How to navigate those “Home Alone” Holidays
Sunday, December 18, 2016 49 Comments
The Single Person’s Holiday Playbook
(Putting an end to those awkward holidays!)
© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
An edited reblog of a previously published article
ENOUGH with the questions from well-meaning others!
Whether we are alone by choice or circumstance, holidays can be, at best, awkward.
“Have any plans for the upcoming holiday?” can be asked at any moment – even by total strangers trying to be friendly in grocery lines.
ANY version of, “Not really,” is something they do NOT, actually, want to hear.
Nor is it something that most of us who are already feeling marooned are eager to utter aloud.
No Mom, s/he won’t be coming
As any single person who’s ever gone “HOME for the holidays” can probably tell you, being “unpartnered” during special family events can present a unique set of challenges, especially the first time.
It runs the gamut:
- from feeling awkward, maybe a bit defensive about your [lack of] relationship status this particular holiday,
- all the way to feeling that you must either “ruin everyone’s holiday with a display of pique” -or-
- grit your teeth, grin and bear it as you attempt to find a way to politely field unintentionally rude inquiries about why you happen to be alone.
The Formerly Familied
Far too many individuals who are divorced, widowed, separated (or outliving their families and many of their friends) can find solo-holidays sad and depressing.
A friend of mine, an emotionally healthy, extremely self-reliant, empty-nest single parent says her married kids “make other plans” for major holidays — at the very least every other year.
She really doesn’t resent the reality that the kids have their own lives, hope to start their own family traditions, and deserve to feel unconflicted about making holiday plans that won’t always include her, BUT . . .
She says that she can’t face cooking a holiday meal for one OR going to a restaurant alone when everyone but her seems to have somebody celebrating WITH them.
She also finds it unbearably depressing to fuff around in her pajamas and slippers ALL day, even though she feels like she is “all dressed up with no place to go” if she doesn’t.
Reaching out to help others?
Even singles who volunteer at soup kitchens and so on have to make it through at least a portion of the day totally alone, at a time that was once known for family get-togethers.
People who never drink anything stronger than root beer have confessed that the idea of becoming a regular at their town’s version of the Cheers bar crosses their minds more than a few times, just to have somewhere to go and a few people to talk to on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve.
Different ways to make it work . . .
Since I have spent most of the major holidays alone for many years now, I’m hoping that I will be able to help you look at things in ways you haven’t already thought of, tried and rejected.
In any case, I’m not planning to rehash the holiday survival tips already found all over the internet (but in case you have missed a few bloggy ideas, check out the articles under the Related Articles ’round the net heading in the links below the original post.)
Don’t forget that you can always check out the sidebar
for a reminder of how links work on this site, they’re subtle ==>
The Expectations Mismatch
Even those of us who love to shake things up relatively often tend to be traditionalists-at-heart where the major holidays are concerned. That tendency can make mood-management more difficult than it needs to be, however.
We are in danger of falling into a black and white thinking trap all too easily – then making ourselves and the holiday wrong if we aren’t able to reproduce every single element!
Make-wrong, by the way, is a term bandied about easily in the coaching community and, for the rest of you, it means exactly what you probably think it does.
Make-wrong is a particular view of the world and human interaction that appears to maintain that there is some single appropriate and proper way that things are to be handled and languaged (and that the person on the receiving end of any not-so-subtle comments is somehow NOT behaving appropriately, according to “the rules of the universe as absolutes in polite society.”)
It’s not always easy to put your finger on, but
most of us have been on the receiving end far too often!
What’s really sad is that, given enough exposure, most of us internalize the make-wrong to the extent that we begin to should all over ourselves!
[noun] the way something is supposed to occur “when things are functioning correctly,” regardless of appropriateness to the current situation or individual;
[verb] communicating a personal world-view as if it were an undisputed standard of behavior; covert, indirect and manipulative – used subconsciously when the communicator is unwilling to express his or her preferences in an open and observable fashion; designed to enforce compliance through shame without taking ownership of the dynamic, remaining unconscious as a protective mechanism
[internalized] an adopted standard that is not in alignment with a person’s true values.
[used unconsciously] a nasty habit of language that keeps life small and mean
©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, 1996-2016; from my upcoming ADD Coaching Glossary
Where the holidays are concerned, we can hardly be blamed for wanting to recreate that special glow we so fondly recall – but the instant it begins to slide over into SHOULD territory, we’re setting ourselves up for misery.
So what’s a poor Single to DO?
Well you could take a page from the fabulous Teagan Geneviene and host a virtual party.
Hop over to her Three Things Serial 1920s Party — either to join in on the fun or to peer through a virtual window to see what in the world I’m talking about!
There are a ton of very jolly “official” writers in attendance, but I’m sure a few bloggers have slipped in as well — so don’t feel like you must bring a link to a book you’ve published to be welcomed warmly.
I’ve actually moved the post date up on this article to give more of you a chance to party hearty.
As long as you make up your mind to communicate without dragging your misery along, virtual parties can be a great deal of fun – and you will likely increase the size of your virtual community quite a bit.
If that’s not your particular cup of tea, make sure you click to the rest of the article for some tips on shaking up the paradigm completely. Continue to the remainder of the article, with the bulk of the tips, after the following description of . . .
The BEST Christmas present ever . . .
Are you struggling with life pragmatics that many others seem to take in stride? Wouldn’t you like to stop trying again what you’ve already tried that hasn’t made much of a difference at all? Gift YOURSELF something that will make you feel better than almost anything else you could ever buy – an investment in your LIFE.
If you are looking for an amazing gift for someone else who is struggling – maybe even driving you a little bit crazy – consider buying them a seat in the next Group Coaching.
No amount of free web-based information will ever replace personal attention from a skilled expert. Experienced support from a real-live human being who has spent the last 30 years studying Executive Functioning Disorders is the most valuable thing I have to offer. And I’m practically giving it away right now.
Take me up on it
Not sure? Let me know you are interested in the comments section below and FOLLOW so that I will have an email address to contact you before class registration closes, or if a spot opens up subsequently. (at the top of the rightmost column, right above the spam counter).
For More Info: Click to the LinkList of the Group Coaching posts HERE
As the remainder of the original article concludes
(once you click the link below for the tips):
- Don’t set yourself for a good hit of resentment and a miserable holiday time and when nobody is available.
- Make sure you “set things up so that you get to win” — even if you spend most of your holidays alone in the future.
Comments are encouraged and eagerly awaited below OR under the original article – EVEN from Grinches and Humbugs – as long as you don’t make individual people wrong, and do your best to avoid the dreaded “should” word, I will approve all comers (link-spammers shot on sight, however).
© 2016, all rights reserved
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There’s a lot to know, a lot here already, and a lot more to come – in this Series and in others.
Get it here while it’s still free for the taking.
Want to work directly with me? If you’d like some coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading this Series (one-on-one couples or group), click HERE for Brain-based Coaching with mgh, with a contact form at its end (or click the E-me link on the menubar at the top of every page). Fill out the form, submit, and an email SOS is on its way to me; we’ll schedule a call to talk about what you need. I’ll get back to you ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible!)
You might also be interested in some of the following articles
available right now – on this site and elsewhere.
For links in context: run your cursor over the article above and the dark grey links will turn dark red;
(subtle, so they don’t pull focus while you read, but you can find them to click when you’re ready for them)
— and check out the links to other Related Content in each of the articles themselves —
Related articles right here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com
(in case you missed them above or below)
- Brain-based Coaching with Madelyn Griffith-Haynie
- Shame on Shoulds
- ABOUT Black and White Thinking
- Moving from Black or White to GREY
- The Virtues of Lowering your Standards
- Expectation Mismatches (and Moon Men)
A Few LinkLists by Category (to articles here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com)
- The Optimal Functioning (Challenges) Series of articles
(about the Inventory & articles from each category)
- The Christmas Happy Christmas LinkList
- The MASTER LinkList