When most people think of the holidays, visions of sugarplums, bright lights, big gifts and long lists (checked twice) come to mind, all of which run together seamlessly like clockwork in the merriest way possible. The single guy, perhaps more of a realist and unencumbered soul, is not distracted by the car seats full of soiled Santa’s helpers and endless self-doubt that his wife will secretly hate what he buys her for Christmas. So when it comes to holiday shopping, the single guy swerves left and takes the road less traveled.
As the caroling grows nearer, he must ask himself how to Christmas shop unlike everyone else, avoid the standstill lines, shop proudly as a lone ranger and make it through the holidays without decking too many halls or jingling the wrong bells. And thus, the single guy Christmas shopping season begins now, on December 21st. Here are some tips to knock it out of the park.
Blend In, Just Not During Peak Hours
Any guy, single or not, is likely to wait until the last minute for Christmas shopping, a tradition that will never waver. As wives and mothers sweat their yoga pants into tepid elastic pools, notice the abundance of men casually strolling aimlessly through shops, completely unaware of where they are or where they’re going. It doesn’t matter their level of commitment, they’re just happy to have a good excuse to be free.
The trick to any quasi-successful shopping experience is to show up at the darkest of hours, whether it means before the sun comes up or well past the usual bedtime. There’s no use in spending half the day looking for a parking spot that may not exist, standing in lines with foul-mouthed teenagers and gradually resenting the holiday. It’s better to have had a couple winter beers first and then gone shopping than to have never had any winter beers at all. Be smart and avoid the danger zones, and you’ll be glad you did.
To Hell With Money
Single guys save a lot just by being single; this much is true. While most married fellows with families and mortgages spend the little free time they do have finding investments to keep themselves afloat and put the kids through a private school they’ll eventually end up getting thrown out of, the single guy is living the dream just being himself. Hopefully it’s not the sole reasoning for a solo flight, but it can have its benefits.
The holiday season, however, is no time for being a stingy moneygrubber. Let out the billfold and swipe the living daylights out of that magnetic strip. It’s the one time of year where singleness can have a price, but it’s not like there’s an engagement ring, honeymoon or kid who needs a car to wreck in the near future. Being a single guy usually means that the number of significant people in life is a bit lower than if your marital status were different, so it’s best to be extra good to the quality people on that list. At most, there is typically just family, some close friends and a few coworkers to consider.
So go all out, pull out the stops and show the folks that despite your swinging bachelor lifestyle, you’re still right in the head.
Be Smart, Give From the Heart
They’ll never see it coming. Instead of having to go out and commit a crime in the name of better gifts, why not go from the heart and be a little more unique and a little less trendy, even if musical condoms are catching some serious holiday momentum?
With mom and dad, it’s usually quite simple, as they appreciate the fact that their son decided to pass on a third holiday pub crawl and showed up this year at all. Any mother would appreciate a handmade card of colored construction paper and glue if it had her son’s name on it. If you’re looking to enhance her life though, try the cooking section, as no mother is ever fully satisfied with the contents of her kitchen, plus it’s ground zero for meeting women during the holidays. And dad, he’s just happy nobody wrecked his boat or touched his scotch, but you could get nostalgic on Pops this year and replace his fishing rod or something to take his mind off the fact that he’s still supporting you during these rough times.
The holidays don’t have to be about money, but it’s cool to go above and beyond the call of booty, because what other time of the year calls for such action? If you’re a single guy and teetering between a gift that will break in two years the day after the warranty is up or a gift that shows a little more thought, perhaps capable of making some eyes water, man up and make your folks proud to call you their single son.
Wave Goodbye to Ghosts of Christmas Past
Every man sees himself as a hardass and a teddy bear all at once, but the reality is that most of the better thoughts go unsaid and the kinder actions undone, which might leave people’s outlook a little less than what’s built up in a guy’s mind. Having said that, there’s no better time than the holidays to show people, whether they be past flings or currently distant friends, that the past is simply the past, and you’re focusing on now and a better future.
Start small and pick somebody who has been lost in the callback list or just plain lost touch altogether. Grab something small, a nice bottle of booze or box of chocolates, and surprise them this year. Whether you wind up having a few too many cocktails and good catch-up conversation or have to mail something with a letter, you’ll feel progress has been made. And if that person is ballsy enough to snub you, there’s always time for a bag of flaming New Year’s dog shit to leave on their doorstep (just kidding…maybe).
Be Wildly Unpredictable, and Not Just With the Shopping
Everybody thinks they know the typical single guy. He can’t make up his mind about anything, can he? Does he really think he’s festive because he walks around in one-piece long underwear with an unkempt beard and a Santa hat on? Will he ever get his life together? Well, the answer is probably “yes” and “when he damn well pleases.”
As a single guy, people tend to have their minds made up about you despite what you say, so throw them a curveball this year and show them just how wrong they are, whether that means you have to choreograph the elementary school Christmas recital, or you stoop as low as to karaoke Bon Jovi’s entire holiday album at the local saloon. Most bottom shelf boozehounds would pay good money for that.
Don’t let others be the boss of you when the holidays come. Make them rue the day they doubted your ability to attract strange women, then bow and pass out from all the liquor it took to get you up there in the first place.
Make the Most of It
And eff the haters. If there’s one thing that miserable people love during the holidays, it’s to see other people miserable too — classic Scrooge syndrome. Oh, but this year they won’t have the satisfaction as you learn it’s better to tote your happiness like a smiling lunatic than to sink to their level.
As a single man, it’s your job, nay duty, to take all that energy of not having to carry children on your shoulders all day and drive them to soccer practice to make the merriest possible impression on people. Don’t sulk when it’s clear you can do whatever you wish at any moment (If you want to hop on a train to Tijuana and spend Christmas learning Spanish in a Mexican bar, you can!). Do all the things you know you can do for others that they can scarcely do for themselves, like holding the door for some poor bastard with a four-seater baby stroller that looks like a mini Hummer when it’s running over his foot, or you can help someone with their things to their car, since you probably have the one plastic bag that fits everything you bought.
So as the sap pours down to meet the pine needles on your mother’s pristine carpet, remember to stay outrageous this year as you bask in the beauty that is your singleness, using this power for good and not evil as you attempt to brighten the season for the overwhelmed family man with a slight I-told-you-so smirk.
Don’t stutter when everyone asks why you’re alone at the big holiday party; just smile, sip your winter cocktail and make an insanely inappropriate toast right before you tongue some equally as drunk single gal under the mistletoe. And remember, you do it because you can, single man. Happy holidays!