancey, six makes you sleepy and a bottle makes you a tyrant at Monopoly. They know that Chardonnay plus Homeward Bound makes you weep uncontrollably. They’ve got your back.
Friends all in a couples? Most of mine are partnered up bar the ones who live further afield. Don’t be spiteful or jealous, bask in the happiness of your loved up friends. Spend time with you friends’ partners, get to know them, make them your friends. They love this person for a reason, time to find out what all the fuss is about.
Ever wanted to volunteer at a soup kitchen? Head out and help the homeless? Now’s your chance. Don’t wallow in your single state, use it to help those less fortunate than yourself.
There are a host of adverts on both radio and television this year highlighting various people who unfortunately might be spending the festive period alone. Just look at the John Lewis advert!
For all my joking during this blogpost, it’s an incredibly sobering thought that over a third of people over the age of 70 in the UK eat alone EVERY DAY.
Some older people have even stated that they have gone an entire month without speaking to another person. This is dreadful.
If you really do your research there are some great projects out there. One of the most recent campaigns comes from gravy giant Bisto,and is called Spare Chair Sunday. Joining forces with charity Contact the Elderly, the campaign seeks to connect those who might otherwise be alone with people willing to provide a chair and a meal at their family table. I am all for this and housemate and I will probably be signing up to the scheme in the new year. There’s nothing better than sharing good food and interesting tales around the table!
Plus Point: Helping others will not only give you the warm fuzzies but you will actually be making a difference. No-one should be alone, and certainly not during Christmas. Inviting someone into your home/life/conversation can be enlightening as well as great fun!
Spend it somewhere new
This is definitely on the single-girl bucket list. Ever fancy a change of scenery? A change of pace? Sick of the hustle and bustle of shopping centres as we rack up bills buying stuff we don’t need? Hop on a plane and escape it all.
Think you can’t afford it? Let’s just tally up all that money we spend on food and presents and I bet a plane ticket and a budget hotel/airbnb room is cheaper! Spend a fortune on your ex last year? Found the cash then, didn’t you? The problem is that we feel guilty spending such large amounts of money on ourselves during the season of giving. It’s time to be your own best friend and get yourself the present you really deserve this year!
For me, travelling at Christmas would be all about emerging myself in a completely different culture. Oh, and preferably getting to spend it in a bikini at a beach rather than wrapped in a festive knit!
Plus Point: Travelling broadens our horizons. If you’re feeling a bit dejected about the whole Christmas – even life- thing, this could be just the change you need! Just broken up with someone? Love life non-existent? It’s surprising what a bit of sun on your skin and a new place can do for the soul!
Sometimes just thinking outside our comfort zone can prove to be beneficial.
Who knows, your best ever single-person Christmas might be waiting! Embrace your singledom!
Have you ever spent Christmas abroad? Do you have experience volunteering during the festive period? Are you gearing yourself up for Friendmas this year? Could you bear to be away from your family? Or is Christmas for you all about smooching under the mistletoe? Let me know.