A complicated look at uncomplicated topics to ameliorate your day.
And so this is Christmas. And what have you done, another year over and still no special one…
It’s the Christmas Carol ringing out around Christmas parties, tables, family get-togethers and catch ups all over the world.
Regardless of if you have had three boyfriends, four marriage proposals and been abducted for two months by the Sheikh of Somewhere Exotic (and if you’ve managed to do all of those things – kudos and your name must be followed by – ‘Victoria’s Secret Angel’), if you do not have a loved one during the festive season, you are deemed to be a failure.
If this is your lot in life this Christmas, here are a few things to prepare you for what happens next…
The Chinese Whispers of Singledom Panic at the Family Function
And so this is Christmas, I hope you have fun, the near and the dear ones, wonder what you’ve done wrong…
There is nothing quite like walking into your family Christmas and having the regular interrogation from every aunt, uncle, cousin, parent and sibling about if there is ‘someone special eh?’*wink wink nudge nudge* and then having to roundly disappoint everyone by saying, ‘Actually there’s not, I’m really happy by myself’. This is naturally met with raised eyebrows, a sense of disbelief and the shaking of heads.
The rest of the function will then be spent walking through the Chinese Whispers of Singledom panic that ensues…
Standing around the cold meats table
Aunt Mary: ‘He’s still single…’
Uncle John: ‘Well, I think it’s time we faced facts, he is probably gay and in denial’
Walking through the Kitchen
Aunt Laurel: ‘So what are you going to do about her? I just asked her if she had a partner and she said she was single. Again. She hasn’t brought someone to Christmas for the last nine years!’
Mum: ‘Well it’s not like I’m not trying Laurel, but she seems happy being single so I didn’t want to force the issue’
Aunt Laurel: ‘Happy being single, Ha! That’s ridiculous’
Sitting behind the kids playing with their toys
Cousin Nina: ‘Why don’t they bring their boyfriends and girlfriends to Christmas’
Cousin Tabitha: ‘Mummy says they don’t have them’
Cousin Nina: ‘But why don’t they have them?’
Cousin Tabitha: ‘Mummy says she doesn’t understand but if they don’t go and get some soon, they will be stuck on the shelf forever’
Cousin Nina: ‘Stuck on the shelf?! Is that what happens when you get old and you are alone?! How terrible!’
The Bridget Jones Matchmaking Season for Mothers
And so this is Christmas, for weak and for strong, for Mum’s of the single, the road is so long…
For Mothers this is a particularly taxing time of year. Once children grow out of presents that can be left in a Christmas Stocking, their task turns to delivering a Christmas present in the form of ‘a partner, which will lead to grandchildren’. There is no finer example of the sheer desperation of this task than the attempt of Bridget Jones’ Mother to set her up with Mark Darcy…
Naturally Mothers bear the burden not only of fretting over if you will ever produce any grandchildren for them to adore and spoil, but also being the person to whom a vast deal of the Chinese Whispers of Singledom Panic is directed, so they can be forgiven for being slightly zealous in this task. Just be warned, that no matter what excuses you prepare for your singledom, no matter how many snappy comebacks you’ve practiced for the last three weeks about how happy you are or what clothes you’ve packed to dress yourself in, when it comes to Christmas, Mother knows best. Get under that mistletoe and start puckering up.
The Pop Culture Induced Belief that Love is All Around Us
And so Happy Christmas, for black and for white, it’s time to watch Love Actually, on Christmas Night…
Richard Curtis, as much as we love you for singlehandedly propping up the genre of romantic comedy for the last twenty years, you really have a lot to answer for with Love Actually.
This feel good movie, that explores the intertwining stories of the lives of sixteen or so Londoners in the five weeks leading up to Christmas, has done several things for society.
– Firstly, it’s convinced us that Hugh Grant learnt all of his dance moves in the 80s.
– Secondly, that Liam Neeson is quite possibly the coolest step dad on the planet.
– Thirdly, that no one on Earth besides Mariah Carey and that Joanna character should ever be allowed to sing ‘All I Want For Christmas’ for they will never ever be as extraordinary as them.
– Fourthly, that all girls in Milwaukee want is to have orgies with Englishmen.
And finally, that love is all around us, especially at Christmas.
Which leaves anyone who is not currently in the throes of a largely passionate love affair (yes, that is all of you single people) sitting there despairing over the state of their love life and their current singledom status. Seriously, even the dweeby kid with the red hair gets the girl that everyone loves in the end! And you can’t find someone to love you and you have 364 other days in a year to do it…
Well, it’s enough to drive a sensible person to drink. And listen to Christmas Carols full blast.
Which leads us to the fact that Christmas Carols are about one of three things.
Jesus (and any angels, sheep, shepherds, stars, wise men or Little Towns of Bethlehem pertaining to the Jesus narrative) – destined to make you feel Christmassy and also like you should probably go to Church, which would involve seeing your Mother and meeting that nice young man who just joined the Parish and well…
Santa Claus (and any reindeer, presents, snow, snowmen, Christmas trees or jingling bells pertaining to the fat man) – which will make you smile until you realise that you don’t have anyone who will pretend to be Santa for you this year and you will wake up in an empty bed with no presents outside either…
Or being in love at Christmas. Which doesn’t help at all, because you’re happily single.
(Mariah Carey, you deserve an honourable mention with Mr Curtis… All I Want for Christmas is amazing. And played constantly. Could you sing one about how all I want for Christmas is to be single as well?)
You see, they haven’t made any really fabulous Christmas movies lately about fabulous single people being, well fabulously single. And there are just no Christmas carols about most excellent single people, enjoying their excellent singledom at Christmas time. Oh no, it’s all Baby Please Come Home for Christmas and Kissing Under the Mistletoe.
So it’s just wisest to buy ear plugs and avoid all retail centres, shopping malls, radio stations and movies where Christmas is the theme until the 26th December. Either that or watch the Sound of Music… amusingly not a Christmas movie, but played every Christmas and let’s be honest, who didn’t secretly want to be a Von Trapp child and run around in clothes made from curtains at one time in their life?
A very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year, and here’s some advice, on what we’d like to hear…
To anyone who is single…
Congratulations on being healthy, happy, living in relative comfort and financial ease (safely assumed if you are reading this on any sort of electronic device) and with loved ones to spend the festive season with. You are incredibly lucky to be getting out of bed in the morning with a smile on your face, love in your heart and the full knowledge that some of the best days of your life haven’t even happened yet!
To anyone who is happily loved up and about to embark on a festive season of ‘feeling sorry for/pitying their single friends and relatives’, perhaps before you do consider this…
You are interested in them having a significant other because deep down you believe they deserve to be loved and to be happy. There is nothing stopping you from zipping your lip about the lack of a boyfriend/girlfriend, asking them what they’ve done this year that makes them truly happy and loving them, just as they are. That, is a Christmas gift worth giving.