Three words: New Year's Eve.
The holidays tend to be a pretty polarizing time: You either love them or you hate them. For so many there's the pressure of family get-togethers, big meals, and even bigger gifts. For others it's a magical time with snowglobe snow and an extra reason to spend time with your favorite people. I tend to swing between the two ends. One the one hand, I love Thanksgiving and Christmas. We spend it with one of my best friends and her family and no matter what we do we end up laughing until we cry and eating so much good food, stretchy pants are now a mandatory requirement. On the other hand, the holidays throw into sharp focus the fact that I’m alone. Every year I try very hard not to let that overshadow all the good, but it's still always there. Here are ten reasons the holidays suck when you're single (at least for me).
1. The Shitty Shifts At Work. Something that happens all year long when you're single, but especially ramps up during the holidays, is getting the shifts nobody wants. Being single seems to automatically nominate me for getting the late night/holiday shifts that nobody wants. And while the intention may not be anything other than to spend time with their family, it sends the message that because I don’t have a husband/wife/children waiting at home my time is less valuable.
2. Holiday Parties. Oh, the dreaded company holiday party where you’re expected to show up with a significant other. For me, this usually leaves two options. Option one: I bring some dude I barely know, which leads to lots of awkward "how did you meet" and "how long have you known each other" questions. Option two: I go stag and endure the questions about how many children I have, who I’m dating and watch the questioner’s face fall when I joke about my cat being my kid.
3. New Year’s Eve. I’ll be upfront about this: I hate New Year’s. I’ve never had a good one, mostly my own fault. I know New Year's Eve is a time for resolutions and a look back but all it does for me is show me all the things I didn’t do, all the things that I should have accomplished by this age and haven’t. It shows me how very much I’m not in a relationship. Again. Still. Also, the pressure to make fun New Year's Eve plans is damn near overwhelming.
4. New Year’s Eve Kiss. Let’s say I do manage to make plans. Now there’s the dreaded New Year’s Eve kiss to worry about. Because, as history has proven, it leaves me standing alone, usually just this side of sad-drunk pretending that this new year will be the best! year! ever! while everyone around me swaps spit.
5. Being Grilled About Your Dating Life. There is a look that loved ones have for the over (or nearing) thirty-year-old single people in their life. Pity tinged with exasperation with a hint of, “Still single? At this age?” While I would love nothing more than to share my life (and the holiday season) with someone yet another year rolls around where it’s not in the cards for me.
6. Holiday First Dates. Have you ever tried dating around the holidays? It sucks. All the merriment and focus on couples in love during the holiday season just adds an extra layer of pressure to first dates. And for the newly dating the do we/don’t we gift exchange dilemma seems like a no-win situation. Get a gift too early and you can seem over-eager; no gift and you’re Scrooge.
7. Mistletoe. Very little paints a sadder picture than single Shireen standing under the mistletoe waiting for a kiss that won’t be coming. Or a pity kiss from friends. Which is why I avoid mistletoe like it’s poison ivy. You won’t find me lingering under that little berry, oh no.
8. Holiday Cards. I’ve always struggled with sending cards out as a single person. On the one hand, I like it. I love stationary and I love sending out mail in general. On the other hand, no one wants to be that crazy, single lady signing her cards from her and Mr. Fluffers, the cat. Either way, it’s bittersweet as cards roll in from family and friends and I see their coupledom and happiness plastered on the front of every card. Yet another reminder of a solo holiday season gone by.
9. Sitting At The Kids’ Table. No room at the adult table during all those family get togethers? No worries, we’ll just shove the single girl at the kids’ table. She won’t mind, right? It’s not like she has a significant other to sit next to anyway.
10. Christmas Morning. Christmas morning has it's own special feel and there's something very lonely about waking up to an empty bed. I spend Christmas Eve at my parents' house. In the morning we all slowly wake up and once everyone has made it downstairs and has had an appropriate amount of caffeine to ensure a pleasant mood we start opening gifts. I love our lazy mornings. But for those first few moments after I've woken up, I can't help but wish I was sharing that quiet, special Christmas morning stillness with someone.