Etiquette & superstition: single at Christmas

christmascracker

Last year I wrote an etiquette & superstition post noting that if you were going to be a crank during Christmas, you should probably just stay home by yourself and not ruin everyone else’s fun. Sometimes you’re by yourself over the holidays through no cranky fault of your own, however. Treat yourself to some nice takeout or something and try to take it easy. It’s going to be okay.

ETIQUETTE: Miss Manners notes that questions from acquaintances such as, “What did you do for the holidays?” and “Did you have a nice Christmas?” are to be taken about as seriously as “How are you?” That is, not seriously at all. These are meaningless pleasantries. You don’t go into a litany of your financial, spiritual and physical woes with the grocery store clerk when you get a “How are you?” from them when they’re ringing you up, do you? (Please say no.)

So if you spent Christmas alone staring dead-eyed at the wall, this is not the time to share that information. You got through the day; why do you want to relive it, and above all, spread your horror to another person who was just trying to give you the verbal equivalent of a friendly wave? Get out of your brain for a moment. If you truly had the loneliest day of your life and need to unload, please take a friend aside at some time when you can really have a deep, two-sided conversation about what you experienced. If you don’t have a friend to talk to, feel free to write to me in a private message and I will listen. My email address is in the “About” section of this blog.

SUPERSTITION: If a single girl bangs on the door of the chicken coop really loudly on Christmas Eve and a rooster yells at her before a hen yells at her, she will be married before the end of the year. If she goes into the garden at midnight and plucks twelve leaves from the sage bush, she will be met by an apparition of her future husband.

If you really live in solitude and your only companions are ghosts, you will be alone on Christmas Eve because that is one night that ghosts never appear (sorry, Charles Dickens). If you were born on Christmas day, you will never see a ghost in your lifetime.

Photo by Matthew Matheson via Flickr

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