Should you bother to decorate for just yourself?
It may seem like a no-brainer. Why is decorating for yourself at Christmas any different from decorating for you and someone else, or for your family? The technical portion of the decorating actually isn’t any different. You pull an ornament from the box, put a hook on it, and attach it to a branch, just like everyone else. It’s not the technical part I’m talking about, though, it’s the emotional part that’s different. I’ve been decorating for myself for Christmas for a long time now and I want to share with you my tips for living alone at Christmas and decorating for yourself.
Decorating for one
Does decorating for Christmas by yourself make you sad? I get asked all the time if I bother to decorate for Christmas. You’re kidding, right? First, I’m a trained interior designer, so decorating comes naturally to me. Second, Christmas is my favorite holiday and I love it, so of course I’m going to decorate! People assume that because you’re single and you’ll likely be spending the holidays elsewhere, you don’t want to bother with all the decorating hassle. If Christmas is not your thing, then maybe you don’t actually want to bother, but most people I know enjoy their Christmas decorations, including the single people. Decorating by yourself can seem sad at times, though, especially if the relationship you’ve been in has just ended.
Christmas can be depressing when you’re single
I was messing around on Instagram, searching a hashtag when one came up called #singlechristmassucks. Wow, there’s a whole hashtag for people who aren’t happy being single, at Christmas in particular. I dove into it further and found a whole bunch of hashtags for people who hate being single at all different times of the year and for all sorts of particular occasions. But why is it especially bad at Christmas? Again, if Christmas doesn’t really mean anything to you then it’s probably no worse than it is any other time of the year, except for the fact that you get bombarded from all sides by images and ads and messages that point to happy couples in love at Christmastime.
There’s a car ad on TV that’s been around for a year or two. It goes something like this:
It’s Christmastime and the wife has purchased matching watches for herself and her husband. She’s surprising him with them in their large, fashionable home. The husband then brings her outside to show her the surprise that he’s gotten them – matching brand new cars (of course!). They’re standing in their huge, professionally landscaped driveway in front of their multi-million dollar home. And they’re all of thirty years old. Pu-lease!
I texted a friend of mine to see if he’d seen it, hoping for a bash fest. My friend agreed that it was total fantasyland and I felt vindicated. A few days later I was at a married friend’s house. She and her husband had asked me to help them pick out the finishes for their new bathroom and the contractor was there, as well. The TV was on and up popped that very same commercial. The contractor (married) started laying into the commercial, as well. “What husband can afford to do that for his wife? And these people are younger than me!” A few more comments were made and everyone laughed at the ludicrousness of the commercial. So, you see, we single people think that everything is out to get us, to prove how great married life is and how pathetic our own lives are (especially at Christmas), but all of those idealized images make married people feel just as bad as they do us. Cuz they ain’t real!
Christmas IS about love
Yes, Christmas is about love, but there are all kinds of love in the world. Family love, friendship love, pet love, self-love, charitable love, the love we have for other human beings just because they’re other human beings. I’m reminded of the movie, “Love Actually,” which is a must-watch for me every Christmas. Sure, it’s loaded with romantic love, but it also portrays love of different kinds, like the rock star who realizes that the “love of his life” is actually his manager/friend. Oops, I hope I didn’t ruin it for anyone. The point is that there’s love everywhere just waiting for us to recognize it and take part in it. If we remember that at Christmas, then we can’t truly feel alone, and we CAN get excited about decorating for ourselves!
Tips for decorating while living alone at Christmas
Okay, I actually promised you some tips to make living (and decorating) alone at Christmas better, so here you go:
- Put up a Christmas tree.
And hang your stocking. And put out the hand towels Grandma lovingly embroidered with Christmas geese just for you. How can decorating for Christmas not make you feel good? The warm glow of lights in the dark of night, the sparkle of a beloved ornament, the spicy aroma of that pine-scented candle. You’ll be bursting into a rousing round of “Jingle Bells” before you know it!
- Get rid of anything that reminds you of a past relationship.
Now is your chance to weed out your Christmas décor, donate some things to charity, and make someone else’s day. If everything you have reminds you of a past relationship, it may be time to scrap it all and start over, but I’ll bet you can find things that have special meaning just for you.
- Make it personal.
If you love the beach, hang starfish and seashells on your tree. If you’re more of mountain girl, go with pinecones and wood ornaments. Find joy in decorations that reflect exactly who you are. No plastic Santa riding a Harley will grace the center of your dining table unless that’s what you’re into. You get it your way all the way!
- Go all out.
Don’t think that just because you’re single and may not be spending the holidays at home that you should just put up a small tree and forget about the rest of it. I’ve lived alone for a long time and my house is decked out completely every year. Did I mention that I love Christmas?
- Invite a friend over to help, and return the favor.
If the thought of decorating by yourself is just too much to bear, invite a close friend or family member over. Make some snacks, crack open a bottle of wine, and decorate away! You’ll have a great time together and will look forward to doing the same at her house. This could actually become a new tradition for the two of you!
Now pull out those funky ornaments you made as a kid – you know the ones, made out of popsicle sticks and plastic milk jug caps, loaded with dried glue and glitter and craft paint – and get to brightening your holiday season!
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