The Many Ways Singles Happily Spend the Holidays
As young Baby Boomers we listened to Andy Williams at Christmas singing “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” For some of us it was if we were in what was called a ‘traditional middle class family’. I didn’t know back then that everyone didn’t have the same experiences during the holiday season as I did. Now we all know that with the holidays there comes stress and sometimes depression. I don’t want to be a Grinch, but whether you’re in a relationship or single, you have to prepare for the ups and downs of this season. We’re no longer the kids anxiously waiting for the turkey and stuffing to be done, the day when we can open our presents or watch the ball drop in Time Square on television. Back then our family dictated how we spent our holidays. As adults we had some choices. If we had children and our parents were still around, a lot of us spent these times with our family. At least that’s the way it’s depHappily icted in the movies and television. We were considered real losers if we didn’t have a partner with whom to share that wonderful time of the year. Family always invited us and if no family was around, friends.
Personally, I’d rather spend my time with my family, but it’s not always possible. I’ve some choices, even though I’m relatively new to this area, but like one of the members of Bella DePaulo’s Facebook Group, Community of Single People, wrote “ I don’t enjoy making small talk with people I barely know, so I turn down invitations and I’ve learned to say “I have plans.”. This single also turns off the phone, but I leave mine on hoping that family members will call or text and if they don’t then I generally call them. I always call my mother.
The majority of singles who answered my question about how they celebrate the holidays did spend time with family cooking a meal for them or enjoying their cooking. One of my single friend’s sons told her she had to cook the meal since they loved her cooking so much. When she asked what they’d do when she could no longer stand by the stove, they jokingly told her that one would stand on each side and hold her up. Some had good friends visit them or went to friend’s homes. One wrote, “I’ll be in a yoga ashram in Mexico for the holidays… Not sure what I’ll be doing… Most likely, it will include a meal with other guests for Christmas. Maybe a bar/outdoors show for the new year… I tend to not plan and just go with the flow. If I’m tired at 9pm, I’ll go to bed and be relieved and happy”. I was reminded that Thanksgiving is a U.S. holiday and in Canada Thanksgiving falls in October. There are people who live close to the Canadian border and cross over to just spend a regular Thursday doing what they want. Many people choose to travel to interesting destinations. Someday I hope to go on a river cruise to the holiday markets in Europe.
When I was teaching in Japan I got permission to ask our chefs to prepare a Thanksgiving feast near the date of the U.S. Thanksgiving. The school’s Australian translator and I instructed the chef on how to stuff the organic turkey he’d purchased. He’d also found the recipe for stuffing online. The process of using hand gestures to show him that I wanted it cooked in the bird proved to be quite hilarious. In the end, the owners of the school, staff members from 5 different countries and I enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving meal.
Bella DePaulo addressed the fact that many businesses that have to or choose to be open on a holiday, believe that singles should be the ones to fill in for coworkers with families. She wrote in her article in Psychology Today at https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/living-single/200812/hey-singles-do-co-workers-and-bosses-expect-you-cover-everyone-else-over , “Of course, the notion that single people don’t have anyone, or don’t have a life, is complete and utter bull. I’ve mocked it mercilessly on this blog and in Singled Out. There was already evidence aplenty when I wrote my book. Since then, the results of several national surveys have been published showing that single people are more likely than married people to contact, visit, advise, and support their parents and siblings. They are also more likely to encourage, help, and socialize with their friends and neighbors. It is also single people who do more of the work – emotional, practical, and financial – of maintaining intergenerational ties.” You may choose to work or volunteer over the holidays for your own reasons, but it’s not your duty to cover more days than your fair share. For links to other informative articles and blogs for singles and the holidays visit her website at http://belladepaulo.com/2014/12/single-for-the-holidays-with-attitude/ .
Bella suggested that I listen to Linton Weeks’ show Table For One, Please. A Solo Thanksgiving on NPR’s All Things Considered and read the accompanying article. Besides Bella’s comments on what she does for her Thanksgiving, I found an inspiring story about a single lady who has multiple sclerosis. Linton Weeks reported that the woman offered to be an online resource for her Facebook friends seeking Thanksgiving cooking advice. “I will be alone this Thanksgiving. My story may seem sad, but I’ve come up with a plan to enjoy this year. I’ve written several recipes for friends and have dished up a fair number of suggestions and inspiration. I may not get to eat with them — most of them don’t realize I’ll be alone — but I’ll be involved, and that makes me feel a lot better.” Read the article and listen to the entire show at http://www.npr.org/2012/11/22/165567047/table-for-one-please-a-solo-thanksgiving#.
I hope you have wonderful holidays no matter how you choose to spend them. I won’t be writing a blog until after Thanksgiving . I’ll be vacationing with a friend before Thanksgiving and having family visit after Turkey Day. I’m hoping for at least warm, sunny beach weather for my family and clear skies for my time in the Arizona mountains. I’ll be checking in at Facebook during my travels and hope you’ll let us know how you’re spending Thanksgiving and other holidays later in the year. We’re a worldwide community and I’d enjoy hearing from single Baby Boomers all over the world as the holiday season progresses.