Christmas is quickly creeping into our peripheral vision. Matching family pyjama ads and the now obligatory Elf-film themed memes popping up on our social media timelines act as timely reminders that the season to be jolly fast approaches. There are two dates on the holiday calendar geared towards making those of us happily flying solo collectively eye roll and the reluctantly unattached wince: step forward Valentine’s Day and Christmas. Thankfully good old V-day is far enough away as we look fondly over our shoulders as autumn truly disappears, but the big C is looming – in all it’s tinselled, shiny, friend and family-packed, debt-inducing glory.
The season of goodwill is a bit of a mission, no matter which status box you tick when form-filling, but it can be particularly gruelling when you’re facing the unending Michael Bublé and Mariah Carey renditions on a loop, alone.
So how can you make Christmas more manageable? How can you bat away nosy parkers who badger you for your single status? And how can you press mute on the marketing-fuelled internal twinge that insists there’s something amiss about being single for the festive season?
First up, embrace it. I for one, am not sorry that I won’t be woken at regular intervals during Christmas Eve by sticky-fingered toddlers eager to dive head first into Santa’s delivery. The sheer relief that I won’t have to endure any other family but my own on the big day is a gift in itself. And even then, I can slink away when the going gets tough – book in hand and quiet corner claimed.
Neither will there be any teeth-clenching awkward present exchanges with the in-laws to endure this year, thank you very much. If dressing up your pets as reindeer or elves floats your boat, have at it – no one can rain on your snowy parade. Go all out with gaudy decorations or decide to opt out – it’s entirely up to you.
Next, be prepared. Steel yourself for the inevitable questions – you know the drill: “when are you going to settle down”, “you’re not getting any younger”, ad infinitum. They just don’t know any better and may have forgotten the crucial fact that you can do what you want when you want.
Flying solo certainly doesn’t mean lonely, in fact, start relishing your exquisitely peaceful downtime. Hatch a plan for all the Christmas films and bestsellers you can jump right into over the holidays, eggnog and cookies to hand and no one to interrupt.
Most of all, don’t stress. Start stocking up on presents as early as you can. The pleasure I get in picking up personalized pressies throughout the year and bypassing the sweaty Christmas crowds is palpable. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Grinch with plans to steal Christmas but I’m thrilled that this year, I don’t have to shoulder through sharp-elbowed crowds to wrestle that gadget-du-jour from someone’s aunty Betty for my significant other.
And speaking of presents, not having to drop a small fortune on a partner and kids means that I can treat myself as well as those that I love – and I will always get myself exactly what I want. To me, from me never fails.
Get excited. Well, why not?
Finally, get excited. What is Christmas without cold noses hitting the winter air after gin-soaked evenings in pubs shooting the breeze with your best pals? And who doesn’t love a season packed full of excuses to buy a new outfit and some impossible footwear and hit the town?
You never know, this year you might find that going solo at Christmas is not to be sniffed at after all.
Rohese Devereux Taylor is a journalist, writer and former trans-Pacific sailor. Her favourite colour is neon yellow and she is an expert parallel parker. She lives solo with her scruffy little sidekick, a Jack Russell terrier with short legs and a bit of an attitude.