5 Strategies For Handling The Holidays When You're Single—Or In A Relationship

Credit: Thinkstock

Credit: Thinkstock

We all know the holidays aren’t always the most wonderful time of the year. Single or coupled up, we all have to deal with travel (whether it’s planes, trains or automobiles, they’re all annoying), our families (most of the time), being over-scheduled between parties, work obligations and desperate attempts to keep our sanity.

If you’re single, the holidays can be lonely. But if you’re coupled, can be less about loneliness and just more stressful. So, how do you survive the chaos and actually enjoy some eggnog? It’s easy, if you follow a few simple and very realistic rules.

New Year's


New Year's Eve is for amateurs. And at least in my opinion, a colossal waste of cash. For single people, the stress of finding a date or something to do can be emotionally draining. For couples, it’s a whole lot of pressure for very little return. Seriously kids, it’s just another Wednesday night. Let me be Debbie Downer and say my solution is to forget about the whole thing entirely. Unless you feel compelled to go to a big party, don’t get overly involved in the outcome of December 31.

Also, whether you’re single or part of a partnership, if what you really want to do is stay home and re-watch season two of Orange Is The New Black with a bottle of wine and some General Tso’s chicken . . . New Year's Eve is the perfect night to give into the desire.

Singles, here’s your reality check: Stop hoping the person you’ve been chatting with on Tinder for the past week will end up being your big, stupid, New Year’s Eve kiss or that person who's been your on-and-off booty call for the past three years will finally invite you out on December 31st. If you’re craving an adventure, be proactive and go to one of the many events especially for singles on New Year's Eve. Take control and make your own plans. Don’t rely on people who have disappointed you in the past for New Year’s Eve because when it doesn’t work out, you will only feel worse.

Couples, you don’t have to go to a crazy party together to make it a fun night. If there isn’t a party you both really want to go to together, make reservations at a restaurant with a New Year’s Eve prix fixe and simply make New Year's Eve a super special date night.

Or throw your own party—it doesn’t matter if you invite 1 person or 100 people. No matter what you do, it’s only one night of your life—just try to enjoy yourself!

Pre-plan For Annoying Questions From Your Family

If you’re planning on seeing your extended family that you maybe only see once a year (when even that may be more than enough), some inevitable questions will always come up about your love life. Can’t everyone just mind their own business? (Apparently not.)

Prepare in advance for Aunt Frieda’s lack of sensitivity and come up with canned answers that close the discussion. If she asks you why you’re single every year, rest assured, this year will be no different. So if she moves forward with this query, saying something like “I have so many possibilities, it’s hard to choose just one,” or “There are so many people interested in dating me, it’s just too hard to fend them all off. Sometimes, I have to carry a stick,” should shut Frieda up like a clam.

For couples, hopefully your family members will have the good sense not to ask about when you are getting engaged, or when you are going to have kids. While these questions sound almost impossibly out of line, don’t forget, strange things happen when you bring together families and booze. Answer this absurd question with something equally obnoxious yet delightfully passive aggressive, maybe: “Would you like another drink?”


There’s no better way to feel grateful for what you have—no matter what you have—when you realize there are people who have less. There are all sorts of ways to volunteer, whether it's helping at a women’s shelter or soup kitchen, answering an underprivileged child’s letter to Santa or even petting some kittens or walking dogs at your local animal shelter.

Make Time For Yourself/selves

Schedules can be tight, but be sure to take time for yourself/your relationship, regardless of whether you are single or coupled. Even a 20-minute bubble bath is better than nothing. Or exercise—not because this activity is often associated with New Year’s resolutions, but because it reduces stress almost instantly. Exercising is also a great activity to do with your partner, especially if you don’t have time for a full date night. It doesn’t matter if it’s a brisk walk in the park or a yoga class; the point is just to get moving.

And Don’t Forget. . .

The holiday season will be over in less than two weeks. By the time you finally get used to people ringing bells in your face every time you step outside your house, it will be over.

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