A Holiday Romance – for one.

I love Christmas. There’s something about pine trees, snow flurries, and seeing the whole city lit up in festive lights that makes my heart smile. It’s a time of love and romance. The chilly weather makes you want to cuddle up on the couch and watch a movie, or curl up with a good book. But for some of us, who don’t have someone to share it with, the holiday’s can be lonely. 

It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for a good Hallmark movie. Yes, they are objectively terrible and overly predictably, but I think the bad acting and simple plot line is all part of the draw. I know what I’m getting into when I watch a Hallmark movie, and I know there’s going to be a happy ending.

I love the idea of a holiday romance. I think that’s the reason I enjoy the movies so much. I really find the holiday’s objectively romantic. Maybe it’s the twinkle lights that cover the city with a romantic glow, or the horse-drawn carriages that popped up at the park across the street. Or maybe it’s that I want someone to wander the holiday shops with, or to share a hot chocolate with. Or maybe it’s that nearly every Christmas song is about falling in love, finding someone to love, or spending time with the one you love. At this point, love and romance are synonymous with the holiday season. 

This will be my third consecutive year spending the holiday’s unattached. In the past, I fantasized that I was the main character in a hallmark movies. I think I used to develop a crush on nearly anyone who talked to me during the entire month of December. I let myself get pulled into the belief system that you need a partner in order to have romance at Christmas. But this December, that’s not going to be the case. I’m determined to have a holiday romance…with myself. 

I find that too often we believe that the only way to have romance in our lives is to be involved in some sort of love affair. But I don’t think that’s true. I think that we can find romance in many aspects of life. So this holiday season, I’ll be romancing myself. Here are a few ideas for how you can do the same: 

Buy yourself flowers. There’s nothing more romantic that receiving a fresh flower arrangement. Why do we have to wait for one to arrive on our doorstep from some mysterious admirer when we can go out and buy the flowers ourselves. I’m sucker for a nice holiday poinsettia, but roses are also festive and classic.

Go ice skating…or maybe just watch. Where I live, in Center City Philadelphia, an ice rink just opened at City Hall. I’ll often walk by to watch the skaters and get caught up in the holiday magic. I’m a little wary to get on the ice myself as I wiped out pretty badly the last time I went skating, but maybe I’ll talk some friends into joining me for an evening skate one night this month.

Wander a Christmas Tree Farm. Where I grew up there are many beautiful tree farms, and I love going and shopping for the perfect tree. I think there’s something so warm and romantic about wandering a tree-farm, the scent of pine filling your heart with holiday romance. 

Romanticize your holiday shopping.  It’s no secret that shopping is one of my favorite things to do, and I love it all the more around the holiday’s. To romanticize my shopping trip I’ll put on a cute and festive outfit and wander around the city shops. If you’re lucky enough to live in or near a big city with a Christmas market, that’s the perfect place to wander and shop. Or, if you live in a small town, try the local shops there. My hometown has a beautiful Christmas gift shop that I love browse this time of year. My goal this holiday season is to buy all, or nearly all, of my holiday gifts from local places around where I live in Philadelphia, and just enjoy the process. 

Wrap the gifts. I absolutely love wrapping presents. Part of my Christmas shopping routine is find the perfect wrapping paper, ribbons, and other accessories. Once my shopping is done, I’ll pick a night to put on a favorite Christmas movie, light festive candles, and wrap all of my gifts. Then I’ll fill in the base of my tree with the wrapped gifts. It’s an art, really. 

Spend time with the people you love. Just because you’re not in love doesn’t mean there aren’t people you love and enjoy spending time with. I feel very lucky to have a wonderful group of friends where I live now and I’m looking forward to spending time with them this holiday season. I’m also lucky enough to live close to my sister. It’s simple, but the two of us are going to get festive manicures together this weekend – I’m really looking forward to it. 

Take yourself out on a date. Eating alone can be incredibly scary and intimidating if you’ve never done it before. I like to bring a book to read, or my notebook to journal. Sometimes I’ll just sit and enjoy my own thoughts and company. Taking myself out on a romantic date for one is one of my goals this holiday season. I think it’s even more romantic to sit and enjoy your own company than trying to make conversation on an awkward first date. 

Be a tourist. I love spending a free weekend being a tourist in my own city. For the holiday’s I enjoy getting a festive drink from Starbucks and exploring a new neighborhood, or wandering the same ones I typically frequent. I adore walking Walnut street in Philly, and sitting in Rittenhouse Square with a warm drink. There’s something so incredibly romantic about a warm drink and sitting in a city park. If you don’t live in city, driving around to see the neighborhood lights and decorations can be just as magical. When I’m home my sisters and I like to put on our favorite holiday music, get lattes or hot chocolate, and drive the scenic roads around where we grew up. It’s simple, but it makes my heart happy. 

Take a day-trip. Where I grew up in Connecticut was just two hours from New York City, so my favorite thing to do around the holiday’s was to take a day trip into the city. Whether we saw a show, or went shopping, or just wandered by the tree at Rockefeller Center, I loved spending time in NYC at Christmas. I truly don’t think there’s anyplace more romantic than NYC at Christmas. Even if you don’t live close to NYC, there are so many magical places around the holiday season.

Treat yourself to a holiday brunch. I used to think I needed an excuse to indulge, but there’s absolutely no reason you can’t make yourself some cinnamon rolls and scrambled eggs and spend a morning watching your favorite Christmas movie. It’s easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of the holiday season so I think we could all use a slow morning to rest and re-fuel. 

No matter where you are, who you’re with, or what you do, there are endless possibilities for having a romantic holiday season. And learning to find romance in being alone takes a lot of the pressure off finding someone around the holiday season.