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If you haven’t heard, I was Freshly Pressed last week! WordPress chose my last post, “Dating in the Dark,” as one of the top ten blog posts of the day (out of hundreds of thousands!). So exciting! And get this: It’s my second time receiving this honor (see this April 2012 post)! THANK YOU ALL for your support! I am one happy writer right now. And with Thanksgiving just a few days away, I’m so, so grateful.

Now, back to blogging…

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This week it all starts, friends. You know what I’m talking about. The turkey, the shopping, the gift lists, the family gatherings, the mistletoe, the Christmas trees, the New Year’s Eve celebrations. It seems like we just finished vacuuming up every last spec of blue and silver confetti from last year’s festivities. Yet, here we are again.

And for singles, this time of year can be, well… how do I put this…

{Sigh.}

Yep, a deep, long sigh is really the only way to describe it. Because it’s a combination of so many things — the good and the bad — and the juxtaposition between them can exhaust even the most resolute of hearts.

On the one hand, this time of year is heavenly!

    • Traveling by car, train or plane to reach the ones you love
    • Catching up, laughing and reminiscing with family and friends
    • Cooking delicious family recipes and smiling as the sweet aromas fill the kitchen
    • Eating way too much, unbuttoning your jeans, and then eating some more
    • Scouring the world for the perfect gifts to bless the people in your life
    • Snuggling with nieces and nephews over games of Uno and Connect Four
    • Running down the stairs in excitement on Christmas morning, no matter how old you are
    • Dancing the night away with reckless abandon on the last day of the year

On the other hand, this time of year is dreadful.

    • Facing family and friends — yet again, dateless
    • Succumbing to the inevitable question: Are you dating anyone?
    • Having to deal with that one brother, that one parent, that one aunt who just won’t shut up about the many reasons why you’re still single
    • Attending another couple-ridden Christmas party with no one by your side
    • Avoiding at all costs that one crazy stalker at the Christmas party who keeps luring you over toward the mistletoe
    • Smiling as yet another person tries to set you up with his uncle’s friend’s kid who is unemployed and living in his parents’ basement but is really nice and has a way with fixing computers
    • Doing whatever it takes to avoid being anywhere near another human being when the New Year’s Eve countdown begins, for fear of being the only loner in a sea of lovebirds

There’s no denying it: The Holidays are a tough time of the year for singles — including me. It’s easy to get depressed and lonely. It’s easy to indulge in the endless workplace gift baskets and those gigantic tins of flavored popcorn that seem to miraculously refill themselves like the widow’s jars of olive oil (2 Kings 4). It’s easy to wallow.

Why me?

What’s wrong with me?

Why am I all by myself?

When is it my turn?

My words of advice: Don’t do it. Don’t take the easy way out. Don’t fall into that pit of self-imposed despair. It usually starts with a Lifetime movie marathon and ends at the bottom of a gallon of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

Join me in taking this holiday season by the horns and carpe-dieming the heck out of it — one gingerbread latte at a time. Enjoy the good moments (read and re-read first list above). Don’t dwell on the tougher moments (quickly glance at second list above, then read the first list again). I’m not one to believe that all the Oprah-esque positive thinking mantras will turn your life into a pile of rose petals and cotton candy. But I do think we’ve got to focus on the good.

Whatever is true,
whatever is noble,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things.
Philippians 4:8

May the force of pumpkin pie and rainbow-colored tinsel be with you. And if, by some string of romantic luck, you find yourself on the receiving end of the best New Year’s Eve kiss you’ve ever experienced in your life — write me and tell me about it.

~Ruth