‘Tis the season to be single! Tracey Cox reveals why you shouldn’t dread spending Christmas ALONE – and how to sidestep those awkward questions from relatives
- Tracey Cox says that there is no reason you can’t enjoy Christmas while single
- Says that it is important to resist settling for something out of desperation
- Reveals her simple comebacks to say to concerned family members
If New Year’s Eve is a best time to be single, Christmas often isn’t.
The movie might be long gone but the stereotypical, Bridget Jones image of the lonely singleton, comfort eating on the sofa, getting sloshed and crying seems to have stuck.
Two thirds of all singles might well be whooping it up at stupendously fabulous Christmas parties but, in our heads, they’ll always be sitting on that sofa feeling sad.
Is it any wonder single people who are more than happy being partner-free the rest of the year, find it difficult right about now.
Christmas turns up the volume on emotions for a lot of people.
If you’ve just lost your parents, all you see on telly are the happy family ads. If you’ve just lost your dog, doggie jumper Instagram posts cut like a knife.
Sex and relationship expert Tracey Cox reveals the very simple tips to ensure you enjoy the Christmas season while being single
In the same way, couple friends transform from besties into hateful, smug marrieds for lots of singles as December 25 approaches. But they needn’t.
Everyone knows being single is bloody good fun a lot of the time, it’s just tricky this time of year.
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The secret to sailing solo through the silly season is often simply having the right attitude and doing a bit of forward planning.
Here’s some inspiration.
HOW TO THINK HAPPY
It’s normal to get the Christmas blues
Of course you’re aware of being single over the Christmas period – you’re human!
You’re being inundated with barfy images of Look-what-I-got-for-Christmas-a-baby scenarios and people kissing under mistletoe (am I the only one who has never gone to a party where there is mistletoe?); couples holding hands ice-skating and looking lovingly into each other’s eyes over steaming cups of mulled wine.
How are you supposed to react?
You’d be odd if you didn’t feel irritated, a bit jealous and sad if you’re not partnered up.
Don’t glorify other people’s relationships
This is the number one Christmas rule – and one that will keep you happy all year round.
Tracey says it is important not to glorify other people’s relationships
You can never look in on other people’s relationships.
That girlfriend with the rich husband who’s buying her Prada? She’s making the most of Christmas because she only sees him about half an hour a week the rest of the time.
The girl at your gym who’s celebrating her 10th wedding anniversary during the holidays? It’s highly doubtful they’ll do it by having hot sex.
Every couple in the world, no matter how much in love they are, have problems and issues.
There are always trade-offs and no-one is happy all of the time.
Besides, while you’re envying the closeness and intimacy you get from a relationship, they are looking at you and craving the freedom and carefree life you have when you’re single.
While they’re flopped on the sofa, you’re more likely to be off to Bali with a group of friends or taking up rock climbing or discovering some fab new pop up serving sexy cocktails.
There are downsides and upsides to everything.
Being single is way better than being in the wrong relationship
When you’re down and single, being part of a couple seems so appealing. But when you’re attached and miserable, it’s even more so.
There is nothing lonelier than being in a bad relationship during the festive season, socialising with couples who all seem to be in great relationships.
Lots of people break up around Christmas and New Year. Aren’t you glad that isn’t you?
Stay sane on social media (or turn it off)
The #howmuchdoIlovethisguy #luckedoutwiththisone hashtags alongside piles of posh presents, adorable looking children, holiday homes you’d kill your sweet, old grandmother to stay in for a night, posts of toned, brown knees with a pool in front when you’re freezing on a cold platform waiting for the tube…
Even if it’s not been filtered to buggary, our social media accounts reflect the positive, boastful side of our lives.
The bits we want others to see.
Tracey recommends avoiding social media and resist swiping right to dodgy people on dating apps
Who posts fat photos on Instagram (real fat photos, not ‘Look how fat I am’ pictures of people pinching one millimetre of flesh)? The worst photo they’ve ever had taken of themselves? Drenching the pillow when you’ve just been dumped? Hiding in the loo at a party because everyone else seems too together/glamorous/too drunk/not drunk enough?
You know it’s not balanced. Remind yourself of it every day.
If it’s a real struggle doing that over Christmas, turn off all social media on Christmas Eve and turn it back on the day after Boxing Day.
What are you going to miss out on? Seeing your best friend’s tree decorations? A photo of someone’s plum pudding?
Resist the urge to grab any warm body
Ending up in bed with that ex who’s always available whenever you drunk dial (there’s a reason), swiping right to dodgy people purely out of desperation…I promise, doing these things will make you feel worse not better.
If you want something to cuddle, borrow your friend’s dog for the day. Failing that, a hot water bottle.
Look on the bright side
You’ll have no fights with your partner about where you’ll spend Christmas Day.
There’ll be no forced Christmas drinks or dinners with in-laws you can’t stand, who can’t stand you.
No ducking awkward questions about when the two of you are getting married/having children/finally seeing sense and leaving the city for the ‘burbs.
Instead, you can enjoy being spoilt rotten by your family, eat Christmas lunch in your PJ’s, slob around all day, get waited on by your Mum and play silly buggers with your little sister.
HAPPY THINGS TO DO
Say yes to all the work do’s
Go to everything for an hour then slink off if it’s truly awful.
Work do’s are great for networking and likely to be populated by other single people wanting to amuse themselves.
Mixing up your social scene is just what you need.
Say yes to anything you normally wouldn’t
People are in the mood for romance and more likely to make the effort to go out over Christmas, upping your chances of meeting someone.
Don’t write off parties organised by ‘old people’ or relatives. They have kids. And grandkids. And they have friends. (Not to mention being quite good company in their own right, now and then!)
THE THREE WORST FAMILY SCENARIOS FOR SINGLES (AND HOW TO HANDLE THEM)
You’re bombarded with ‘Still single then?’ comments from relatives and family
Everyone turns when you walk in the room, then shake their heads when you arrive solo.
Then comes the advice: You’re too picky. Your standards are too high. You should have married Brad, the first boy you ever kissed (when you were five).
You say: ‘Actually, I am in a relationship. With three different men. I didn’t want to upset any of them by singling out just one to bring today.’
Everyone feels sorry for you
Your Mum buys you an extra present because ‘there’s just you’; you get the extra roast spud because ‘you probably never cook for yourself when it’s just one’, you catch your best friend telling her man not to snuggle up in case it makes you feel left out.
Solution: Casually drop in your New Year holiday plans/party invitation to the hot new place to be. Or news of your promotion that’s going to double your salary.
Failing that, milk it for all its worth. Get your way with everything from what to watch to what to do and make an advance list for all the pity presents.
You’re back home and everyone is married with kids
Even the decidedly weird high school friend you swore would never find anyone is suddenly Mrs So-and-so with two kids that actually turned out OK.
Solution: Ask them what interesting things they’ve been up to. Most couples with young kids will look at your blankly and say ‘What do you mean interesting? Sleep would be interesting right now. But no chance of that’.
Stick around until the bitter end of the party when all the kids are getting ratty and need some sleep and throwing tantrums. Then wave them off, pour yourself another glass of wine and enjoy the freedom of having no-one but yourself to worry about.
If you don’t end up snogging someone in the kitchen cupboard, you might meet some great new friends and escape to the local pub.
Don’t avoid couple things
You’re going to be the only single person at the party? So what?
Most couples love being surrounded by single people: they have the best stories!
Go forth and entertain!
If you find a couple that you’re particularly envious of, be inspired, not jealous. They found each other and are happy, you will too!
Volunteer for the day
Here we go, I can hear you say it from here.
Everyone turns their noses up at the mention of volunteering but every person I know that has done it says it was the most meaningful, fulfilling Christmas they’ve ever had. (There are events on the days leading up to Christmas as well.)
If that doesn’t appeal, knock on the door of a neighbour you think might be lonely and have a chat. Or offer to go to the shops for an elderly person who might not be able to get out.
How about organising cocktails in a care home for some old folk who know how to party?
I’m not kidding. Google magicme and check this out: it’s the best idea I’ve heard of in years.
If you fancy something a little healthier but just as community spirited, try GoodGym, a weekly running club that combines regular exercise with a community project, like planting trees or helping improve life for the elderly.
Volunteer at an animal shelter, go on a shopping spree and drop all the presents off to a children’s charity.
Nothing makes you feel better about yourself than doing nice things for others.
Not in the mood to be thinking of others? Then..
Have a spa day or do something else that floats your boat.
Organise your life and go through all your cupboards (hell for some, heaven for people like me who like things organised!).
Organise an open invite Christmas get together for all your friends
Put out some feelers on social media (say you’re thinking about it rather than make a firm commitment) and see what you get back.
I’ve done this in the past and ended up with 20 people I don’t often see and had such a good time, it became a regular thing.
Don’t restrict it to other people who are going to be solo – couples aren’t the enemy and they get lonely too!
It really is just another day…
Imagine you’ve just been granted a day off, when you’re unlikely to be interrupted by other people. What would you do?
You certainly wouldn’t spend it feeling sorry for yourself.
Have a bath. Eat something you love. Have a movie fest of films you’ve always wanted to see. Listen to the top 10 albums of the year or podcasts. Snuggle up and read one of the year’s best books.
If you really can’t handle it, disappear
Either have a holiday at home by turning off your phone, turning on Netflix and binging on all your favourite foods and shows for two days solid.
Or get organised early and go somewhere you’ve always wanted to go.
Find yourself in a yoga retreat. Chase some winter sun in a beautiful resort. There are a billion ‘Me time’ places that cater for people travelling solo. Or take some friends/your Mum/your dog along with you for a different type of Christmas.
Who says it has to revolve around eating a turkey near a tree?
Tracey’s website traceycox.com has lots more advice on handling sex and relationship problems – and some great, sexy gift ideas for your partner.
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