I am starting a new 12 days of Christmas series: posts on Christmas (motivated of course by hearing the song on the radio yesterday). I thought it would be a fun theme to carry out. First topic: 12 ways to enjoy and celebrate Christmas a Single.
(1) Read an Advent Devotional or celebrate Advent in some way!
Celebrate Advent. Spend time praying, waiting expectantly on the Lord and reading through an advent calendar. I bought a small one on sale for 1.00 (one of those tiny paper checkbook sized devos) at Lifeway Christian bookstore. I also bought "The Purpose Driven Christmas". Here is John Piper's daily devo (I am a few days behind and need to catch up!) Celebrate the coming of the Lord, both two centuries ago, in the future and daily in our lives! (IF IT DOESN'T DOWNLOAD, EMAIL ME AND I WILL EMAIL YOU THIS EBOOK BY PIPER)
(2) Get your shopping done early - and make it a fun day!
Shop early so you can spend your last couple weeks before Christmas going to parties, with family, watching movies, baking! And make it fun -- meet another girl for shopping and post shopping drinks! Make sure to stop for coffee during your shopping excursion! This is a recommendation for all women, not just single ladies! Shopping usually starts out as fun for me but gets old quickly - make it a girls days and enjoy the small blessings while doing so like warm seasonal coffee, Christmas music and lights! This year, I can't do this because of the 7 days a week working schedule, but I do really think that if you shop early and make it fun and not stressful, you can enjoy your holiday more! (PS, I am practically finished shopping, I just didn't get to make it a fun holiday event this year! But atleast I am done early!)
(3) Go to parties
SERIOUSLY, this is the best part about being young and childless...I don't have to think about if I can go to a party this weekend or if I have to find a babysitter, go to a pre-k Christmas program, etc...I just want to go so I go! Particularly if you are new in town or a little lonely, say yes to every single party you are invited to! Enjoy celebrating, dressing up, meeting new people, possibly meeting new men! I certainly don't think Christmas parties are the reason for the season....but if we are spending a month celebrating, they are a fun addition!
It doesn't have to be over the top, but buy a couple decorations each year...a wreath, a garland, a few santas, a nativity scene, a small tree. Like so many other things in life, I've heard some friends say I'll decorate when I get married. Only one year did I not decorate and I felt so sad....the holiday is supposed to be enjoyed by all, even those who don't have families yet!
(5) Invest in a couple "holiday" outfits!
Seriously, part of growing up in a southern family meant appropriately themed outfits. I can remember wearing Christmas dresses and shirts growing up and posing for holiday pictures in them. As a mother, you are buying cute outfits for your children and maybe even a fun shirt or two for yourself. As a single, you should buy a "holiday" outfit - to wear to parties, church, etc! This year, I purchased a gold sequin skirt. Last year I bought a black sparkly skirt and I have a few "dressier" tops for parties. Just like when you are a kid or when you will one day dress your kids, its fun to have a reason to dress up. And you can wear holiday attire without putting on a tacky sweater! (More importantly, holiday parties are great place to meet people so you want to look nice and feel pretty!)
(6) Find others that are lonely and invest with them.
There are others you know who are feeling lonely - probably lonelier than you. I very much support donating to charities during the holidays (or any time!) but I also think we are called to minister to those you know. Do you know someone who is new in town who might want to be included in some holiday events or want to have dinner with you? Is a friend stressed as a new mom or going through a divorce? Could you bring over a bottle of wine and a holiday movie? Are there other singles who don't have family nearby? Could you plan a sunday night dinner? Focus on others, I know its cliche and it doesn't fix all your problems, but we are called to love others like Christ loves us and I think we benefit from caring well for others!
(7) Send out Christmas cards!
This is one of those things that I avoided for awhile, thinking I will get married and send out picture cards....with family pics on them! But, the truth is, I am an adult now and I have friends and I should send them holiday cards. I always feel like such a grownup when I mail out my cards...and since I don't have a family pic to place in the card, I always right a personal note to the reciever. I am fortunate to have friends all over the country and world and love the idea of sending them holiday cheer. Plus, people generally send cards to those that send them cards. and I LOVE getting beautiful pictures of sweet babies and couples to put on my fridge!! It reminds me of all I do have!
(8) Take a night in.
The holiday season as a single is simultaneously hard and fun! It is hard for obvious reasons but since you have the freedom to go to every Christms party you want to without hiring a babysitter, it can be a blast to be single during December....BUT it can also be exhausting. My favorite holiday night last year was my 3 roomies and me curling up for Christmas movies, homemade cookies and sushi! Families (by financial necessity or by plan) take nights in to relax. You should to! Pick a couple nights where you watch movies, wear your sweats, drink cocoa and bake cookies. Invite a boyfriend or girlfriends over - or do it by yourself! But, either way, give yourself a deserved night in!
(9) Take a moment to mourn, so that you can spend the rest of the time celebrating!
This is very important. Don't lie to yourself and pretend that you are happy with all of your circumstances. Take time, whether it be 15 minutes a night before bed or a hour before facing the family celebration, etc to feel your frustration, petition the Lord, and confess your lack of contentment. Spend time praying and in scripture. I think that if you admit that your holiday season or life in general is not exactly what you pictured for this stage in life, then you can move on and celebrate and enjoy the good parts. I think a lot of well meaning folks try to convince singles or those that are hurting that they should not be so self focused and remember what Christmas is about, which is not about us! But, taking time to address your hurt allows you to focus on Christ's coming with a clear heart!
(10) Do a few "child-like" holiday activities.
Grab some friends and go see santa! Bake sugar cookies. Watch Charlie Brown Christmas! What were traditions you liked as a child that you feel you can't do now? Forget your preconceived notions on whats a family activity or an adult activity and do what you like! I decorated a gingerbread house this weekend!
(11) Celebrate with the family you do have....
You don't have a husband and kids yet. You do (most likely) have a family. So life could be way worse. Make sure to celebrate with them. Enjoy seeing them over the holidays. Enjoy the blessing of having people you love who love you!
(12) But feel free to start your own traditions and holiday plays as well!
Enjoy your family, but don't feel pressured to be with them 24-7. I think a lot of leniancy is given to married couples about starting their own traditions. But singles are often times expected to show up (I don't say this from experiance because my parents are pretty supportive of us doing what we want to do, but I know its an issue for many!) Just because you are single doesnt mean you have to show up at every single family event this season. You may miss a party or two. You have the freedom to start your own traditions too!