13 Tips for Surviving the Holidays Single

Feeling down in the dumps because you’re going to be single for the holidays this year? You’re not alone.

Well, sure, you’re alone in the sense that you don’t have a cutie to go ice-skating with while clad in matching striped scarves from the Gap. But you’re not alone alone. Despite the onslaught of trailers for overly sentimental flicks featuring inspirational sports teams/family reunions/wedding bells, all those extra Jared Jewelers commercials, and the music about love and joy that’s piped into every store — despite all that, love is not, actually, all around. There’s Trump and Aleppo and infidelity and existential crises and depression and financial insecurity and people in those strip malls fighting and pushing to get to the front of the line with their gift wrap, emergency box of tampons, and prescription meds.

It only feels like love’s all around because single people don’t spend as much money on holiday gifts and activities, so as far as Madison Avenue is concerned, you’re persona non grata. You might as well be an elf. So you and the other single people start hibernating (read: drinking while watching ancient Christmas specials on network tv), which makes you feel even more alone.

So follow these DOs & DON’Ts for making your single season bright — or at least just a little less blue.


1. DO enjoy and appreciate getting a year off from having to spend the holidays with someone else’s annoying and/or dysfunctional family — no pretending to like their mom’s Jell-O mold or fake-laughing at their dad’s bad jokes.

2. DON’T worry that your partner will embarrass you in front of your family by burping, swearing, or talking about your oral sex acumen — because, remember, you don’t have a lame partner, woohoo!

3. DO give thanks this year that your to-do list for the season is as uncomplicated as when you were six — except this time around, you’re allowed to get drunk, too!

4. DON’T linger in the self-help aisle at your local bookshop, fingering titles like If I’m So Wonderful, Why Am I Still Single? and Healing Your Aloneness: Finding Love and Wholeness Through Your Inner Child. (We wish we could say we made those titles up.) This extended holiday season is a romance pressure cooker guaranteed to make you feel like the kind of loser who might actually buy one of these books. …

5. DO get drunk at the office holiday party and gossip with all your coworkers without having to make your partner feel “included.” And do make out with someone highly inappropriate and pretend to be embarrassed about it for the rest of the year.

6. DON’T overindulge too much. Yes, do live it up at the office party (see previous point). And please pig out on some chocolate wrapped in red and green foil to satisfy your inner child. And definitely don’t say no to the spiked eggnog. But don’t go back for figgy pudding seconds (okay, thirds), don’t actually have sex with that coworker (we only said make out), and don’t get so smashed that the holidays are just one big blur of regret. Humiliation and an extra 10 pounds won’t make you feel better about being single.

7. DO wear your comfy pants with the elastic waistband so you can indulge within reason — after all, there’s no annoying girlfriend or boyfriend around to complain that they make you look like George Costanza. Plus, they’re just more comfortable. 

8. DON’T wait ’til the last minute to do your gift shopping. Get it done early to avoid the worst of the commercial Cheez Whiz (or better yet, do your shopping online to avoid the trampling masses).

9. DO think of all the money you’re saving on presents! You don’t have to fret over whether your partner will break the fifty-dollar limit you agreed on, thereby making you look like a cheap bastard.

10. DON’T submit to all the lovey-dovey, saccharine-coated sentiment of the season and start flipping through old photos of your ex. Most importantly, don’t call them, text them, or show up on their stoop to sing carols through a waterfall of tears.

11. DO get together with your single friends and talk smack about your ex and all your annoying schmoopied-up couple friends.

12. DON’T impulse-shop for a boyfriend or girlfriend just because everyone tells you it sucks to be alone at the holidays. Remember those “a puppy is for life, not just for Christmas” ads? Don’t confuse warm, fuzzy yuletide feelings with the desire to be in a relationship–it’s not true love, it’s just the eggnog. And the hangover’s a bitch.

13. DO volunteer at a soup kitchen to put your own crappy holidays in perspective.

This post has been updated. 

And if you ignore our advice about the office party?
How to Deal with a Coworker You Regret Sleeping With

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