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It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of either a good (or measly) fortune must be in want of a lover during the festive season.
Or, is it…?
As a love coach who helps women attract and sustain healthy, happy relationships, I can attest to the fact that I’ve had a fair few more requests than normal over the last few weeks from potential clients wanting to work with me.
Could this just be coincidence?
Or does it confirm that the majority of us have a deep desire to share the holiday season with someone we can snuggle up with in front of a cosy fire while supping on eggnog, mince pies and pigs-in-blankets (post-coitus, obviously)?
According to a survey conducted by dating site E-Harmony, 47% of singletons cited loneliness as the reason they dreaded Christmas.
(I’d hasten to add that it’s probably also the anticipation of being asked by well-meaning aunts and uncles why you “haven’t found anyone special yet?” as you reach for your third helping of roasties).
One of the mistakes lots of us make in the weeks leading up to Christmas and NYE is focusing all our attention on how happy other people seem to be – especially those in relationships.
We think that because we don’t have a guaranteed snog under the mistletoe that our experience of the festivities is somehow lacking.
If what I’ve shared so far has resonated with where you currently find yourself, then I wrote this piece especially for you, darling singleton.
May the following tips support you in having the most holly, jolly Christmas-season yet, crammed to the tinseled rafters with chestnuts roasting, daily re-runs of Home Alone and all the Die-Hards, and one hell of a lot of rockin’ around that Christmas tree (fa la la la la la la la):
1) DON’T FORFEIT THE FESTIVE ROMANCE JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE SINGLE
Who said only couples get to enjoy the fuzzy-feeling you get from spending time with your sweetheart during the most wonderful time of the year?
I’m a firm believer that intimacy and romance is available to all of us all of the time, no matter what your relationship status may be.
The secret is to invest as much time and energy generating romance in your platonic relationships as you would in your sexual ones:
Go for a romantic candlelit-Christmas dinner with one (or a group) of your girlfriends.
Invite a buddy over to drink mulled-wine and watch ‘It’s A Wonderful Life.’
Head to a German-market or spend an afternoon admiring the gorgeous festive window displays in your nearest city or town with someone you love (even if that’s ‘just’ you – still very much counts).
The more you endeavour to generate that feeling of romance from within yourself (rather than expecting/ hoping a tall, dark handsome stranger will bring it to you), the more likely it is you’ll attract an external experience of romance, too.
This is because we attract more of what we’re already feeling - so stop focusing on what you think you’re lacking, and start enjoying what you already have.
2) GET YOURSELF A FESTIVE WINGMAN/ WOMAN
When I spent my one and only Christmas season single a few years ago, I found it overwhelmingly helpful to have a wing-woman by my side – especially seeing as we were celebrating NYE in the Cotswolds with eight couples.
In the run up to midnight I started to feel really teary and anxious as, having always had someone to kiss when the ball dropped, I felt a huge amount of FOMO that this year would be different.
My fellow singleton Lucy spotted me trying to swallow down my sadness between sips of Sauvignon, took me to one side and gave me a firm but loving talking to.
She reminded me that we were both surrounded by tons of friends who loved us – and who (thankfully) were not overly-coupley couples (in fact, they were more likely to be snogging the both of us than their actual partners when the clock struck twelve).
Her humour and kindness reminded me that NYE is literally one night of the year, and if you put the romantic element aside you’ll likely find you have a lot to be grateful for and enjoy about the night, regardless of whether or not you end up locking lips with someone.
3) GIVE TO THOSE WHO HAVE LESS THAN YOU DO
In the run up to Christmas 2016, I spent several evenings volunteering at a homeless shelter in London, where a group of people put their heart and soul in to creating a lovely festive meal and atmosphere for the many Londoners who have no choice but to spend their Christmas on the streets.
It was one of the most life-affirming things I’ve ever done at this time of year, and I only wish I’d done it sooner.
I met so many wonderful people, and it made me realize just how much I already had that I wasn’t fully appreciating or allowing myself to enjoy.
Mark Twain once wrote:
“To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.”
I think too much of the time we take that to mean a partner in a romantic sense, but what if we shifted our mindset to include all of our fellow humans – especially those who are genuinely in need of some love, support and generosity?
I urge you to look in to volunteering in any small way you can this festive season – I promise, it will revolutionise your experience of Christmas.
4) LOOK ON THE BRIGHTSIDE…
It’s all too easy to get swept up in the illusion that couples are having a waaaay better festive experience than you are.
But, that ain’t necessarily true, my friend.
Here are some reasons as to why being single over Christmas actually means you’re #winning :
· You don’t have to spend a load of time, money & stress seeking out the perfect gifts for your partner (and in-laws).
· You don’t have to do a Vicar of Dibley and eat multiple Christmas dinners to please both of your families. Honestly, trying to negotiate where you’ll spend Christmas when there are two (or often more) families involved is one headache you should relish not having to deal with for one more year.
· You don’t have to trudge through the inevitable tirade of bickering with your partner (fuelled by a continuous stream of sugar, booze and turkey sandwiches) that’s hard to avoid when you’re spending so much time together.
5) GET THEE TO A CAROL SERVICE!
This is one of my absolute favourite things to do at Christmas time (and I usually find a way to weedle my way in to singing a carol at a service somewhere, too).
So many people I speak to don’t bother attending a carol service because they don’t usually go to church.
Lest we forget in these ever-increasing consumerist times we live in, the real meaning of Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Christ.
Most churches are more than happy to welcome you in to their fold at this time of year, and it really is such a heart-warming experience that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Plus, after the carol services I usually go to in London (at St Dionis in Parson’s Green or HTB Onslow Square in South Kensington where they do an amazing modern ‘alternative’ carol service) everyone heads to the pub after the service to guzzle down hot cider and marinate in all the festive cheer and merriment.
And, you never know - you may even end up clinking glasses under the mistletoe with your future paramour…
I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU:
Have you ever struggled to be single during the festive season? What was the hardest part about it for you?
And, what helped you get through it – any extra tips would be greatly appreciated <3