A young lady I know was recently looking through old pictures on her phone, and commented on the fact that her sister (I will call her Jane) had had different boyfriends over for Christmas dinner for two consecutive years. There they were, all smiles and hugs, surrounded by piles of discarded brightly coloured wrapping paper. She sighed in a humorous but resigned way: “I wonder if I’m going to be expected to buy presents again this year for some man I barely know and who is unlikely to be on the scene next Christmas?”, which made me laugh and brought to mind the saying, ‘a pet (in this case boyfriend) is for life not just for Christmas’… only, where Jane is concerned, the other way round!
I shared this conversation with Jane, including my little joke, and she said, “I know… I just hate not having a boyfriend at Christmas! It feels really lonely, somehow.” However, as it happens, she has a first date with a new love interest this weekend… and, if that doesn’t work out, there are still another 5 weeks to go…
A perfect fantasy…
I love the sense and anticipation of Christmas… the something-warm-and-wonderful to look forward to. However, it wasn’t always that way and I know that for some folk Christmas brings only stress and struggle, something they would prefer not to have to get through. Television adverts entice us into believing that everyone has more than enough cash to spare for extravagant, beautifully wrapped gifts, presented to jolly, smiling friends and relatives gathered around huge, sparkling trees… not to mention tables groaning under the mountainous weight of delicious food and drink. And, of course, everyone has a special someone – you know, that person who hands over the little ribbon-wrapped velvet box containing something shiny and expensive. It’s all bollocks of course, and we know that it is… but still, deep down inside, many of us still harbour a wistful, hopeful belief that maybe Santa really does exist, and that Christmas really can be perfect. We humans need to have something to believe in and aspire to, and even though it is definitely not the best time of year for everyone, I still want to say, “long live Christmas… the world would be a sadder place without it”.
There is a lot of love around at Christmas, love that is always there but is sometimes forgotten about and taken for granted during the rest of the year. This spurt of sharing and caring makes it so much harder for the singles who don’t necessarily want that status, and even though they have the company of family and close friends, they still feel lonely. We’ve all been there. And, I don’t know about anyone else, but I have also been in a relationship that really made me wish I was single in the run-up to Christmas, virtually every year! It would start in October: “There’s no Christmas this year… we can’t afford it and the kids are old enough now to accept that (they were still attending primary school). I’m putting my foot down, and that’s the way it is.” Come Christmas day, when I had scraped and scrimped to make it all happen, he would enjoy the proceedings, filling his face with food and drink before falling asleep in front of the fire. I understood that money was incredibly tight, but it is amazing what you can do with very little, when you have to. I was always exhausted, but also incredibly relieved and satisfied when I knew that I had ‘made it’, against all the odds. Being in a relationship is not always all that it is cracked up to be, at Christmas time. Christmas tends to bring out the best in couples who are basically happy together… but it also brings out the worst in those who are not (I still have a recurrent dream in which my children are very young again and it is late Christmas eve or early Christmas morning… and I realise that I haven’t bought anything, and don’t have much money anyway – and that all of the shops are closing. I panic, rushing around, only to discover that all of the good stuff has gone, leaving only rubbish or things I can’t afford. I cannot tell you how happy I am to wake up from that particular nightmare!).
Anyway, back to the subject of singledom and the festive season. I have to admit that I don’t have much experience of it (and the first Christmas after leaving the above-mentioned relationship saw me happily washing-up after dinner whilst the children played their new computer games, listening to a Rod Stewart c.d. and getting rather p****d on vodka. I annoyed the hell out of them by continuously opening the kitchen door to remind them how much I loved them… until they locked me in for a couple of hours which actually turned out to be quite blissful. After all, I had my music, my booze, a fridgeful of food, and yesterday’s newspaper to read!). Because Christmas is generally about family and togetherness, singles can experience a sense of emptiness, and, because feelings tend to become highlighted and exaggerated at this time of year, even believe that they are running out of time – which is never true. Work-place Christmas parties probably don’t help, especially if the single gets into a drunken clinch with someone they will struggle to face after the holidays, and being invited to celebrate the festivities with well-meaning in-a-relationship friends has the capacity to underline the fact that the single is… single!
So, if you are a single who is likely to feel sad about your status this Christmas, how about this:
You take a serious, realistic look around you and recognise the stress and strain some couples you know are more than likely going to subject each other to… and then thank God that you aren’t in that position!
You remind yourself of exes you are really glad you aren’t stuck with this year, and embrace your freedom!
You consciously choose to relax and enjoy this Christmas, focusing on the good stuff and the company of those you love… whilst looking forward to a brand new year – a year that could be the one that changes everything for you, in the best possible way!
You commit to ‘manifesting’ the perfect partner for you, in time for next Christmas! Throughout the coming year you are going to invest time and energy in the calm, consistent visualisation of the kind of person you would really love to be with (and vice versa, of course). You know that they exist, somewhere out there in the world. You know that they are waiting for you, too… and all that is required is alignment (oh… and a bit of patience!).
You remember that Christmas, whilst wonderful, is short-lived and comes and goes in the blink of an eye. There will be many different Christmas experiences ahead for you, shared by some old familiar faces and others you haven’t yet come to know. As each Christmas comes to an end, there is another yet to unfold… one that might even be more meaningful than the last!
I told Jane that I was going to write this blog, and she asked me to present her in a positive light… and to say that she is becoming more choosy now. I think that’s probably more for her own benefit than ours, as in she is reminding herself of the fact! I think that maybe, for singles, finding someone by Christmas is a kind of bench-mark… something exciting to aim for – and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But, if it is true that a boyfriend is for Christmas and not necessarily for life, I may just have a new business idea: rent a Christmas partner (and receive your deposit back if you return them clean and undamaged, after the holiday!).