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Single for the Holidays?

You don't have to be, if you follow these tips

Take an Educational Group Trip

Last-minute bargains are always available. Going on a trip that is structured means that you won't find yourself sitting in a café all alone on Christmas Eve wondering how you've ended up alone in a distant land, in a difficult time zone.

Taking an educational trip (many universities and travel companies offer them) means you will be stretching your mind — learning new things almost always makes people feel good about themselves — and will likely be among lively, interesting people.

If the idea of going on one of these kinds of trips intrigues but intimidates you, ask friends if they'd like to join you. You'd be surprised how many people don't have plans for the holidays, and either a couple or another single person would give you additional companionship on the trip. That said, having friends there might make it less likely that you reach out and  get to know your fellow travelers. Either way, whether you sign up to learn about Mayan culture in Guatemala or desert ecosystems in Arizona, your chances of feeling lonely or unlucky during the holidays would go way down.

Do Something Selfless

You can help in your own community or in a faraway place. You could assist in creating sanitary conditions in rural Honduras, help rebuild housing in New Orleans, or befriend homeless or sick children in your hometown.

Giving of yourself and improving others' lives are surefire salves for the soul. Selfless activities boost our self-esteem. That actually creates endorphins that make us happy, even buoyant! If I do something that changes someone's life for the better, it gives me a high that lasts for days. You can easily accomplish that any day, but giving your time and energy feels particularly good during the holidays.

Visit a Cherished Friend You Rarely See

Almost all of us have someone we care about who lives in an out-of–the-way place we rarely visit. Similarly, almost everyone has a friend or relative who would be surprised and delighted to get a call proposing a get-together over the holidays.

Your friend might want you to stay with him or her, or you could suggest a road trip or meeting at a place you both would enjoy. Plan it around something enticing — a glorious hike, a spa or resort, a museum-rich city, or a sports event. Pick a friend who is easy to be with, and make an effort to be good company. The visit isn't supposed to be a therapy session; it's supposed to remind you that you still have friends you care for — and that they also care about you. Making the connection also shows you that you can have a great time even when you don't have a partner or romantic interest in your life.

Next: Fun holiday activities to do alone or with a friend. »

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