I’ve been married over Christmas, and I’ve been single over Christmas.
I’d say the latter is better.
I know we’re all conditioned to want someone over the holidays. I get it. It’s nice to share affection and make memories with someone we love during Christmas – supposedly the pinnacle of family life.
But let’s be honest. Look past the sentimentality of Christmas, and you’ll realize that the holidays often involve conflict and hassle when you’re married.
What should we buy for each other? How much time should we spend with my family versus your family? Is it OK to sit around and watch football or do we have to accomplish something over the holiday break?
See what I mean?
I’m accustomed to being alone
This Christmas marked my fifth consecutive one as a single man – or, more precisely, a divorced one. I had a great time.
I didn’t spend Christmas alone and sad – far from it. On Christmas morning, my two kids – a daughter 29 and son 12 – were with me. Then at noon we went to my brother’s house for more gifts and a big meal with extended family.
Two days earlier, I went to my ex-in-laws’ country place and had good food and laughter with about 50 people I still love despite my divorce a decade ago.
I didn’t feel odd or out of place at either event because I was single. Sure, most of the adults around me were married. So what? I don’t buy this notion that a divorced person should feel like a third wheel at gatherings of married folks.
If you’re single and feel self-conscious, it’s your own fault. No one is making you feel that way.
There’s another holiday coming — don’t panic
Next up: New Year’s Eve. For single people, it’s another opportunity to feel sorry for yourself – or celebrate the freedom you have.
I may try to get a date for New Year’s Eve – I haven’t decided yet. (Although time is running out.) If I’m with someone when the new year kicks in, I’ll enjoy the moment. If I’m alone at home, I’ll enjoy the moment – whether I’m watching TV, reading or even lying in bed.
Some people have to learn to be single again after a divorce. The transition over the holidays can be emotionally difficult. I don’t want to downplay the depression that can result when you’re suddenly alone during the “happiest time of the year.”
But here’s my advice: Hang on. Don’t despair. You’ll make it through the holidays this year. And the year after (if you’re still single). And the year after.
I’ll even offer a prediction: You may find one day that you actually prefer being single over Christmas and New Year’s.
Just like me.