The holidays are looking different for everyone this year due to the coronavirus pandemic: no office parties, scaled-down or nonexistent get-togethers with family, and skipping traditions that go back decades. And for singles who won’t be able to spend time with their families, this year may seem completely lacking in holiday spirit.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, being single this year might just be a blessing in disguise.

First of all, think of all the family holidays spent defending your single status. This year, there won’t be Aunt Sally quizzing you on why you’re “still” single or cousin Sam trying to set you up with his pal … who lives in a city 700 miles away.

There won’t be an office Christmas party where everyone is paired off while you head to the bar (again) or FOMO from friends clogging up your Instagram feed with ice skating dates all December long.

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And let’s not forget: there’s no pressure to find someone to kiss on New Year’s Eve when the clock strikes midnight. (Who came up with that idea, anyway?)

Instead, this holiday comes with zero expectations, and you can feel free to make your own seasonal magic. If you want to decorate a Christmas tree and hang a stocking, go for it! If you don’t feel like pulling a box of decorations out of the attic, you definitely get a pass this year. And if you’d rather order cheesy bread from Domino’s on Christmas Eve than spend all day in the kitchen completing a fancy meal, that’s totally up to you. And if you want to stay in your baggiest pajamas to welcome 2021 instead of a cocktail dress, there will be no one to tell you that’s not OK.

The perks that come with spending the holidays alone are endless — and with all the money you save from not traveling, not finding gifts for a significant other, and not seeing every one of your 34 cousins means some leftover money that you can spend however you wish. Why not invest it in yourself? Splurge on a Peloton or pay off your credit card debt. Or if you want to give yourself something to look forward to, find a virtual class in something you’re interested in — anything from yoga to cake decorating. Instead of telling yourself it’s too expensive, make it a gift to yourself.

No one wants to feel lonely, especially over the holidays. Make sure to set up a FaceTime or Zoom call with family or friends, or even host an online game night as Christmas approaches. You can also set aside a special project, go on a new hike, or purchase that movie you’ve been curious about on New Year’s Eve, giving you something to keep your mind occupied. You can even sponsor a family and get those warm cuddly feelings by knowing you made the holidays extra special for someone in need.

The holidays are always overwhelming, but this year is a chance to give yourself a breather. Instead of following old traditions, break the mold and do whatever makes you happy — knowing it may be the only chance you get to spend the holidays 100% your way.

Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps others navigate the often intimidating world of online dating. ©2020 Erika Ettin Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.