The Single Person’s Holiday Survival Guide

Sure, you could sit around thinking, “Why aren’t I in a relationship?” Or, you could celebrate your unattached status with these fun ideas.

By Laura Gilbert

ure, we all like to think of the holidays as snuggling-by-the-fire season. And when that time of year comes around with no boyfriend or girlfriend in sight, it can be a little disheartening at first. But fear not! This month, more then any other time of the year, is packed with amazing activities that are actually better when enjoyed solo. The point isn’t to forget you’re single—it’s to bask in all the fun freedoms that come with it. Here are a few ways to get started.

Stockpile some great entertainment
Before the holidays start, turn your home into a bunker of fun with a bunch of great movies and books you know you can totally get lost in. That way, if you wake up on Christmas and realize nothing is open, you don’t have to worry about being stuck listlessly watching A Wonderful Life repeats and identifying with the jumping-off-a-bridge part. Book-wise, we recommend series rather than single tomes (think The Hunger Games, E. L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey series, or Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic books). Same goes for TV (if you haven’t binge-watched Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead or Scandal, now’s definitely your chance). If you must have a holiday movie, we suggest the anti-sappy, laugh-out-loud Elf or at-least-I’m-not-the-only-one-with-a-bonkers-family Home for the Holidays.

Guesstimate how much you’d spend on a gift for a significant other…then buy yourself something instead.
Adopt a pet self-improvement project
Don’t you hate that annoying “So what will you do over the holidays?” question that everyone from your cube mates to random acquaintances is asking this time of year? Rather than responding with a lame “not much,” wanna really throw them for a loop? Try “I’ll be getting certified in scuba diving,” “I’ll be learning handwriting analysis, or “I’ll be running a 5K.” Find an activity you’ve been meaning to try (ideally one that’s conquerable in your vacation time) and broaden your horizons. Show the world that, single or not, you’ve got plenty on your plate.

Smooch your way through December
Take full advantage of mistletoe at any gathering where there’s a cutie. You get in trouble for doing stuff like that when you’re attached.

Let your holiday food obsessions rule
One of the very best parts about the holidays is the food, and that’s just as enjoyable single as dating…In fact, it might be better, because you don’t have to share. Stock up on eggnog (or peppermint stick ice cream, or stuffing, or whatever seasonal food you’re obsessed with). The balanced-diet police might not approve of your pumpkin pie-packed refrigerator, but that’s why you’re not dating the diet police.

Get the heck outta here
One the most fun aspects of being single: complete freedom from another person’s family obligations. Make the most of your unattached status (and become the envy of couples everywhere) by celebrating the holidays in another part of the world. Log onto a travel site and scroll for a discount trip to a beach, singles cruise, or anywhere in Europe (it’s off-season so it’ll be cheap). If you’re hesitant to travel solo, enlist an also-single friend to go with you, or visit a far-flung pal who’s made a home somewhere sun-drenched. Who knows what kind of stories you’ll come home with…

Start your own to-die-for tradition
You don’t need an almost-fiancé to start some amazing holiday habits. Invite a group of friends to go ice-skating, hot-chocolate tasting, tree-trimming (you provide tree and craft supplies, they provide artistic genius). Or if you and your friends are less traditional, organize a totally non-seasonal outing that lets people take a much-needed break from holiday overload—book a group of tanning beds, go play paintball, invite them over to bake non-Christmas cookies (get Halloween cookie cutters and orange icing instead of red and green sprinkles) or go to a dinosaur museum. Either way, give your event a clever name starting with your own name (think “George’s Jolly Paintball Massacre” or “Lisa’s Blizzard Tan Bonanza”), and send out real invites to signal the start of your cool legacy.

Take full advantage of mistletoe at any gathering where there’s a cutie.
Get a great gift…for yourself
Guesstimate how much you’d spend on a gift for a significant other, then use that money to buy yourself something instead. As long you still spend less than you would have on a partner, you’re actually saving money. Seriously. Well, probably. What the hey, who’s counting? Get yourself something sweet, OK?

Revel in holiday guilty pleasures
Love your singlehood by indulging in the things you like best about the season—you can blast the Christmas Elvis album all you want, decorate your entire bedroom wall with blinking lights just because (and keep them up until July), or even watch the godforsaken Star Wars Holiday Special without anyone making fun of what you secretly think is genius. What’s not to love?

Prep early for Auld Lang Syne
Start asking early about New Year’s Eve events until you find someone who’s either hosting or going to someplace that’ll be big, interesting, and packed with strangers. The last thing you want is to wind up at some party for couples where you’re left gazing at the host’s dog for a kiss come midnight. Whether it’s a volunteer shift at a community center celebration, a sightseeing cruise with your friends, or even a midnight run, knowing now that you have plans will eliminate “What about New Year’s??” stress and give you something fun to look forward to.

Sing it loud: You’re single and you’re proud
Rewrite “Jingle Bells” but replace “jingle” with “single.” Carol it at the top of your lungs from time to time to crack yourself up. It’ll also remind you that if you’re cool enough with being single to have a theme song, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Freelance writer Laura Gilbert reminds readers that your local aquarium is likely to be very empty on Christmas Day, should you be looking for entertainment.
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