While Christmas can be an incredibly festive time of year for some, for the single gal the holiday season can be a depressing reminder that "No, mom, I am not dating anyone special." Commercials and glossy magazine adverts show family members coming together over carols and eggnog and those jewelry commercials, oh, the jewelry store commercials! One would think everyone in the world gets engaged over Christmas or New Year's.
Well, in fact, it is the most popular time of the year to pop the question, and diamond retailers know this. The Christmas season is also considered the most romantic season, and why not? Everywhere you look entire towns are decorated in flattering mood-lighting.
After the wave of Christmas engagements announced on Facebook comes the mad rush to find a date and get that midnight kiss on New Year's. This year there is even a movie about that, because there are not enough ways to feed women's neurotic romantic notions that this time of year is when dashing men in tuxedos fall out of the sky—brandishing Tiffany's boxes containing 3-karat princess-cut diamond rings in flawless platinum settings. Ta da!
It's so easy for ladies to get swept away by silly ideals about romance, only to feel miserable and let down when their real lives don't live up to their (or society's) expectations. As Jane Austen noted, "A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment."
So here is a little guide to coping with high holiday expectations, and what not to do.
I cannot stress this enough, do not find solace in alcohol. Do not drink alone and, most certainly, do not get completely inebriated at parties. This is not the proper and socially acceptable way to cope with being the only singleton at a party filled with couples and nagging relatives inquiring how a nice girl like you can still be single.
Don't stick your head in the sand and completely ignore Christmas and New Year's. Isolating yourself won't work, unless the only party you're attending this month is the pity party you plan to host. Alone.
Lastly and most importantly, don't believe that being single at Christmastime is the end of the world, because, you see—despite all the ads telling you differently—Christmas is not about you and whether or not you have a boyfriend.
Christmas is not high school. In fact, you are probably the only person who really cares whether you're dating anyone. When family and friends inquire about your status it is highly likely they are doing nothing more than attempting to make polite conversation, but because it's a sensitive subject to you, your perception of their inquiries is slanted negatively. Don't be so absorbed in your own miseries that you take everything personally.
Unless you are languishing away completely forgotten in a nursing home, hospital bed, or prison cell, the chances are high you are not alone in the truest sense and you have much to be thankful for. Whenever I'm faced with the temptation to become self-absorbed and feel twinges of loneliness and self-pity, I take those pangs and make them a prayer for the real suffering of those who are homeless, starving, and forgotten. Then those feelings become useful, constructive, and even meaningful, rather than empty dead ends.
So, this is how I recommend staying focused on Christmas and not on ourselves: Ponder the miracle of the Incarnation of Christ and the sacrifice he made for us by becoming the Word Made Flesh, and the most vulnerable creature on earth. Do this for any length of time and I guarantee you any feelings of loneliness and pity you have will no longer exist.
By refusing to focus on ourselves and, instead, focusing on Christ, we cannot help but feel overwhelming joy this season. There's no room for pity to take up residence in our hearts.
I wish you all a very Merry and blessed Christmas.
12/23/2011 5:00:00 AM