Christmas is a funny time of year. The pressure of having a perfect day itself, re-mortgaging your house to keep up with ‘the Jones’ regarding present buying and ensuring that your diary is brimming with Christmas parties and celebration drinks beforehand, all work towards making sure that sometimes, it is less the season of goodwill and more the season of pressure and high expectations.
And nothing brings disappointment like high expectations – and gift sets from Boots. Whilst I don’t dispute that having a season to recognise your loved ones is a good thing, sometimes there is only so much cheap mulled wine one can drink before feeling a bit icky.
I comment on this after having read a particularly woeful article this week – one about the disappointment of being single at Christmas. How difficult it is to see others ice-skating and eating mince pies together when you are on your own.
Before I suggest coping strategies you might try to deal with your first world pain, might I suggest that a person who is ‘lonely at christmas’ is, in effect, lonely at every other time of the year too, but simply recognises it more clearly because Christmas is gift wrapped and sold to us as a time of love and fuzziness.
So, on a broader level, my advice would be to think less about the season you are in and more about the head space you are in. However, if you really are determined to wallow, here are some suggestions that might help reduce the impact the season of goodwill has on your self esteem.
Forget about it.
Probably easier said than done when mince pies start being sold in M&S in September. However, if Christmas really is as torturous as you suggest and heightens your sense of emotional solitary confinement so dramatically, treat yourself to a yuletide bypass.
Book two weeks in Thailand where you can get completely fucked on Sangsom and Red Bull for 14 days and return home, brown, hungover and happy. Should this not be in your budget, avoidance is the key. Forget the tree, the cards, the tinsel and the christmas special Starbucks nutmeg chai Latte with whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkles. The power of the mind is an amazing thing and you’ll find that repeating the mantra ‘fuck this’ every time you pass the Salvation Army singing ‘We Three Kings’ down Oxford Street will do wonders for your soul.
Snap out of it.
It’s Christmas you don’t have a boyfriend – deal with it. Life is not fair, and sadly we don’t always get what we want. At the moment you don’t have a boyfriend at Christmas, feeling sorry for yourself will not resolve this.
What will more likely resolve it will be taking advantage of the numerous drunk men out for their office parties every afternoon in the lead up to Christmas. Nothing says ‘easy snog’ like an open bar laid on by head office. If you cant pull on the Friday before Christmas in a central London All Bar One then you literally, can’t pull anywhere.
What would you rather, ice-skating at Somerset House with a boyfriend who loves and respects you or being fingered by Darren from accounts in the toilets of a soho pub after 6 shots of Jaegermeister? You see, told you there was a silver lining.
Despite being sold the dream that being in a relationship, not least of all at Christmas, is the golden chalice of happiness, you’d be surprised at how deceiving this is. I long for the day that people become more realistic about the reality of relationships. Yes of course, they are lovely and fabulous and fun, yadda, yadda – but they are rarely perfect and will have very littler impact on your happiness if you are not already happy within yourself.
Aside from that, they also mean you have to spend Christmas Day with ‘in-laws’. The one thing I relish about Christmas Day is the fact that, with my own family, I can start drinking at 10am, do the bare minimum with regards to anything that involves a turkey and be reasonably open about how excited I am for boxing day to arrive. Relish this.
If you’re depressed about spending another year single at your parents house, consider the reality and be grateful that you can start drinking vodka straight from the bottle before 11am in your pyjamas and nobody is going to judge you.
Live in the moment.
Because that’s all you have. Tinsel aside, your life in this moment is all you have now, so whether it is Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day or Halloween, wasting precious time on wishing you were someone else, had someone else or thinking you were dealt the wrong set of life cards will do you absolutely no good what-so-ever.
Go to the Christmas party, drink the mulled wine, look forward to charades with your dad (Ok, maybe not that) and recognise what you have not pine for what you don’t have.
Believe me, one day, you’ll be cooking for seven while your husband’s relaxing on the sofa watching Only Fools and Horses re-runs and barking orders at you about brussel sprouts and you’ll wonder what you ever had to moan about.