Consider a day when you can do whatever you want in the privacy of your own home. You have the option of getting out of bed or not. Wear a three-piece corduroy suit, a fiery yellow bikini, and a neon pink wig, or go completely naked. You are free to play whatever music you choose. You can laugh out loud when watching the worst movies. You can openly cry while watching the best episodes of television. You can cuddle up in your closet and say romantic nothings to your out-of-season clothes. You and your imagined companions can enjoy a tea party.
Nobody annoys you. Nobody addresses you. Nobody expects you to explain why you got divorced, married, married again, never had children, or quit your career.
This is the joy of a self-contained vacation.
I enjoy vacations. Mostly, I enjoy my family. Seasonal carbohydrates appeal to me. Candles, different religious traditions, and various cinnamon-based pastries are among my favourite things. Despite my admitted fondness for Friendsgiving, I intend to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family in separate locales. And I’m very excited about it! I’ve already blown my budget on Etsy goods.
However, I’ve spent Christmas alone before, especially when I lived across the country from most of my family and didn’t want to travel for a few days. And whether you’re not mingling because you want to or because you have to, I hope you’ll think about the benefits of a lone vacation.
You have complete control over your schedule.
You can get up whenever you want. You can eat whenever you wish. Take a nap whenever you like. You can eat again whenever you wish. You can sleep whenever you choose. You can get up and eat whenever you want. Return to bed whenever you like. There’s no need to appease the controlling parent who makes everyone in the family get up at the same hour! There’s no need to pretend to be interested in the horrible relative who keeps everyone up late telling bad stories! You have complete control over your time. That in itself is a blessing.
You have the opportunity to spend quality time with your pets.
Who do you know who isn’t homophobic, racist, or a bourbon aficionado? Your cat! Alternatively, your pet. Alternatively, your goat. Your pets are amazing creatures who have no idea what day it is. Every day is the same for them: a chance to eat, sleep, bond with you, or ignore you, depending on their little animal moods. How soothing.
You have complete freedom to watch whatever you want.
There will be no haggling with a slew of relatives over a holiday film that half of them will talk about (or sleep). Baby, it’s all up to you! Nobody is going to stop you if a Lars von Trier film festival is your idea of a Christmas party! If that’s the case, you’ll almost certainly benefit from treatment, which is the best gift you can offer yourself. That reminds me…
You can engage in your favourite self-care activities.
Take an hour long bath without anyone else hammering on the door! Read the self-help book to get ready for the folks you won’t have to interact with today! You are free to attend as many online 12-step meetings as you desire! Apply a hydrating face mask and create a vision board out of old magazines! Between rounds of mild stretching, do a bunch of mini-meditation sessions! Pray! Get plenty of water! Because your therapist is most likely on vacation, listen to an audiobook by America’s therapist, Oprah!
You may listen to your favourite podcasts again.
Surely you haven’t heard all of Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang’s Las Culturistas episodes from 2018. You must correct this. I’m sure there are other podcasts out there that you can listen to.
You can do some charitable shopping.
When your online retail therapy helps someone in need, it feels even better. This holiday season, you may support families by purchasing things from wishlists maintained by groups such as Miry’s List, which assists refugee families in resettling in the United States. Alternatively, see whether a charity you care about offers products and then go out and buy some.
You can volunteer for a cause that you care about.
Why not volunteer at a food bank, soup kitchen, or other event if you’re willing to spend part of your holiday with other people? If humans aren’t your thing, perhaps a local animal shelter or rescue organisation is looking for volunteers to fill in for regular employees. You can also do a lot of volunteer work from home if you contact your favourite registered nonprofit or mutual assistance organisation and ask how you can help them manage their data, make phone calls, or perform other remote chores.
What is the common thread that runs through all of these possibilities? Choice. You get to take control of your vacation and remember your agency and liberty. Skipping out on group festivities is not selfish. Self-care can help you become a healthier person and a better member of your community. And it feels better than doing something merely because it is required. So say no, thank you, and prepare to recharge, replenish, and enjoy your trip as you want.