have concluded that the Christmas holiday runs second only to Valentine's Day
as the official "Season to Feel Sorry for Single People." It's a difficult time, they tell us. It's all about family and home and
hearth. It's about beautiful couples
exchanging gifts from Jared ("He went to Jared") in front of a roaring fire,
while their single counterparts are enduring another year of Christmas dinner
with relatives asking when they're finally going to get married.
never been one of those single people who dreads the holidays. I actually look forward to this season. Part of that is because I've been blessed
with a very close family. We're together
every Christmas, we have a lot of fun, and nobody shows the slightest interest
in giving me grief about my singleness.
I don't want
to dismiss the fact that there are single people who struggle during the
holidays. There is a lot of emphasis on home and hearth and togetherness. There are a lot of parties, which means a lot
of couples at parties, which means a lot of singles who feel out of place when
they show up "stag." And that feeling
could only be intensified by the nosy relatives who lecture our poor hapless
singles on the dangerous connection between excessive pickiness and eternal
I can't change
the holidays. I can't make parties less
"couple-ish", or make annoying relatives disappear. But I can give you a few pieces of advice to
make the season a little merrier.
the whole "poor, single you" routine at parties and family functions. I've never experienced this. But I have
observed that people tend to feel sorry for people who feel sorry for
themselves. Before you start blaming
everybody else for making a big deal of your singleness, take a look inside. Do you
make a big deal out of your singleness?
When you show up at a party without a date, do you call attention to
that fact by making excuses? Do you
complain loudly about the shortage of decent men/women available to date? Do you run around asking people to set you up
with their friends?
Worse yet, do
you avoid showing up dateless by hauling along some poor hapless Joe (or
Josephine) you barely know? I've never
understood this. I mean, it's one thing if you're really interested in getting
to know this person. Going to parties
together can be a good way to begin dating.
There are other people around, so there's not as much pressure to make
conversation with one person for several hours.
And it gives you an opportunity to see how this person interacts,
functions, etc. But that is entirely
different from bringing a virtual stranger to a party for the specific purpose
of "showing up with somebody" as opposed to "showing up with nobody." Do you think people don't see through
this? Trust me, they do. They know why you do it, and it broadcasts
one message: "I'm uncomfortable with my singleness."
The point of
going to a party is supposed to be to have fun.
And I'm going to have a lot less fun if I have to "babysit" some
stranger who doesn't know anybody in the room.
I learned a
long time ago that people take their cues about me from . . . well, me. If I don't seem to mind showing up alone,
they won't mind. In fact, they probably
won't even notice. In fact, come to
think of it, they're probably much too busy thinking about what people are
thinking about them. ("Does this dress make me look fat?" "Is my mascara running?" "Do they all still
remember last year's party when my husband got drunk and knocked over the
So when you go
to the Christmas party, or to the family Christmas dinner, don't make a big
deal about your singleness. Don't
complain about it. Don't overcompensate
by announcing how much you love being
single, how free you are and how you would hate to be tied down by a spouse and
a bunch of little rug rats. Just be your
best self. Focus on the other people in
the room. Show your interest in them.
don't forget the Reason for the Season.
We in the western world celebrate this holiday all backwards. The weeks leading up to Christmas aren't
supposed to be about overeating, overdrinking and hopping from party to
party. Advent is a time of waiting, of
preparing for Christ to be "born" in our hearts at Christmas. The more you turn your focus to prayer, to
quiet and to Christ, the less interest you'll have in obsessing over whether or
not you have a date for the office "holiday" party.