The holidays are a time for family, good food, and checking your account balance to make sure you didn't overdraft after Black Friday. (Spoiler alert: you probably did. You always do.) The holidays are also a time for love, according to every ABC Family original movie ever made.
Exactly one year ago, I was in love. I was in total everyone-hates-me-because-I'm-so-happy-and-I-want-to-tell-everyone-about-it-even-the-dude-making-my-sandwich-at-Subway kind of love.
This year, I am not. This year, I am single. This year, I won't have the pleasure of filling my friends' Facebook feeds with photos of my boyfriend and I partaking in wintertime activities, including — but not limited to — ice skating, decorating the tree, and kissing under the mistletoe, in the middle of a frozen lake, or in the Christmas section of Walmart. But don't feel bad for me; I am not alone. Approximately 450,000 Americans will be single this Christmas (if you trust a stranger to report potentially false statistics, that's on you). That means this Christmas there will be 450,000 people sadder than a child who found out Santa isn't real. (I hope you already knew that Santa isn't real. If you didn't, I'm sorry I was the one to tell you. Why you're just finding this out now is none of my business, but someone had to say it.)
If you're like me, this will be your first holiday after a breakup, and celebrating your first Christmas as newly single can be tough. Sure, people are dying of starvation in Third World countries, but your tears are valid too. To help you get through a time that isn't so merry and bright (for those of you who didn't catch that, I just made a reference to the 1942 hit, "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby, a very popular Christmas song), here are some tips on how to deal with your first Christmas alone:
Think About Volunteering
Christmas is the season of giving, and what better way to give back this year than volunteering that isn't court-mandated? You don't even need to actually go out and volunteer your own time; just share some article on Facebook about a touching story of someone who spent his Christmas holiday volunteering in Haiti. It will show people you thought about volunteering, but with all of the busyness of the season, you just didn't have the time. Just do what you always do and look down as you pass the Salvation Army donation collector outside of Walmart so you can pretend you didn't see him. You'll donate on the way out. Oh, what's that? You left your wallet at home? Don't worry; there are plenty more articles you can share.
Justify Buying Yourself Something Expensive By Telling Yourself You Deserve It
You hinted at your ex for months about that expensive gift you were hoping they'd get you, but now it looks like you'll have to get it for yourself. With your ex out of the picture, you have more money to spend on what really matters: you. Those Steve Madden shoes? That Michael Kors watch? That collection of expensive teas you read will help you lose weight by making you poop six times a day? Buy all of it. After all, you deserve it. When you're forced to buy your mother a cat calendar when she deserves at least a discount candle because your credit card got declined after the great poop-tea purchase, just remember: you deserve it. When you have to look your sister in the eye as she opens your re-gifted Reba McEntire Christmas CD because you spent her Christmas gift money on a teeth-whitening service, remember: you deserve it. And when you completely forgot to get your father anything because you were too excited about the free shipping on your Keurig, you should really think about your choices. He created you — at least get him some socks.
Don't Look Any Relatives in the Eye
Though you asked your mom to brief the family about not asking questions regarding the breakup, there is going to be at least one relative who never got the memo, or did and doesn't know how to read a room. That relative won't ask you about it at first because he or she will be too busy making sure you know that getting a degree in communications was worthless, followed by several backhanded compliments about your weight. If possible, it's best to avoid eye contact at all costs; however, if you do happen to lock eyes as you're passing the mashed potatoes during dinner, don't look away. Intrusive relatives can smell fear. Instead, when Aunt Linda asks you, "What happened to [insert ex's name here]?" smile, and politely tell her you've been watching her spike her drink all night, even though she's been telling everyone that she's six-months sober. Not only will she drop the subject, she'll also be so embarrassed that she'll continue to drink and cause a scene between herself and your mother about who got the better half of your dead grandmother's will. Hey, more mashed potatoes for you.
Marry Your Cousin
There's always been something about your cousin, Eric. He just ...gets you. He never pries at family get-togethers, never complains about sitting at the kids' table, and with his new haircut, he doesn't resemble Uncle Dan as much. You're pretty much damaged goods at this point, and Eric isn't picky. You've already seen each other naked in the bathtub when you were five, so there are no surprises. You also both share a hatred for Aunt Linda after she ruined Christmas three years in a row (heroin isn't for everybody). This might be your last chance at love, and you shouldn't let something as silly as having the same last name get in your way.
By following these simple tips, you can make sure your Christmas holiday isn't ruined by heartbreak. You'll find there are plenty of ways you can still enjoy the season, alone; however, if your ex decides to text you "Merry Christmas," with one or several appropriately themed emojis, you should probably just sleep with them. You deserve it.