Rockin’ around the Christmas tree? Saw your mom kiss Santa Claus? Being good for goodness sake? This Christmas, as has been the case for many, many Christmases in the past, DJ’s are inundating our favorite stations with these same rotated lyrics for our wintery listening pleasures. But one specific song, here in Chicago, feels like it is being rotated into queues every hour on the hour, citywide. And one thing is for sure, after this December 25th I am almost certain I won’t want to touch this song, even with a 39-½ foot pole. What song is it that I speak of? "What Do the Lonely Do At Christmas?” by the Emotions. Ughhh! A song of this caliber makes you really feel sad for those “lonely” souls, leaving you to hope that they come out on top.
For years people have listened to depressing descriptions and thought that suicide rates hike up around the same time jolly ol’ Nick is making his rounds. But according to Dr. Neel Burton M.D., there is at least one thing the lonely are NOT doing “at Christmas” and that thing is, committing suicide. Not to say I assume that if people are not in a relationship during this holiday season then they are probably preparing to eighty-six themselves. But the title of the song had me thinking; what are singles doing at Christmas time? Crying? Lurking through pictures on their exes Facebook page?
So I reached out to a few of my good, single friends both female and male, and came up with two-fold; a slap in the face and good alternative actions to being alone at Christmas time. Here goes:
#1. Hooking Up
Sometimes the images of love, the incessant commercials of purchasing diamonds for your lady, and celebrating under the mistletoe can evoke a little envy. Some singles are able to power through these images without giving more than the occasional sigh of admiration (Awww!). But others, well, they go to their closets and pick out their best apparel to nab a fellow solo act for the night. By not being in a relationship, these singles are free to start, stop and stipulate the types of comforts they enjoy. In relationships there are going to be compromises. A lot of compromises. A few of them conciliations might even lend themselves to the simple planning of celebrating the holidays. But as a single man, or woman “hooking up” with another single person, there is only that moment. Only a sense of spontaneity to answer to.
#2. Family and Friends
This is the season to dwell in the presence of those family members (the ones you can stand) and friends that have those “loving” and “doting” families you see portrayed so much this time of year. Mostly because they will coo over you while keeping your cup and plate filled to capacity without you ever having to lift a preparatory finger, or suggest you meet every other single person within a twenty-mile radius of their home. But also, because this is the time you will be reminded by the image of what having a real family, or a real relationship looks like. When your favorite, meddling aunt suggests to call over the nice guy, Tom; who’s single and just moved in the neighborhood about six months ago, it will be your favorite uncle-in-law that tells her to hush, mind her business and that guy is not perfect for you because, after six months of living in a house, he has not a single chair. She will get upset, he will argue his case on psychopaths and then take his holiday meal to a separate room, leaving your aunt free to talk about how much she can’t stand him. It’s the perfect pick me up.
#3. Practice Economics
This one seemed to be the favorite amongst many of my male friends. Being without a mate during the holiday season can have its perks. It could mean that you are not obligated to rack your brains trying to pick the perfect gift for someone that burned the glazed ham on Christmas Eve the prior year, and refuses to buy a catered one this year, even though he/she knows that is your favorite part of Christmas dinner. The holidays have a tendency to send a lot of people into debt trying to please and live up to the expectations of their loved ones but single people can be more frugal. Family accepts the gifts you give, no hassle, especially if you have no children of your own and instead are purchasing for the little ones in your extended family. Many singles are able to cut their costs during this season because their obligations lie not in personal relationships but extended familial, or passing ones.
All crap aside, the holidays are what you make them out to be. This is just a few of the many alternatives singles are free to explore instead of lamenting and moping about lack. One point, the Emotions never get around to singing about in their 1979 hit, is that lonely people are not the same as people that are alone. Lonely is a state of mind. Alone is a state of being. Both are easily changed with either a better outlook, or relocation. And those are universal choices for those of us who are single, or in a relationship.