Single for the holidays

Four ways to stay in the holiday spirit when you’re on you own

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If you’re single during the holiday season, it can sometimes seem like the universe is out to get you with all the plus-one office parties and diamond ring commercials and couples rubbing noses in the cold, cold snow. (OK, I made up that last one, but doesn’t it feel that way sometimes?) Stay strong during party-and-present season with these ideas for proud singles everywhere.

Start a personal tradition
Every year, I watch Meet Me In St. Louis, decorate and make magic squares, those sticky bars made with condensed milk, coconut and chocolate chips. It’s never on the same day – whenever I feel the Christmas spirit starting, on goes the DVD and out comes my gold eight-inch Ikea tree. Starting a tradition that’s just for you is a healthy way to evoke the holiday spirit without feeling lonely. “I always buy a pair of Christmas pyjamas around the beginning of December,” says Jennifer, a 34-year-old divorcee from Vancouver. “It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and I do all my wrapping in them.”

Buy yourself a gift (and don’t open it!)
If you’re the type to peek under the tape or scarf down all the cookies so you have to bake more, then this will be a challenge. Buy something you covet, big or small, it’s up to you and your budget. Wrap it in pretty paper or take it to a pro so it’s extra-special. Hide it in the closet until after all the holiday hullabaloo is finished and try to keep it there. “Last year, I bought this amazing little black dress on sale just before Christmas and I wanted to wear it New Year’s Eve. I had it wrapped at the store and took it to my mom’s so I wouldn’t open it before,” says 30-year-old Marie from Toronto. “Even though the mystery was gone, it made me so happy to have one more present after it was all over.”

Plan a festive night in
Game nights, holiday movie marathons, cookie swaps, present wrapping parties – it doesn’t matter what the occasion is as long as your closest friends stop by. Make sure you have a few nibblies on hand and have the bar basics at the ready. “My family has been doing a carol sing-a-long since I was a little girl and it’s grown from neighbours and friends to [include] my brothers and I and all our friends,” says Michelle a 31-year-old Toronto single. “It’s cheesy, it’s drunken, we all wear Christmas sweaters and sing our hearts out and I look forward to it every year.” You don’t have to plan a big bash, just a few friends and good conversation is all you need to erase any holiday blues.

Get some fresh air
Set your heart racing and the endorphins pumping with a little outdoor R‘n’R. If the cutesy couples and smiling families at the local rink make you want to pull a Tonya Harding, venture no further than your backyard (or local park). Build a snow-ex and then knock it down. Sounds juvenile, right? Don’t worry, it’ll be our little secret. Moved past secret snow-based revenge? Head for the hills and a little tobogganing. F.Y.I, it’s also a great way to meet guys: Chances are, you’ll find more than a few single men reliving their sledding days. “I think this year my single friends and I are going to bring thermoses with Bailey’s coffee to the park,” says Alison, a 30-year-old Hamilton, ON single. “Last year the toboggan hill was crawling with groups of guys and I can only imagine what a little hot, laced coffee will add to the mix.”