I have not gone home to Atlanta for the Holidays in quite some time.  Last Christmas, and probably this one too, I will be home alone.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and I love Christmas.  But my work schedule has been overwhelming and I need the time off during the Holiday season to catch up on some personal projects and just relax a bit.  And, honestly, I love me some “me time” so I can’t wait!

Usually on Christmas day,  I cook a huge soul food dinner and host a house full of single friends.  It is a wonderful time, but it is a lot of work. This year, I still plan to cook a full meal and I put up a tree… but just for little ‘ol me :-).

What’s surprising is how much of a problem my holiday plan is for others.  I can’t tell you how many conversations I have had (last year and this year) trying to convince friends and co-workers that I look forward to spending some quality me time.  One co-worker actually teared up last year when I shared my plans to be alone for Christmas day.

Here’s the thing, I get why people have a problem with my solo Christmas. Society teaches us that the Christmas season is all about spending time with family and/or that significant other.  That makes it the second time of year that single women are pitied the most (of course Valentine’s Day is number one).  Even if you do make it home for Christmas, there is always at least one relative that is going to make some comment about you needing to find that husband and/or have that baby because you are not getting any younger.  Jolly good times.

What’s worse is that may of us end up dwelling on the fact that we are single and that another year is ending without a ring on our finger or a baby in our bellies.   So we get into a holiday funk. Well, that ends this year!   You have a choice to actually be SINGLE AND FAB this holiday season and I’m going to give you five ways to get it done.

Tap into your inner child and remember all the joy and excitement you had about Christmas in your youth.  It’s called the ‘Christmas Spirit and you don’t have to be married to catch it.  Here are some ways to help you do that: put up a tree and decorate your home; turn on some of your favorite holiday songs; make a schedule to watch all of your holiday favorites on TV (It’s a Wonderful Life); drive through nearby neighborhoods that go all out decorating the outside of their homes; go Christmas caroling; attend a local Christmas play or concert and if you’re in NYC go and see the department store window decorations.

Once you capture that Christmas spirit, don’t let anyone steal that joy.  Some singles will spend time with family or married friends. and as I mentioned earlier, chances are someone is going to bring up the fact that you are single and/or childless.  That is a conversation that many single women don’t want to be pulled into, especially if the issue is a source of sadness. Even if you’ve made peace with your singleness, having to over explain it in order to convince others can be exhausting and a downer.  So prepare yourself by arming yourself with a response to shut down the conversation. You don’t have to be nasty, but don’t be afraid to be firm.  You can also use humor or sarcasm.  Just be prepared.  Here are some suggestions: (If you want to immediately shut down the potential conversation, just add a sarcastic yet firm “Is that alright with you?” to the end of any of # 1-5, then look them in the eye with a straight face and wait for a response).

Relative:              Jacque, what are you waiting on to get married and have children?

Response #1     Oh, I thought you wanted to spend time with me.  Am I not enough?
Response#2      I don’t need a husband or children to make me happy and be fulfilled.
Response #3     Those things will happen when and if they are supposed to  happen.
Response #4      Respectfully, that is a personal matter that I would rather not discuss if that’s ok with you?
Response #5      This holiday I am just trying to celebrate the people that are in my life right now.  We all have so much to be grateful for.
Response #6      I’ve decided to become a nun. (then quickly walk away)

If you can’t get home to family or don’t have any plans with friends for Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve, you still need to make those days special.  And by special, I mean doing the things that make you happy.  On Christmas Day, if you plan to stay home alone, make sure you  have some of your favorite foods on hand.  No dieting!! Have a big breakfast  and an even bigger dinner.  I love to cook, so I will be in the kitchen most of the day, starting off with egg nog waffles!   Great movies come out on Christmas day, plan to go and see one or more.  If you love tv, buy some special pajamas to stay in all day and binge watch a series you’ve been wanting to see… Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Scandal.   If you crave a little company, host some of your single friends.  You can cook or organize a pot luck.  You can also host some friends for New Year’s Day.  If you choose to spend that day solo, make sure you treat yourself to some bubbly, great snacks and find a great countdown show on tv (which you will probably turn to about 5 minutes or less before midnight).  Make sure you raise a glass and celebrate all the good times to come in 2014.  Again, it doesn’t have to be anything too involved, just plan ahead and it will be special.

There is nothing selfish about celebrating you.  Whether it is a special bobble from Tiffany’s, a new sweater or your favorite cupcake from the local bakery, get a gift for yourself.  You should wrap it up  (not the cupcake) and put it under the tree.   The point is to have something special to open up on Christmas morning, while listening to holiday music.

Let’s be honest,  Christmas is not Christmas without Jesus and all that he represents (And hey… he was single BTW).  Why not get back to what this Holiday is really about… love, kindness, joy, sharing…. and spend some time helping people in need?  Sure you could send money, but nothing will give you more holiday joy than personally being of service to the less fortunate.  From feeding the hungry to helping the homeless to visiting sick or orphaned children,  there is plenty to choose from in your area.   Just connect with a reputable organization and give the best gift of all… your time.