How Do Single Baby Boomers Feel During the Holidays?
I posed this question, “As a single, how do you feel during the holiday season?” to the fellow single Baby Boomers I talk to on a regular basis, my readers and on Bella DePaulo’s Facebook Group, Community of Single People. On the Community of Single People group page I also posted a poll where they could weigh in by just checking a box. It wasn’t a scientific poll, just a sampling of how singles felt during the holidays. The top answer was happy when it’s over followed fairly closely by joyous and then in descending order. It’s not a big deal for me. Not much different than any other time of the year, then relaxed, thankful, hopeful, charitable, lonely and too busy to even think about how I feel.
Singles, whether they’re Baby Boomers or not, are all over the place when it comes to how the holidays affect them. Every day brings a new emotion depending on what’s happening in their lives. Here are some of the quotes I received from Bella’s group, my readers and friends.
“Dispassionate observer, obligatory consumer, sentimental for the rituals of childhood, periodically lonely and forgotten, irritated by the irritation and rudeness of others, disgusted by the excess of everything, angry about the media’s messages that I’m not doing enough to bolster the economy and/or help my fellow man…grateful for all I have and am able to give, briefly in awe of holiday lights and sounds, happy to have no obligations to engage, thankful for extended time off from work, satisfied to take small dips into the pool of activity and emotion and to leave the rest to others. Basically, I’m all over the map from mid-November until January 2nd, and then I am so thrilled to have regular life back for another 11 months.”
“Here lately I’ve just been kicking back in an easy chair and looking at all the colorful lights and decorations and enjoying the abundance of food.”
“My family can be so exhausting. I love them, but I tire of their shit quickly. Spending time on my own during the holidays is refreshing when so many of my friends are stressed out. It can get lonely from time to time….”
“My feelings about the holidays have nothing to do with the fact I’m single. My status is not an issue at this time of year. I love the holiday spirit, I hate the commercialism. I love the lights and music, I hate that Christmas has become more about bigger and better. In my opinion Christmas is at its most pure when kids are involved. Otherwise it’s all about spending money. I await Grandkids for it to get back to what it once was…..eating nuts and tangerines on Christmas Eve in our slippers and staying up late to open one gift before Santa comes.”
“I love the holiday season! I really do feel joyous this time of year. I love spending time with my family, and I always get 10-12 days to hang out with them. It’s even more fun now that I have 3 nieces ages 6 and under.”
“I hate the commercialism! Here in the UK we start getting Christmas products in shops/adverts on TV from October! I’m already sick of it and it’s only just December!”
“I love the pretty lights and decorations, but get stressed out by all the crowds. I look forward to time off work (although I will have a mountain of marking to do!). I do feel, unless I am careful, that the whole period just makes me become like Scrooge. I would happily cancel the whole thing; except the time off work, of course.”
“It’s next-to-nothing for me. Sometimes I go to a Christmas music concert or drive around and look at lights. That’s about it. I’m 49 but I have never put up decorations or had a tree. I have rarely done the gift thing. I was the youngest (by far) in the family, then a poor student for a long time. Most of my nieces and nephews were Christians who weren’t allowed to celebrate Christmas. The rest lived far away. Then I lived very far away and often waited ’til January for the fares to go down to visit home. Thankfully there wasn’t pressure (at least on me) in my family to give gifts. My friends and I usually did not do gifts. I’ve always had a philosophical distaste for obligatory gift-giving and I think most of the time my loved ones appreciate that once they get used to it. My mom always does a nice job decorating. I appreciate Christmas-y things but not enough to actually go to the effort to do anything myself. I always feel lucky when I hear people complain about how busy they are and how much money they are spending. They usually think I’m lucky, too, and wonder how I “get away with it.” Yep. My mom and dad usually had a Christmas Eve event at their house, but a couple of times they did travel to spend Christmas with me.”
“For me, my feelings around “the holiday season” are mostly influenced by being an opinionated atheist who gets annoyed about having religious holidays shoved into my face, so I am happy when it’s over but not because I am single! Actually, as a single I enjoy the additional solitude time I get by avoiding all the holiday parties.”
“I feel an odd mix of stress, depression, thankfulness, and joy. The stress because that’s a busy, bustling time of year. It’s overwhelming, and I can’t completely avoid the crowds and chaos even when I try. Also, I work for a university in the US and the Christmas holidays just happen to fall right after final exams week, so I pick up stress there too. But I feel joyous and thankful at times because I get a generous amount of paid time off during the holidays (much needed after finals!), and I get to see relatives that I only see once or twice per year. I’m grateful that despite being always single and childfree, I still have a nice family to spend holidays with.”
“I wish my family would come and visit me on the holidays every now and then. I have bought airline tickets for myself for almost 2 decades, so that I could be in the Great White North on Christmas. Traveling anywhere at this time of year is no fun and sometimes dangerous. I seem to get stuck at the airport or on snowy roads every time they have a Christmas snow storm. I doubt that I will be going home when my mother is no longer with us, but I will miss my family. They know they have an open invitation to come here, but I am always the one who makes the effort.”
“I like the everyday life best. I tend to ignore holidays and stick to my normal life. If there are parties, I’ll say yes or no based on the same criteria as non-holiday parties. I still prefer regular parties where you can dress more comfortably and where there are fewer rituals and expectations.”
To sum it up, most people felt pretty positive about family, time off, parties, decorations, lights, music, and solitude On the negative side, the hustle and bustle, commercialism, pressure to give gifts thereby contributing to the economy, stress, travel problems, and loneliness seem to be connecting threads. Does this sound like you? See you’re in good company. On the days when you just want to take a nap or think a trip to you doctor for some antidepressants seems like a good idea, it’s nice to know that you’re going to live through yet another holiday and will find many reasons to enjoy yourself.
Try to do something entertaining at least once or twice a week. It can be just looking at the lights-I find the lighted palms trees delightful-decorating your home, making and eating treats you make only during this time of the year, visiting a friend or relative, especially someone who can’t get out, or buying a gift for a child who may not have one to open. Today a trip to the library to return videos turned into a walk on the pier with a stunning sunset followed by running into a Holiday Parade where I stood next to a grandma and her granddaughter. I helped the little girl catch candy, keeping some of the chocolate for myself, but giving her the rest. (Don’t judge. I needed that chocolate since I missed lunch.) She ended up with a bag of candy and I had some people with whom to enjoy the parade. Tomorrow a friend and I are going to a Meetup Singles Party. I know you’ve many other ideas. Try some new ones this year and soon your life will return to normal.
Let’s discuss how to try these ideas and others that’ll make the holidays the best time of the year. I appreciate all of your comments, suggestions, and articles you send. Come and see extra information each week on my Facebook Page. Just click the Facebook icon on my blog.
May your Holidays be merry,