How To Spend The Holidays Alone Without Punching Every Happy Couple In The Face

The holidays are normally a wonderful time of the year, but when you feel like a constant extra wheel at every social gathering you attend, they can be a bit of a downer. When you’re surrounded by a bit too much love over the holidays, remember to do these things to get your happiness back on track:

  1. Just say no. If you’re invited to a party where you know you’ll be the odd one out, or you know there may be a risk of an awkward run in with your ex, declining an invitation is perfectly acceptable. There’s nothing wrong with making sure you’re not the 17th wheel at a party if you feel like you’ll be uncomfortable the whole time.
  2. Have fun. When you’re at a get-together and obsessing about not being part of a couple, you’re sure to look like a Debbie Downer all alone in the corner. If you’re going to be around family and friends, you may as well make the best of it. Work the room, get into deep conversation with your aunt, eat an extra gingerbread man or two, reconnect with old friends, but no matter what, don’t sulk.
  3. Create a new tradition. Break out of your holiday routine and find new ways to celebrate the season. Run a 5K on Christmas morning instead of spending it in your PJs, start your own Friendsgiving where you invite other singles over, or spend New Years Eve in contemplation instead of partying. If you absolutely can’t spend time with your coupled-up friends, you might just have to make your own fun, and that’s okay.
  4. Redirect the conversation. When the chatting moves from polite small talk to invasive questions about your love life, hit them with all the things that are making your life fulfilled regardless of whether or not you’re single. Honestly, your personal life is no one’s business but your own, so if you have to make everyone’s eyes glaze over with a boring conversation topic in order to get them to butt out of your life, then so be it.
  5. Do something that you don’t normally do. There’s a kind of magic in the air this time of year that’s a lot like when you’re on vacation: you spend money you don’t have, you say yes when you’d usually say no, and you eat way more than you normally would. Use this time to break out of your comfort zone and go make your own fun. Go explore a new city, or maybe visit a cute new bookshop and spend the day reading outside of your normal genre.
  6. Be present. If you’re newly single, this one may be a challenge. There’s no use pining away for your ex or wasting time in your head thinking about what could’ve been. Nostalgia’s a bitch — it makes us remember all the glamor and none of the heartache. Don’t let it take over an otherwise joyful time of year. Be happy with your current state and remind yourself that life is too short to spend a bunch of time feeling sad.
  7. Talk about it. Don’t bottle up your emotions; if you’re feeling bummed about being alone for the holidays, enlist the help of a girlfriend who can remind you of how awesome you are. When you don’t have the daily assurance of a boyfriend basking in your greatness, it can become easy to forget without that verbal assurance.
  8. Stay optimistic. The downward spiral of negative thinking happens fast. Give in to it on Friday, and by Sunday night you’ll be laying in bed still surrounded by four empty pints of ice cream and a mountain of tissues. Misery pushes people away, it sucks the life out of us, and it is not a very good truth-teller. When your mind begins to wander, regroup by talking a walk, calling a friend, or finding a change of scenery.
  9. Look on the bright side. Instead of focusing on all the boyfriend benefits you’re missing out on this time of year, hone in on the luxuries of your singlehood. Invest more time in your passions, go a day without makeup, flirt with any guy you want. End the year on a good note, and start the new year off with a positive outlook on your life.


Lauren is a freelance writer living in New Jersey. When she's not deeply immersed in pondering the cosmos, you'll find her hiking a mountain, reading something philosophical, or dancing in her underwear. Read more of her existential musings at