Single Women Holiday Survival Guide  


Normal Rockwell’s famous picture of a family gathered around a table laden with Holiday food is outdated.  That traditional nuclear family does still exist, but it’s in the minority today – a big minority. 


The image, though, is so appealing: people who like each other sitting together around food and having a good time.  


If that happens not to be your family, is there any way to get closer to that feel-good message of Rockwell’s picture?


Yes, but first you need to know what makes holidays so tough for you.  For instance,


  • You feel left out, as the only unpartnered person over 25
  • You feel treated like one of the children
  • People tell you what you should do to get a man or what’s wrong with you that you don’t have one
  • You endure the same conversations each year without your children to act as a distraction
  • You may not want to be with your family, but you have no where else to go


There actually are things you can do to better enjoy the holiday with your family.  Let’s start with your making a turkey!


1) Have you ever cooked a whole turkey?  Turkeys are usually holiday meals which are usually hosted by parents or married siblings with children.  But, there’s no reason you can’t offer to host it, to suggest you rotate the holiday meals.  Your siblings may complain about trekking with the kids, but they do manage it sometimes.


2)  Do you still feel like a child when with the family?  Does it feel like they are the adults, they make the decisions; you are the child and do what you are assigned? 


You don’t have to passively fall into that role.  Take the initiative, politely, of course.  Decide what you want, then state it up-front.  For instance,   “Let’s figure out who’ll take care of Grandma and look out for Uncle Joe.”  Or, “I’m bringing my rubber gloves, so I’ll do clean-up after dinner.  I want to spend time before dinner with the kids.”  Or, “This year I’ll watch out for the kids so you can help Mom in the kitchen.”


3) Are your family conversations predictable?  Like, comments about your being single or work.  Relatives often do not know what to say if they can’t ask about your children and husband.  So, the conversation gets awkward.


Therefore, do your homework and come prepared with new topics.  Cull the newspapers and internet for unusual stories to discuss, ask the older generation about the funniest thing they did as a young person.  Ask for their opinion about movies. Plan a (brief) word game that can be played by all ages.  Be creative.  If still stuck, ask friends what their family talks about.   Then, when the inflammatory or boring subjects appear shift to one you have already prepared. 


4)  If don’t like being with your family, create your own holiday friendship family.  There are always others who can’t or don’t want to spend the holiday with their family.  Create your own holiday tradition.  


If you don’t see yourself as “less than” or “child” because you aren’t married or a parent, then you can make sure no one else sees you that way either.  So, fix your own image: start cooking a turkey.

If you have questions or comments or want more information, contact me at:

Dr. Karen Gail Lewis

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