A shift in mindset is needed to survive to most wonderful time of the year. Here’s to an alternative Christmas and New Year’s—and it’s okay if you forgot to buy me a gift.
I made no excuses for my singledom.
So I just recently broke up with someone (two years ago), which was all fine and well until the holidays came along and I was suddenly inundated with questions about when I'm going to stop being weird and start dating again. “Well, thank you for the question, Married Great Aunt Mary, but I am very much happy. May I also inquire about your husband? Still philandering?”
Flying solo also caused a bit of stress at social engagements, especially when all of my same-age friends were with a plus one and I was with no one. So I informed the hostess of my happy situation ahead of time and made a kind request to cease all efforts to set me up with one of her single friends.
At the party, I also confidently made my entrance, dressed in full armor (vintage obscure designer and tastefully large jewelry), so that no one would dare comment about how sad I must be. And when I found myself left out by the marrieds, I barged into the conversation and asked about their kids, because parents love talking about how their toddlers have mastered gibberish.
I embraced a policy of giving less material gifts.
I almost engaged in this movement called Skipping Christmas, but because the holidays, apart from secret trunk show sales, are the happiest time of year, I made a concession with my dark heart, and decided to just not give so many gifts. Instead, I decided to give more people my most precious time.
Can I just tell you that the daring policy made all the weeks leading up to the big day more peaceful as I did not have to partake in the mad rush of buying gifts? Instead of burning my cornea speed reading through all sorts of gift lists and then losing my mind because a certain mosaic plate collection only comes in sets of eight, which is a problem when a proper formal table in old houses seats a dozen, I took milk-and-honey soaks in my copper Water Monopoly tub and partook in my do-not-tell-anyone obsession: The Good Wife, more specifically Christine Baranski’s hair and clothes.
And when holiday well-wishers gave me presents, I was unapologetic about grinching them. “Thank you for this gift. See you next year!”
I did buy gifts for the most important people in my life, including my faithful assistant Eliza, who got a personalized crate of goods for her upcoming marriage, and Henry, a two-year-old Scottish Fold cat, who is currently going crazy over this dumb stick with feathers dangling on it. I made it.
I made friends with all sorts of food.
My very specific aura-based diet only allows me to only eat purple food and drink warm water steeped overnight with magic chilis. I have been on it for several years now, but I have the drum-tight body of a 12-year-old gymnast so it is worth it.
This season, I decided to reacquaint myself with my frenemies, sweet and salty. I abandoned all efforts to track what I put in my mouth (I have a food diary—do not judge me) and gave in to the wonders of the holidays. Into my flat tummy went a copious amount of foie gras, the T&C-approved combination of caviar and potato chips, many iterations of baked salmon, profiteroles, manchego cheesecakes, and more and more. I even indulged in this mutant lechon with a goose inside it, with a duck inside that, with a chicken inside that. I also took two slices of this mystery pie from the neighbors.
Sometimes, as I consumed all that food, the words of a wise woman (my old yaya) rung in my head. “Ho-ho-ho,” she said. “A moment on your leeps, forever on your heeps.” Whatever. Bring on the aubergines and the chilis now that the holidays are over. It was worth it.