Before getting married in September, I spent a lot of holidays without a significant other. I had long-term relationships with friends, and I dated a decent amount, but none of those relationships were serious enough to justify spending Christmas together.
This isn’t all bad, of course. I got to spend holidays wherever I chose. I could binge-watch whatever holiday movies I wanted to and eat whichever Christmas snacks I wanted to, and I got to celebrate my own traditions without incorporating anyone else’s. But it could still be pretty lonely, especially since my family doesn’t live near me. The holidays, as movies and TV commercials are always telling us, are about being with the people you love. So they can be a difficult time when you don’t have people you love around you.
Luckily for me, I have some wonderful friends who never forgot me, even after they moved away from Birmingham. They got me a little something every Christmas and called me when they came into town. They invited me to stay with them if I wanted to get away for a few days. They checked in with me — not every day, but at least every month or so, and by doing those things, they reminded me that I was loved. Maybe not in the way that those girls in romantic Hallmark Christmas movies were loved, but in a way that was maybe even better. (Because, for one thing, it was real.)
I’m not advocating heaping pity on your single friends, or going so far out of your way to include them that it makes them feel weird. Don’t buy them overly expensive gifts or insist that they join your family for Christmas dinner or feel like you have to go overboard in any way. But don’t totally forget about them. Give them a call or an email, or send them a note. Maybe wrap up a $15 gift this Christmas so they have something to put under their Christmas tree, too. You don’t have to invite them into your family (and please don’t be offended if they turn down your invitation to spend holidays with your family), but remember to reach out and remind them that you value their friendship.
I hesitated to post this blog because I don’t want to imply that there’s anything wrong with being single; I don’t feel that way at all. There were a lot of wonderful things about being on my own, and there are a lot of wonderful things about being married. Neither is better or worse, but they are different. And one of those differences, at least for me, was that I had to make more of an effort to make the holidays special — and that was much easier thanks to family and friends who reached out during Christmas (and birthdays, the New Year etc.) to make sure I knew I was special to them, too.