How to be Single at Christmas – repost

This post was first published in 2010

I find myself wanting to write something about being single at Christmas. After all, I’ve got some experience to draw on. There was a time when I used to find being on my own at Christmas a tricky thing to think about, but these days its one of the times of the year when I genuinely think I can be thankful for my single status and would prefer to sit down to a nice Christmas dinner on my own than to be a guest any number of other people’s tables.

Here’s a bit of what I’ve been learning.

If you like being with others on Christmas Day and others invite you to join in then go for it. However, decide some time before the big day what you want to do and stick to it. If you don’t want to be with others then make your mind up to resist all invitations. Don’t be frightened of saying to people that you like your Christmas and you wouldn’t want to miss out on it. They will look at you in awe and wonder. They may tell you that you are brave. Smile in a knowing kind of way and murmur, “No, I’m vulnerable too sometimes” and this will confirm them in their view that you are more valiant than Braveheart or the Bruce.

Being on your own at Christmas is one of those things that can seem daunting. However, if you make it through and enjoy it, think how pleased you’ll be. Remember the first time you went to see a film on your own, or sat down in a restaurant on your own and got a kick out of it? (Not achieved this yet? – stay tuned and I may write about it in the new year).

If you don’t want to be on your own, but find that you will be, do some planning before the day. You might like to volunteer to help other people out. You might opt to work if your place of employment offers work on Christmas Day. Otherwise, make some choices and decide to do something that reflects what you would most like to do if given the gift of a bit of time to yourself.

I work a lot over Christmas doing what I love – celebrating in sign and symbol and razzmatazz the good news that God is come into the world. If you’ve never gone to church much at Christmas, don’t be shy. There isn’t a congregation the length or breadth of the country worth its salt that wouldn’t welcome you in to whatever they do. Cathedrals offer lots of special things at this time of the year and are very used to people coming on their own. One of the reasons that Cathedral congregations are perceived to be doing relatively well at the moment is that single people are welcome through the year. Its a place where it ain’t odd to come on your own and you can choose whether to scoot out of the door the moment the organ plays at the end or hang around and chat afterwards. Safe topics of conversation are – the weather, the music and how glamorous the Provost looked in that cope. If you really want to blend in, seek out some of the servers and ask them to show you some thurible tricks in a quiet corner.

When it comes to spending Christmas Day on my own, I tend to make sure that I’ve got good food in. I also am apt to buy a couple of treats in case I want entertainment – a DVD of an obscure film that no-one else would want to see, a salacious book (other than the Bible) and a pot of Waitrose custard are all it takes to make me sure that I’ll be OK these days. Nice magazines and mud-based face-packs for a sneaky spa afternoon are optional but highly desirable.

Be assured that you don’t have to play by anyone else’s expectations. If you want pea and ham risotto rather than roast a whole turkey for yourself, who is to stop you? And risotto is such comfort food at this time of the year. But stir it slow now,  stir it slow.

Decorate as much or as little as you like. I tend to like a minimalist Chirstmas with trees firmly in place and decorated at church but not at home. However I knew someone once who did out his whole house in pink feather boas and twinkling lights just to celebrate the birth of the Bethlehem babe.

In all your planning, remember the golden rule of coping at Christmas on your own: It is your choice.

Make it.

This post was previously posted on this blog. Previous comments can be seen here.


  1. What wise stuff!

  2. Jackie Heatlie says

    How wonderful it sounds – no- one to cook for etc, just pleasing yourself. I’ll take a leaf out of your book & set aside a day when Andrew & I can do this with a slight alteration so 2 of us can do it.

  3. Dharma says

    To be with yourself at Christmas is one of those things that most people avoid. Probably because they have been told that they must be with family, friends. Otherwise they are people who have no families etc. I’m not sure what I will do yet. Going to stay with my mum and brother is OK. What I don’t like is the food, overcooked or cold or something. Anyway will post afterwards, might be just was alone. Possibly arrested for attacking someone. 😊

  4. Suzette van Rooyen says

    Inspirational writing! Love it, and its just what I’ve done for Christmas. Wishing you all a Blessed Christmas

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