We’re almost there, folks. The yearly event that necessitates tryptophan naps and strategies for being single at Thanksgiving. When I say “strategies,” I use that word in a positive light. I will not suffer through another year of “survival” guides for single people. There is no reason in the world we should have to “survive” the holidays. I’ve never seen a piece of digital content titled “How To Survive The Holidays As A Newlywed” or “How To Survive The Holidays As A Happy Family Of Three.”
So why are there so many survival guides for singles? The holidays aren’t something we have to survive, they’re something we’re meant to enjoy. And I will do my best to equip you with a few of my favorite strategies for doing so.
1) Prepare Your Answers
You know they’re coming, the questions. As a single person, you are likely to hear “So, are you seeeeeeeing anybodyyyyyyy?” more often than Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” during this festive holiday season. We know the questions are coming, they always do. So let’s not stress, let’s just prepare a script, and learn our lines.
The biggest mistake you can make when asked this question is, in my opinion, to answer it. Smiling through it and sweetly muttering, “Nope, not yet!” is a missed opportunity. Because when you actually answer this question, you let people know it’s an okay question to ask again. A better course of action is to gently, and lovingly, put the question out of its misery. Try saying something along the lines of, “I’m actually not going to answer that question because it’s very personal to me, but I’d love to know how work is going for you!” or something to that effect. It softly suggests that the question was an unwelcome one, and deflects to another topic. Of course what we’d all like to say is, “No, I’m not, and by the way, how happy is your marriage, since you seem to think it’s OK to ask questions that are none of your business?” but there are kinder approaches, I promise you.
2) Don’t Go Home!
You laugh, but it’s better. First of all, if you love going home for Thanksgiving, obviously this piece of advice doesn’t pertain to you. Far be it from me to steer anyone away from something they love. But if you don’t love Thanksgiving, if you don’t love travel nonsense, and the holiday just kind of makes you feel like you’ll spend it running into old classmates at the grocery store, I really suggest staying put. Avoidance is a game plan! Thanksgiving hasn’t been a big deal in my family for years, and in the last few years I’ve stopped telling myself that I “have to” go home for it. Now, I go slightly upstate to a friend’s house along with a rotating cast of Thanksgiving attendees. We all cook together, watch holiday movies together, and play a game called Quiplash which I must insist you look into. It’s a 48-hour jaunt that’s incredibly manageable, and it’s about as chill as the holiday has ever been. If it stresses you out, it’s okay to sit this one out — that’s all I’m saying.
3) Don’t Skip Your Friends
Even if you do go home for the actual holiday, remember that Friendsgiving is important. Whether you host it, go to a friend’s place (probably the one with a dining table), or opt for the restaurant option, make sure you make it a point to gather your friends during the holidays and appreciate the season together. When we’re single, we can spend a lot of time focusing on what we don’t have (a relationship), and not enough time celebrating and expressing gratitude for what we do have — friends. Send the group text, make the plans, this is important.
4) Start Something New
Single people don’t really have events that are made just for us. And when we do, they’re literally always centered around dating, or ending what we are, as if we should focus on little else. I like the idea of starting a new tradition that celebrates singles in a genuinely fun way. For example, this year I’m having a single women-only cocktail party at my apartment. Zero stress, zero couples, zero chance to treat the event as a place to “meet someone,” so maybe we can all just actually relax and have a good time. Everyone will be required to bring one bottle of sparkling wine and one item that could realistically be found on a cheese board. We’re going to build a tiny house village out of gingerbread to model the one we’ll move to when we retire. This is going to be a good time.
5) Practice Gratitude
I mean it is Thanksgiving. I know we typically wait until January 1st to start our “I’m going to be a better person this year” song and dance, but I can’t think of a better time to start taking stock of everything we’re grateful for than at the start of a holiday season that loves to continually remind us of one thing we don’t have. Locate the nearest cute notepad and commit to writing one thing you’re thankful for on it each morning from here until New Year’s. My guess is that by taking an accounting of how awesome life already, you might also get a little clarity around bigger goals and ideas for those resolutions, too.
I don’t want the single community to look back on this holiday season and feel as though they survived it. I want us to feel like we loved every second. There are twinkly lights and holiday movies and pie for crying out loud. This time of year is amazing! Try to soak up every second, by coming at the holidays from a place of knowing that they are all of ours to enjoy, regardless of what our relationship status may be.