Forget the Bridget Jones cliché; Stylist writer Laura Tait, 33, explains why being single at Christmas is a great excuse to party whenever you want - without having to answer to anyone...
"I remember Christmases as a child, with all the family traditions I knew I'd carry into adulthood.
Dad making my brother, sister and me wait while he knocks on the living room door to check Santa has finished. Taking turns to name the turkey. The one present saved for each of us until after dinner, when Mum appears with the words, "ooh, look what Santa must have dropped".
And I did carry them into adulthood, though back then I kind of thought that by the time I was in my thirties, I would have my own kids hovering impatiently at the threshold while the man in my life knocks on the door, rather than me waking up at my parent's house Christmas morning and naming the turkey after an ex-boyfriend.
Yep, there’s nothing like the holiday season to remind you how much you haven’t grown up.
No one wants to feel like a Bridget Jones-sized cliché – the pity character having to explain why they haven’t got a man in tow, and thankfully I haven’t got a mum like Bridget’s reminding me at every turn that I’m not getting any younger. (Though on the flip side, my mum hasn’t got a Mark Darcy-sized family friend to try set me up with, whose reindeer knitwear might have been a turn-off to Bridget, but it turns out he was just ahead of his time on the Christmas jumper trend).
But it’s hard not to feel like this time of year is a landmark for those making progress with their life. It’s a prime time for engagements and pregnancy announcements. Then there’s babies' first Christmases or a friend's first Christmas in their new house (because now they have a significant other, they can finally afford a mortgage).
It’s much easier to talk about your plans for Christmas when you’re in a couple – people know what to say.
And I don’t know what’s worse; people assuming you need comforting about your single status at this time of year or the lines they come up with to do it.
On Saturday, my (also single) housemate and I compared favourites over brunch. A popular one, we noted, between tucking into our Eggs Benedict and flirting outrageously with the hot waiter bringing us our third Bellini, is: "at least you have one less person to buy for". Like that’s a priority. I’m close to selling a kidney to make up for how much I’ve spent getting drunk in December. It’s not the worst line though.
That honour goes to, "aw, well maybe next year will be your year". I’m single. I have been all year. If nothing else, it has been my year.
Much of my Christmas will be spent surrounded by couples. Does that make me feel lonely? Not really. Does it make me slightly envious that others have everything figured out already while I’m no clearer than I was this time last year? Sometimes.
But there’s a bigger picture. The best thing about being single is you’re allowed to be selfish – you’re accountable to less people.
You might not have a loved one to snuggle on the sofa and watch It’s A Wonderful Life with, or pictures of your cute toddler meeting Santa to post on Facebook, or a guaranteed snog when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve.
But you can party hard and stay out all night without having to check in with anyone, and you can spend all your time doing things you enjoy and seeing people you love without having to make time for someone else’s people.
And you can go for brunch and drink three Champagne cocktails the wrong side of midday just for the hell of it.
And you’ll miss it when you can’t."
Laura Tait is the author of The Best Thing That Never Happened to Me available now on Amazon