Looking at spending the holidays alone this year? Taylor’s an expert and is here in this pre-release bonus to give you three simple ways to make spending the holidays alone awesome.
Hey, I’m Taylor Vogel and this is Now That I’m Not Your Teacher. Each week we’ll explore an aspect of adulting that you might have missed in school. Since I used to be a teacher, I’ll structure it in ways that are proven to help you retain information. But since I’m not your teacher anymore, I can approach it in a way that’s honest and sometimes inappropriate for a classroom. I'm glad you're here, because class is in session!
This episode is a special pre-release bonus! Now That I’m Not Your Teacher doesn’t officially come out until January 4, but I wanted to take a second to give you hugs from afar and provide a little insight to something I’m really awesome at, that I know you might be doing for the first time this year: spending the holidays alone.
Now, when I say alone, I mostly mean at home, with limited interactions with others. Mostly because of finances, this has been my adult life holiday mode. I’ve celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas many, many times with only the people in my immediate household (a.k.a., completely alone or with a roommate). And while a lot of people hear that and say, “Oh, sweetie, that’s so sad, come spend the holidays with my family who you do not know and will look at you the entire time with pity and try to set you up with my weirdo uncle,” I want to illuminate the amazing parts of being alone for holidays, and help you make the most of it, if that’s your situation this holiday season.
So! In this episode, I’m going to give you three specific ways to have an awesome holiday alone.
Step 1: Eat the food you want.
Holiday cooking is an entire industry. And maybe I have a particular appreciation for a lack of food-related obligation since I’m a woman raised in U.S. southern-ish culture. But being able to eat the things you want on a holiday is a harmless act of rebellion that can result in relishing a holiday. Now, I love Thanksgiving food and am still going to cook it. But I’m cooking it how I want it instead of being like Monica in that episode of friends where she cries because she’s making four types of potatoes to make everyone else happy. I get to have peels and lumps in my potatoes, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. If cooking isn’t your thing, consider ordering takeout from your favorite local restaurant a day early. If you’re concerned that the food won’t keep well until the next day, ask them to separate the things that get soggy so that you can assemble it for the holiday. Most food-places are customer service heavy and will actually really dig this request. However you do this, maximize your holiday alone by eating what food YOU want.
Step 2: Rest in a way that serves you.
I am an introvert. Which means that large family gatherings are NOT restful for me. They just aren’t. What is restful for me? Reading novels. Long walks through a neighborhood with nice houses with a great playlist (or no phone at all). Comfort watching a series or movie that I love. Making something with my hands. Most of these activities are not encouraged unless your family is super-structured and has made a tradition out of them. So, if you’re looking at spending holidays alone this year, think of what actually brings you life-giving rest, and do that on this holiday. If that is connecting with friends and family, have a phone or video call for half an hour and play Pictionary or do a craft together. But name the restful thing you need and do it. And you might be thinking, “But Taylor, I haven’t done anything BUT rest this year, because Covid has kept me at home.” I’m going challenge you on that thinking, and say that pandemic-related isolation is not restful. Actively choosing to rest is. So rest in a way that serves you.
Step 3: Do something a little ridiculous. (Caution: Santa stuff ahead, so mind little ears, if you need to)
I have my first Christmas alone burned in my brain for all eternity and it makes me so happy each time I think about it. I didn’t grow up believing in Santa, so when I realized I was going to be alone, I hatched a scheme to give myself the Christmas I always wanted. About two weeks before Christmas, I bought myself all of the at-home spa stuff I wanted, individually wrapped each item, and tucked it away in my closet. On Christmas Eve, I baked cookies for Santa and set them out with a glass of milk. I awoke to an alarm at 3:00 a.m., popped on my glitter Santa hat, ate cookies and milk, stuffed my stocking, and then went back to bed. I slept in until like, 11:00 that morning, which is very unlike me, and relished the time I spent unwrapping nail polishes and face masks before using them that Christmas day.
Now, I know this is absurd, and maybe a bit much for many of you. But I loved it and will be repeating this year. Maybe your ridiculous is having an at-home holiday photo shoot, complete with all of your favorite clothes and props. Maybe it’s eating breakfast cereal for every meal. Maybe it’s choreographing a dance to Wham’s “Last Christmas” and forcing one friend to watch you do the dance over video call three times that day. But do something ridiculous and you’ll build a memory for years to come.
I don’t know what your holidays are looking like this year. But it’s important to take care of yourself as we go into yet another weird time. You can do it, and you actually can make it awesome, if you eat the food you want, rest in a way that serves you, and do something a little ridiculous.
So, how are you doing the holidays up right in a way that cares for your soul?
Let us know on Instagram @nowthatimnotyourteacher.