• Cover: November 21, 2014
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How to Spend the Holidays Alone

Learn how to love being single as the year comes to a close

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    It's not easy being single during the holiday season. With couples canoodling at cocktail parties, intrusive questions about your love life (or lack thereof), and midnight kisses on New Year's Eve, the romantically unattached may feel like hibernating until January 2nd. It can be even more difficult if you're newly single. But experts say there are plenty of ways to boost your solo spirit. “Don't think about the holidays as something painful you have to ‘get through,'” says Elaine Rodino, PhD, a psychologist in State College, PA. “Know how to have fun regardless of whether you're part of a couple.” Here's how to manage your expectations, handle the holiday hype and emerge unscathed.

    1. Create new traditions.

    If you've recently gone through a breakup, separation or divorce, you probably associate certain memories with your ex. Don't recreate them. “Experiencing holidays the old way can be painful,” says Jennifer J. Harman, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. “Instead, look for new ways to celebrate that won't remind you of the relationship.” If you've always cooked a ham, for example, try a turkey. Bake a different dessert this year. Find a new neighborhood to visit for holiday lights on Christmas Eve—or scratch that tradition entirely and go to the movies.

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How to Spend the Holidays Alone
Learn how to love being single as the year comes to a close
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