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Beating the Holiday Blues

December 23, 2014

It is no secret that I love Christmas. For the last several weeks, my friends have repeatedly posted that BuzzFeed video about Your Friend Who Is Too Excited For Christmas on my Facebook wall, because that video is me.

But as much as I love string lights and tinsel and pine-scented Glade plug-ins, the holidays can be depressing.

The holidays can be a huge bummer when you’re a broke, single orphan. Last Christmas I got Chinese food and went to see Anchorman 2 with some friends. Turns out, my couple of friends were also a couple who were also a couple looking for a unicorn. It got pretty awkward pretty fast. I came home to my cats and vodka and ate half a package of Oreos.

But winter doesn’t have to be a painful reminder that you’re sad and alone.

Holiday Ideas for Introverts

Some people actually enjoy spending time by themselves, and being alone on Christmas is like a jackpot for them. It’s not a reminder that they’re sad and alone, it’s a reminder that they don’t have to deal with the crazy family drama that everyone else complains about on Snapchat.

  1. Turn Off All Means of Contact—Just because your friends are all with their families doesn’t mean they’re not going to live-blog their gift unwrapping. Turn off your phone and computer and ignore everyone’s humblebrags all day.
  2. Take Naps—I’m a big fan of naps. If you have nothing else you have to do all day, why not spend every minute in bed? You could even do this after you:
  3. Make a Blanket Fort—Who’s gonna judge you? The cats?
  4. Pamper yourself—Give yourself a fancy pedicure, take a bubble bath, use the expensive lube with your vibrator, put every lotion you own on your face. Whatever makes you feel and smell awesome, do that thing.
  5. Online shopping—So you didn’t get the thing you wanted, or maybe you didn’t get anything at all because your friends are as poor as you are. Count your pennies and buy something from your Amazon “treat yourself” list.
  6. Netflix—C’mon, who’s not gonna sit in their pajamas and watch Netflix all day on Christmas?
  7. Play Video Games—One of my introvert friends said this would be her preferred activity if she didn’t have to be with family. Since I’ve spent upwards of 9 consecutive hours playing The Sims in the past, I think this is a likely option.
  8. Order Chinese Food—Unless you want to go the entire day with no human interaction at all. In which case:
  9. Pre-Make The Next Week’s Meals—You have plenty of time, so there is no excuse to not get started on meal prep. Just think of the money and morning-time you’ll save getting it out of the way early!
  10. Catch Up on Work/Classwork—This may not be the most uplifting task, but it should take your mind off of the lack of presents.

Holiday Ideas for Extroverts

This is me. I need a lot of attention. So much that I went on a super awkward date on Christmas so I wouldn’t have to be by myself.

  1. Throw/Attend an Orphan Christmas—This is my plan this year. I’m having people over and going to a party. Stay tuned for my tips on having awesome Friendsgivings and Friendsmases!
  2. Hang Out with Your Jewish Friends—Not everyone goes crazy for Christmas. Why not hang out with other people who have no social obligations that day!
  3. Go to Your Friends’ Family Christmases—As soon as you say you’re going to spend Christmas alone, people will extend (mostly insincere) invitations for you to spend Christmas with their families. I’ve done Other People’s Holidays three times, and even when it’s mostly okay, there’s always a little bit of awkwardness being The Friend.
  4. Volunteer—Soup kitchens and homeless shelters always need a few extra hands to help out on Christmas. Help make someone’s day a little brighter!
  5. Commit Random Acts of Kindness—These are huge on Pinterest: people making goodie bags and cards, or buying gas cans and groceries for neighbors.
  6. Make a Family of Snowmen—If all of your friends are spending time with their own families, you can make a family of your own! Hopefully it’ll fill the void in your cold heart?
  7. Skype Christmas—Even if you can’t spend time together in person, you can still have a pretty great get-together over Skype. Make a Facebook event and plan to have everyone log in at the same time with drinks and snacks of their own, and maybe play a round or two of Cards Against Humanity online together.
  8. Go Get Chinese Food—If you’re lazy, you can still order in, but if you really crave human interaction and greasy vegetables, head to the nearest Chinese buffet.
  9. Go to the Movies—Go see Into The Woods. Go do it!
  10. Go On Vacation—If you can afford to go somewhere fun for the holiday, do it! Christmas Day is the busiest day of the year at Disney World, and who wouldn’t want to go to the beach in the middle of winter? Go somewhere fun and meet some new people!

Embrace your solo time, do something for yourself while everyone is doing stuff for each other, and enjoy the freedom of having no obligations for a day (hopefully).

Remember, the holiday madness will soon be over and you can get back to your regular routine.

I’ve had a number of Christmas celebrations over the years, from going to other people’s houses to awkward dates to eating cold pizza and watching the entirety of Glee in a few days. What’s your orphan holiday tradition?


Spotlight: Your Holiday Mom

December 22, 2014

A few months ago, I joked with my friends that there should be a social network that connects parents with empty nest syndrome and orphans.

Your Holiday Mom is not quite that thing, but it’s a really uplifting site that I’m glad I started following this winter. It features sweet holiday letters from parents around the world, addressed to LGBTQ kids and adults who don’t have the love and support of their birth parents. Subscribing to YHM is like having Burt Hummel emailing you every day through the holidays.

YHM also has a Tumblr, which reblogs the posts from the site and also replies to fanmail that will make you cry just as much as the letters do.

The content of the letters varies, but you don’t have to be an orphan or LGBTQ youth to get the warm and fuzzies while reading them. If you need a pick-me-up or a good cry, head over to Your Holiday Mom to see parenting done right.