When You’re Feeling Lonely During the Holidays

The holidays are an enchanting time. The smell of pine trees in the air, the sound of Wham’s “Last Christmas” blasting through the speakers, and Christmas cookies are constantly being offered to those who are struggling to keep off the holiday weight gain, but failing. These are just a few reasons that it’s my favorite time of year. And then there are a few reasons it isn’t.

Because of the joy of Christmas treats, it feels nearly impossible to say no. And after you’ve eaten your fifteenth sugary treat of the day, you feel sluggish and almost always find a pimple. We all start to get fed up with hearing “Feliz Navidad” on repeat … and finally, it’s the beginning of cuffing season.

You know what I’m talking about. Mariah Carey’s Christmas songs are making everyone feel quite sappy, and suddenly, before you know it, everyone around you is falling in love and snuggling up by a fire. But what if you’re not in a relationship? Or have just fallen out of one? Or in my case, what if you’re not even in a place where you feel ready for a relationship?

I get really sentimental over the holiday season, just like everyone else. On outings with my friends or even mere trips to Starbucks, I’ll gaze off and wonder if the barista taking my order will be my future husband. Then reality hits me, and I see the ridiculousness in my thoughts and I move on.

But there really is something about the colder weather and time spent with family that stirs up a desire to share it with someone else. I have spent almost every year complaining about this loneliness, especially when family members and more distant friends ask, “Is there anyone special in your life?”

For a long time, I wondered if there was something wrong with me, that I couldn’t manage to find someone to “cuff,” someone to pair off with.  Surrounded by family and friends, I’ll find myself cutting myself off from them and withdrawing into myself,  in search of someone I don’t quite know yet, or worse, yearning for someone I know I don’t belong with.

But this past year helped me realize something. My dad lost three family members, my mom made several trips to the hospital for her serious struggle with cancer, and during Thanksgiving, she happened to break her hip. This sent my family into a mad panic. We didn’t have much of a Thanksgiving feast, but my sisters and I had a movie marathon at my parents’ home, and made the more carb-loaded Thanksgiving dishes. My family came together to support each other through these struggles. And as my mom continues to recover, I somehow broke out of my head.

In the past, I simply was unwilling to break through my loneliness. Spending time with family during this tough time has helped me realize that I am not, in fact, alone at all. And while I still want a special someone to stand by me in the midst of that chaos, I realize that I am surrounded by many others who love and care for me.

This season, I’ve decided to take comfort in the fact that this point in my life, single or not, will be unlike any other. I am surrounded by friends and family who really care about me, which is, perhaps, the best and most fulfilling gift any of us can ask for. 

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