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I’ve never had a boyfriend at Christmas and I couldn’t be happier


I don’t want a lot for Christmas. There’s just one thing I need. In fact, all I want for Christmas is for singleton shaming to be a thing of the past. That, and a bottle of Le Labo Thé Noir 29, of course (IYKYK).

If you’ve ever been single at Christmas, you’ll have likely been asked a question about your relationship status by a nosy relative.

In reality, you’re unfettered and ready to snog a stranger under the mistletoe. Being single at Christmas is liberating. You can retire the dating apps for two weeks with a plan to start swiping in the new year.

For now, it’s a time to kick back and spend quality time with family and friends. So, why does “single at Christmas” give rise to reactions of pity?

‘Aw babe, you’ll find someone’

Being single over the holidays is — contrary to popular opinion — really great. I’ve never had a boyfriend at Christmas and I’ve always had a lovely time. This year will be no different.

How long must I endure pitiful looks and statements like “aw babe, you’ll find someone” any time I mention my status as a singleton over the festive season? Maybe I won’t find someone! Maybe I will! My self-worth and happiness won’t be impacted either way. Let’s not forget: unmarried child-free women are the happiest people in society.

Not once have I spent an evening in my pyjamas singing Celine Dion’s “All by myself” at the top of my voice à la Bridget Jones. Never have I lamented my status as a singleton or felt bad about my lack of a partner during the festive season. That hasn’t stopped distant family members asking me when I plan on getting myself a boyfriend (here’s a list of good responses to that question!).

This year on 25 December, I’ll start my day as I have done every Christmas for my entire adult life: with a lie-in, a glass of champagne, a bacon sandwich, and a stocking full of presents. I won’t have a care in the world, other than perhaps ensuring my dad doesn’t force me to watch every single Ice Age movie again.

The grass isn’t always greener

While I’m sure it’s really lovely to have a partner to share the festive period with, I’m also aware of the drawbacks and stresses that come with being partnered up during the holidays. There’s navigating multiple families’ expectations and plans. There’s the added expense of present-buying for more people. There’s the dreaded questions about your relationship plans, like the insufferable “when are you planning on having children?”

No partner? No in-laws to buy gifts for!

Gift buying in the run up to Christmas isn’t a walk in the park at the best of times. There’s joy in giving gifts to the people we love, but we’d be lying if we said it didn’t have its moments of high stress. Couple that with a whole extra family to buy for: you’ve got yourself a headache and a very depleted bank balance.

Speaking as someone whose (now ex) boyfriend neglected to buy a gift on my 21st birthday, I have no qualms about being freed from the expectations, disappointments, and awkwardness that can come hand in hand with buying gifts for a partner. Plus there’s the added complexity and pressure of what to get for your partner’s family. Will their mother like this perfume? Does their father have this book already? Have you spent too much on the in-laws? Not enough? Let’s not even talk about the mountain of wrapping to contend with.

No stress about visiting a partner’s family

Then there’s the tug of war over whose family you will spend Christmas with. I have to admit that I feel a tremendous feeling of relief that my Christmas will be entirely devoid of expectations and pressures — other than perhaps my yearly obligation to glaze the Christmas ham. A small price to pay for deliciousness.

My biggest concern this yuletide season is which party dress I should wear to the gatherings I attend? Or, which New Year’s party I should go to? Small in the grand scheme of things, I know.

I’m a complete person

I have the utmost respect for people who are in relationships, people who’ve found someone who loves them, and wants to spend the holidays with them. As a diehard romantic at heart (yes, really!), I love to see it.

Being single at any point during a calendar year isn’t anything out of the ordinary. In fact, a 2015 analysis by the UK’s Office for National Statistics found that 51 percent of people in England and Wales are single. Just because I don’t have a S.O. at a specific moment in time shouldn’t make me feel like I’m lacking in some way.

I’m a whole, complete person. And, though it may sound trite, I love my life just as it is.

Make the most of it

Christmas, for me, is — and always has been — all about spending time with my mum, dad, and brother. It’s about relishing those moments together, treating ourselves to whatever the hell we want. Having a partner is great, but not having one shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of.

It’s time that the words “single at Christmas” were met with excitement instead of pity. Because when I’m stepping out in my blue velvet party dress this Christmas, I’ll be feeling far from sorry for myself.

This December, wear your single status with pride. Relish the delights of being unfettered, free, and devoid of the pressures faced by people in relationships. Because, who knows, this could be your last Christmas as a singleton. Make the most of it.

This article was first published in 2016 and republished in 2023.





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