Times have definitely changed. More and more women in America are choosing not to marry, or are staying single after a divorce. But as Latinas, we have to deal with our parents, aunts and grandparents breathing down our neck all day, asking Why don’t you have a boyfriend? or When are you going to get married? If during the rest of the year it is more or less easy to hide your single status or to avoid attending family events, during the holidays, you have no choice but to face the stares and comments when you go for dinner with your familia for Christmas.

That doesn’t mean that being single at Christmas should make you feel bad. But it may become a stressful situation, considering that the holidays are emotionally intense to begin with. Try to take it easy, and walk away from the events and people that make you feel stressed or uncomfortable. These tips will help you make it through the festivities gracefully, and be single and merry at Christmas.

  • Go with the flow. As you can’t escape the celebrations, learn how to make peace with them. You’re a Christmasphobic? Then keep in mind that Christmas is just a date on the calendar. It will pass, and very quickly at that. But if you like this holiday, go ahead and take full advantage of the food, drinks, parties and gifts.

  • Enjoy your freedom. No social commitments with your partner. No dinner with your suegra or buying gifts for that sister-in-law you don’t even like. Isn’t it wonderful? Give yourself the pleasure of spending that gift money on you. It sounds clichéd, but Christmas is the best time of year to indulge in a delicious massage or snag a stunning handbag at your favorite outlet.

  • Don’t be defensive. Remember that you have nothing to explain. Hold your head high and learn to give snappy answers to rude questions. If your sister makes a snarky comment about you not getting any younger and still being single, tell her that watching some people’s marriages makes you prefer to be alone than in bad company. And if your mother looks at you with pity and wonders when you’re going to tie the knot, dare to tell her that maybe you will never get married and that it’s time for her to accept it. Then, open a bottle of champagne and toast to both of you. The act of downplaying and talking about taboo topics will make you feel powerful.

Read Related: Top 5 Holiday Stress Triggers & Strategies to Manage Them

  • Avoid the bitterness. Don’t let other people’s opinions influence you. Refuse to be the buena chica just because you’re single, even though everyone around you seems to be madly in love. What if it turns out that they secretly envy you? So don’t compare yourself to anyone and don’t revel in self-pity. Go on vacation with your children, if you’re a single mami or reserve a table at the hippest restaurant downtown and hold the craziest New Year’s Eve dinner with all your single friends.

  • Open your heart. Beyond the wild consumerism and partying, celebrating Christmas is about a whole different thing. ‘Tis the season to find time to pray, meditate or help others less fortunate than you. Remember that altruism generates endorphins and provides a feeling of well-being that no material possession can give you. Take advantage of it to strengthen your hope and faith in a Higher Power.

  • Enjoy your favorite traditions. Are cooking the turkey, drinking punch by the fireplace, decorating the house, ice-skating and caroling your scene? Then don’t stop doing it because you’re single! If you have kids, they will become your best allies these days. But if not, just pursue your favorite holiday activities anyway, and don’t let being alone get you down. You don’t need to get together with relatives you don’t see during the rest of the year or go to your grandparents’ on the same day as all your married sisters and cousins. They may criticize you, but who cares? It’s time for you to enjoy life your way. Don’t you think that’s a great New Year’s resolution?