The Perks of Being Single During the Holidays
By Mary R. Dittman, M.B.A.
When you're single, it's natural to look at your married girlfriends and feel jealous. The advertising we see depicts romance and warm family gatherings. When you are alone, or without children, it's easy to idealize what the holidays must be like for couples and families.
But, what we imagine life to be like for our married gal pals usually doesn't reflect reality.
In fact, here are some reasons why your married girlfriends are actually jealous of YOU during the holidays:
1. You don’t have to go to stupid office parties.
One of my married girlfriends goes with her husband to multiple Christmas parties every year. He’s a manager at a very large company, and he is expected to attend several soirees.
She hates going. She doesn’t know the folks - they’re his coworkers - and between running their two kids around, working full time, and trying to get ready for the holidays, she’s beat!
She would prefer to stay home and chill out on the couch with some Netlix and a glass of wine, but she has to slap on a smile and go to the party.
And, she can’t nag him about leaving - it’s his company and he needs to schmooze. She can’t pout in the corner posting snarky, cryptic comments on Facebook - she has to be the manager’s wife and work that room with him.
Meanwhile, I’m getting a pedicure and texting her pics of me relaxing at the salon.
2. You don’t have to deal with in-laws.
Families are a package deal. Even the nicest in-laws are going to get on your nerves. They’re going to want to come and visit and stay longer than you’d like. They’re going to expect you to come to them and they’re going to be offended when you want to leave after “only one week.”
You’re going to have disagreements with your mother-in-law about the best way to cook a turkey, and your father-in-law may tell you the same joke 82 times if he’s on his 5th fifth.
And that’s assuming they like you!
What if your man’s fam is uber-dysfunctional?
One of my married girlfriends has to entertain her in-laws when they come to visit. Her mother-in-law doesn’t help in the kitchen. Her normally helpful hubby turns into a couch potato, and she has to wait on everyone hand-and-foot.
Then, when they go to visit these same in-laws, my friend is expected to pitch in and help with the cooking, cleaning, and entertaining.
Her holiday fantasy is to spend Christmas home, alone, in her pajamas. She’d love for her husband to take their two teenage daughters to his folks house a few states away so she can have some peace and quiet.
That same peace and quiet that feels like loneliness when you’re single.
3. You don’t have to act happy with a crappy gift.
Or, get into a fight when you let him know you AREN’T happy with the crappy gift.
It really hurt my feelings when the doctor I was dating (and hopelessly in love with) gave me a busted up box of teabags from Starbucks for Christmas. He threw them into a used gift bag and showed up like he was Santa Jerk. I smiled and thanked him, but it was clear what he thought of me.
It takes a lot of energy to pretend to be something you’re not. To hide hurt and disappointment. To act okay with something that isn’t okay. Save your energy and go buy yourself something nice.
4. You don’t have to share cookies or treats with anyone.
One of my married girlfriends has to hide her homemade peppermint bark from her two teenage sons. One year, they ate the entire stash in under 60 minutes.
Teens are like a school of famished piranha - that tin of Christmas cookies doesn’t stand a chance.
As a single, you don’t have to hide snacks. (Although, it can be a fun, adult variation of Elf on the Shelf. Or, kind of like finding Easter eggs if you forget about the snickerdoodle you stashed between the couch cushions.)
One of my neighbors starts November by baking her yummy chocolate chip pumpkin cookies and sharing them. I eat one (or eleven - who’s counting), then freeze the rest. All. Mine.
5. You can take time for yourself.
The holidays are stressful and hectic. Work may be crazy for you, but even if it’s not, traffic is nuts, stores are crowded, people are edgy.
You’re shopping, wrapping, decorating, baking, eating, socializing, and trying to keep up with the demands of the holidays. If you’re a single mother, you’re having to create an enjoyable experience for your kids, navigate issues with exes and their families, and remember to move the darn Elf on the Shelf.
When you’re single, you can build in some downtime, if you want to.
You can decline invitations to parties, you can control how much time you spend at events, you don’t have to stand in line to see Santa Claus only to have your child completely melt down because she’s afraid of artificial snow.
You can get a massage or a pedicure or take a relaxing bath. You can sit by your Christmas tree with a cup of tea and enjoy some quiet or a Netflix marathon.
Yes, the holidays can be stressful and lonely when you’re single. But the reality is: the holidays are stressful when you’re married. And, they can be lonely if you don’t feel connected to your spouse.
What if he’s a doctor and works on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? What if he leaves you with his parents to catch up with his high school buddies back home? What if he sits silently while his mom makes snarky comments about your hairstyle or tells him how great his ex-girlfriend looks?
There are blessings and challenges in every condition, and there is no perfect situation. Part of the One-Derful Life is being able to find peace and contentment where you are right now.
Make sure you get your One-Derful Life Holiday Survival Guide to help you through the season!
And, if you're trying to heal a broken heart, this will help.
What is your favorite thing about being single during the holidays?
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