In this ongoing series, we will look at five different strategies for being single throughout the holidays. The holidays are a time of reflection, gratitude, and worship, but we don’t always experience them that way. Sometimes, when we are single, the sting of wanting a life partner can become more pronounced. There are strategies that can help us stay in the true spirit of the season, one of remembrance of our role and connection to the Body of Christ.
This week’s strategy: Connect with your Tribe
Your tribes are those people closest to our heart. Sometimes our tribe includes family members, but many times it is our friends. Make special plans to spend time with those people who are in your tribe. But rather than the “normal” plans of going out, or simply hanging out, now is the time to plan special dinners (where everyone brings a dish), or a tree-lighting celebration, white elephant gift parties, whatever you would normally do with family at the holidays. By spending time with those that are closest to your heart, you are fostering connection rather than dwelling on the potential experience of feeling lonely. Spending time listening to each other’s stories helps to put our own into perspective. I actually did this every year, having a “Michele’s Annual Christmas Dinner Party” at my place. I looked forward to it every year, and it became part of my experience of the holidays. One year we brought dates, one year we didn’t, one year we even included pets!
Another great way to connect with community is to be intentional about getting involved in ministry. Yes, this means buying a gift for the gifting tree at your parish, but it means more than that: try to find opportunities that involve direct service. You not only get to minister to those that need your help, you also get to connect with other parishioners in the process. There is no shortage of ministry events at this time of year, so if your parish doesn’t have something, check out surrounding parishes or connect the diocese. Or, you can always organize something on your own. One year I got together with two other friends and put together “goodie bags” for the homeless. We bought soap, socks, scarfs, etc. along with sandwiches, and then drove out into the city to (safe) areas where we knew we would find the homeless. We simply asked if they would like a holiday gift of items and food, and we were never turned down. It was one of the best Thanksgiving Eves I can remember.
Many times our tribe includes married friends and families with children. Be sure to spend time with couples and families that you admire. Embrace the rituals of including children, or the elderly, as a way to help us gain perspective and pull us into connection with others. You can also especially try to reach other to others that may be alone, to ensure you are sharing your spirit of connection with others that may need to feel included.
Next Week’s Strategy: Dealing with Family Dynamics
Have one that’s really worked for you? I’d love to hear about it! Email me!