When your heart needs a holiday from the holidays

The holiday season is filled with plenty of busyness, gifting, joyful music, and emotions.

And those emotions can often feel like more than our hearts can handle.

When you’re single and ask strangers at a park to take a picture of you for your Christmas card

I’ve been single for exactly every holiday that has ever existed, so I know a thing or two about getting through the month of December without a Clark to my Ellen. There’s just something about the Christmas season that helps to remind a single gal that she’s single—maybe it’s the endless songs mentioning mistletoe or the carriage rides with couples and families cuddled up under blankets together or the matching family pajamas on GIANT display at Target or the endless commercials with people in love giving each other Lexuses with big bows on them or the Hallmark movies with perfect endings or the chill in the air that feels colder when you’re alone or the—I could keep going, but I don’t want to.

I know that I’m not the only person who breathes who is single right now, so this isn’t a pity party, but I’ve come up with a short list of ways to get past the holiday blues that might creep up on you when you’re trying to be all holly and jolly and whatnot.

Take that carriage ride on your own, and enjoy every second of it — I actually had full intentions of doing this one year, but when I found out the price of how much it costs, that plan was shot. So, if you’re a cheapo like I am, you can do what I did and, instead, just drive super slowly in your own car with the windows down so that you can get a similar feel. Plus, you can blast your heat at the same time so that you’re really not that cold. And cruising in your car by yourself is super unromantic, so you won’t feel like you’re missing out like you would if you were in a carriage ride alone. (But the solo carriage ride thing is still cool, too.)

Watch Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York Unlike the Hallmark movies, there’s exactly zero romance involved in these classics. Plus, not only are they hilarious, but they are also about a young boy who kicks a$* on his own, so maybe they’ll provide you a little inspiration and encouragement at the same time.

Buy a Bath & Body Works Wallflower to make your home smell like Christmas cookies You can also buy a candle, but I find that the Wallflowers are easier and last longer. Plus, they’re cheaper. Either way, the intoxicating scent is pretty much guaranteed to bring you a little extra peace.

Watch a Dallas Cowboys game — You’ll be so upset with how they play that you’ll forget all about being single during the holidays.

Remind yourself that being single means that you have one less gift to purchase — Hey, you might as well focus on a financial advantage of this situation.

Take a few minutes to watch this video in its entirety — You’re welcome.

Do all of the things you love to do, and spend time with your people — This is the most important one. You don’t have to be part of a pair to be part of a family. It might be tougher than you prefer, but you don’t have to let your lack of something take away from your joy of what you already have.

My sister always reminds me that I’m welcome. Always and forever. Forever and always.

The holiday season can be a heart-wrenching time for some people for a variety of reasons, regardless of their relationship statuses. Hug your people a little extra—you don’t always know what’s going on in their hearts, and they may need those hugs more than you’ll ever know.

If you’re feeling more single than ever this year, know that YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS. You may not feel loved and adored by anyone trying to meet you under the mistletoe, but you are loved and adored by the One who is the reason we celebrate the Christmas holiday in the first place.

And that’s sure as heck a reason to be joyous in a potentially tough time of the year.

When people live for the love

Some Disney movies are more real than we might think.

Even when they involve hair that becomes magical when a girl sings.

Tangled is one of my favorite Disney movies for so many reasons, but I think one of the things that is most appealing to me is the way Eugene falls in love with Rapunzel and finally cares about someone more than he cares about himself. At the end of the movie (if you haven’t seen it, 1. WHY? and 2. spoiler alert), Eugene is stabbed and about to die, and Rapunzel is going to save him with her hair but must never leave her pretend mother/wicked old lady if she does so. Eugene chops off her hair—knowing what his fate will be—so that Rapunzel can have her freedom, instead. (Thankfully, homeboy ends up living because her tear somehow saved him after that act of true love.)

And this reminds me a lot of real life.

I’ve seen a lot of examples of those “for the love” actions lately, though they didn’t involve magical healing powers and life-or-death situations. But I’m pretty sure they’re just as important.

I was at the pool over the weekend, and there was a man there with his two little daughters. Over the years, I’ve seen quite a few dads do goofy things for their kids (especially their daughters), and this guy was no exception. When he entered the water, he was informed that he was now a mermaid, and he didn’t take one second to question it. He instantly became a mermaid and was part of some alternative world that only those three knew about. It was adorable. That dad didn’t care what anyone else around him thought—he simply wanted his little girls to be happy, and the joy on their faces showed he had accomplished that for sure. He put aside his pride for the love, and it was beautiful.

I was at a bar with some friends not too long ago, and I overheard a conversation when I was walking past a group of guys. A few of them were making fun of their buddy for getting schooled in some arcade game by the gal I assumed is his girlfriend. He said something about it being embarrassing and then said, “But look how happy she is.” Based on the way he was looking at her, I’m going to say that fella is in love. And he couldn’t have cared less whether or not he won that silly game. He put aside his pride for the love, and it was precious.

for the love
This gal knows what it means to do things for the love.

My dad was out of town hunting with my uncle over the weekend, and my sister and my mom were planning to hang out on Saturday night. My sister asked me if I wanted to come, and I asked if they would have the USC-Alabama game on. She said they definitely would not (my sister doesn’t like watching football much). I tried to stress the importance of the game to her, but she wasn’t having it. A little bit later, she texted me to say they would have the game on and that I should come over when they got home from dinner. She didn’t even complain once the entire night about having to watch the game. It’s even the small things that matter. She put aside her wants for the love, and it was heartwarming.

There are a lot of times when it would be easier to be selfish and do the things we want to do, but it’s often in those moments that people need us to be there for them and put aside our original plans and do what they need us to do, instead—for the love. It can be humbling, and it can certainly be challenging, but it can also be absolutely worth it.

You make your daughters’ day. You see the person you love happy. You show your sister you care.

And those are moments that truly matter—because they’re genuinely done for the love.