How Single People REALLY Spend The Holidays: “All I Want For Christmas Is…Solitude.”

Cathy Goodwin
3 min readOct 26, 2020

Single people, especially those new to a community, experience a unique social challenge as the holidays approach. Holiday conversations die when we enter the room. Hovering in the air is not only mistletoe but also the unspoken question, “Must I invite this person over for holiday dinner?”

When I literally wrote the book on moving (Making the Big Move: How to Transform Relocation Into A Creative Life Transition), I included a chapter on the special needs of the newly-moved single person.

Everyone I interviewed agreed: Skip the invitations. We’ll get our own life.

Most adults, even if they’re single, have calendars.

They know a holiday is coming. Their major issue is not, “How will I get through a holiday alone?” It’s, “What do I tell the friends and relatives who call to see if I’m okay?”

Not everybody enjoys holidays with family –­ their own or anybody else’s.

Some have memories of a mom who refereed the family fights, a cousin who had to sleep it off on the sofa, and a black sheep uncle who timed his phone calls for middle-of-dinner so he wouldn’t have a lot of explaining to do.

When assured of anonymity, people told me how they really spend a solitary holiday:

“Put on an old pair of sweats and get some writing done.”
“Order Thai food and watch a video.”
“Take the dog and head for the woods.”

Visiting strangers can be exhausting.

Men get off easier. They watch football in the living room, drinking beer, with conversation limited to cheers and cuss words.

For single women, holidays mean always having to say, “Do you need help in the kitchen?”

It’s considered bad form to reply, “Sure, I’ve got the delivery service on my speed dial.”

Female guests are expected to join kitchen conversations about childbirth, menopause and/or the latest deep-rooted medical exam.



Cathy Goodwin

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