Outside my window, the sky is a bleak and dreary grey. It’s damp and chilly and no matter how many layers I don, I just can’t seem to get warm. My inbox has been overrun with ‘Black Friday’ sale ads and the local radio stations have begun playing Christmas music a full week earlier than last year. There’s less than a week until Thanksgiving and I’m counting the days until my dad makes his famous peanut butter fudge – despite the damage it will inevitably do to my waistline. The holidays are officially here.
Our company Christmas party invitation went out earlier today and I sent back my RSVP for two. This year, instead of flying solo, I’m taking my mother along as my ‘date’. You see, I’ve somehow managed to be single during every major holiday of my adult life. I’m not certain if it’s through skill or just bad luck, but I’ve made my peace with it. I’m not crying in the corner wondering why I’m alone. Instead, I’ve embraced my single status. You can’t feel like a third wheel if you’re a completely different vehicle.
So, while most of my friends are sharing their children’s Christmas lists or discussing what they’re hoping to receive from their husbands, I’m planning my holiday ‘me time’.
Some of you out there may be alone this Christmas for the first time. You may have broken up with someone recently or perhaps have a spouse who has been deployed overseas. Or maybe you’re like me and just haven’t found that special someone. No matter your circumstances, you don’t have to be overwhelmed by the idea of being alone. Alone isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it can be rather liberating. Besides, being alone is absolutely the best excuse for indulging in guilty pleasures.
In the spirit of the season, I’ve decided to share some of my favorite ways to enjoy the holidays – alone.
Pamper yourself. Treat yourself to a day at the spa. Get a mani/pedi and follow it up with a nice, well-deserved massage. Massage releases endorphins which will keep you feeling happy, refreshed and energized.
Get organized. This year, Christmas is a four day weekend for many of us. Use that extra time (and energy gained from your massage) to take care of those odd jobs around the house you’ve been putting off all year. Do a little early winter-spring cleaning. When you’ve finished, you’ll feel accomplished and motivated.
Watch a movie. Once you’ve finished cleaning, you’ll have earned a nice, long rest. Pull out a few of your favorite DVD’s, pour yourself a cup of hot cocoa, and curl up on the couch. Remember those guilty pleasures I mentioned? This is where you get to indulge them. We all have our favorite sappy or silly films that we would never, ever in a million years admit to liking let alone owning. Dig them out and press play. No one is around to make fun of you or question your intelligence. It’s just you, Leo and Kate, and your warmest, cuddliest blanket.
Go shopping. After crying your way through Titanic, The Notebook and Untamed Heart, you’re going to need your spirits lifted again. It’s time to hit the racks. Skip the gift list and buy something just for you. Buy something you’ve wanted for awhile but have always managed to talk yourself out of purchasing. When the cashier asks if you’d like it gift wrapped, smile and say ‘yes’. On Christmas morning you can tear into the paper the same way you did when you were a kid – another guilty pleasure.
Volunteer. Once you’ve taken care of yourself, it’s time to take care of others. Check with your local mission or veteran’s organization. Most shelters and charities need all hands on deck during the holidays. Whether it’s helping with a toy drive, serving meals to the homeless or spending time with the elderly, these days the need for compassion is greater than ever. Give the gift of your time to your community and I promise you, you won’t feel alone.