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I eloped to New York—Now I'm embracing a new kind of Christmas

I eloped to New York—Now I'm embracing a new kind of Christmas
After a whirlwind holiday romance turned into a surprise elopement abroad, writer Angelica Malin has found herself building new Christmas traditions in New York
I never expected to be spending Christmas 5,000 miles from home, living in a new city.
I also never expected to be spending Christmas married, having been happily single only a few months ago.
The key being that I was happily single—though it took me some work and introspection to get to a place where I loved the single life.

How to enjoy a single Christmas

Credit: L Thomson. Writer Angelia Malin was finally happy being single through the holidays in her thirties
It’s easy to find yourself in the mentality that everything will be fixed by meeting "the one". You can end up putting your life on hold while waiting to meet this special someone.
Throughout my early thirties, I watched many of my friends settle down. My Instagram feed was full of engagements, pregnancy announcements and lavish weddings—and I wondered if I should start worrying about my own romantic future.
I made a choice. That the only way to have a fulfilled, present-focussed life is not to worry about the big, unanswered questions, but to embrace every life stage as it comes.
I even wrote a bestselling book about being single. Unattached: Essays on Singlehood is a call-to-arms for women everywhere to reclaim their single power and find strength, empowerment and joy in being on their own.
"There’s a stigma around being single at Christmas, but really it’s a day of celebration"
So, the last few Christmases have been spent very much alone and very much single.
And, in fact, I loved it.
I luxuriated in the time I had to myself. I would spend hours reading fiction, watching re-runs of soppy Christmas movies, eating exactly what I wanted (and when) and generally enjoying the lack of pressure and expectation on the day itself.
I would take my dog Alfie for long walks in Hampstead Heath and we’d cuddle up on the sofa together—it was quiet, but very stress-free.
There’s a stigma around being single at Christmas, but really it’s a day of celebration—and you can choose to celebrate yourself.

An unexpected love story

But this year looks very different indeed. I’m now married, living in New York, and picking up a whole host of new traditions with my husband.
Firstly, let me tell you a little bit about how I got here. This past June, I took myself on a Solo Girl Summer in New York. It was always a dream of mine to spend a summer writing in the city and, after years of lockdowns and restrictions, I decided to seize the moment.
Love was the last thing on my mind.
I was there to romance myself and find empowerment in a solo travel adventure.
I never expected to fall in love. But the whirlwind romance that followed my first date with my now husband was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before.
"After a few dates, over sushi on his Brooklyn rooftop, he asked if I would move to New York for him"
It was the stuff of a Hollywood film; love at first sight, instant connection, old-school romance. I was starting to think that such things didn’t exist—until I felt them for myself.
Things moved quickly. After a few dates, over sushi on his Brooklyn rooftop, he asked if I would move to New York for him.
I didn’t even think twice about it.
Sometimes you have to follow your gut instinct and trust yourself.
Trust that if you’re making a decision from the heart, it’s never the wrong one.
Learning to lean into your own, natural intuition is very a powerful thing to do. We took the pressure off our love story. We let it evolve naturally, tuning into our own feelings.

Reimagining Christmas traditions as a couple

Angelica Malin picked up more than a souvenir on her New York adventure—now she's making new Christmas traditions with her husband
After four of months of dating, we eloped. It might seem crazy, but for me, it was anything but. It was the clearest and most certain I’ve felt about anything in my life—and when you feel a pull that strong, you simply can’t ignore it.
Naturally, there are some logistical challenges.
I gave up everything I knew at home and dived into the unfamiliar of a new city—all in the name of love. Such a move may seem daunting, but it was exciting too.
Walking through the Christmas-tree lined avenues in New York, the streets all lit up with fairy lights and sparkly decorations, I often have moments where I stop and think to myself I can’t believe I live here.
"I gave up everything I knew and dived into the unfamiliar of a new city—all in the name of love"
This Christmas will be a blend of some traditions old and new. I’ll be spending Christmas Eve with his oldest friends in Long Island, a tradition he’s been doing for years.
Next Christmas, I hope to show him my world; snowy Hampstead Heath in December and long, crunchy walks with my dog.
A happy festive period is about compromise; finding that sweet spot between respecting old traditions and creating new ones as you move through different life phases.
It's also a time for pause and reflection; looking at who you’ve become in the last year and the things you’re proud of.
We don’t often get that time to really slow down and notice our ever-changing world, so—regardless of whether you’re spending Christmas single or coupled-up—give yourself this festive season and show yourself the love, appreciation and care you really deserve.
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