The Holidays

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The Holidays

“Run, Newman, run!!!” I yelled at the TV, an enormous slice of pizza hanging out of my mouth. Even though I knew the Dilophosaurus would eventually (*SPOILER ALERT!*) devour Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight, who will always be Newman to me) in his car in Jurassic Park, my flannel pajama-ed tuches was on the edge of my sofa, my dog on my lap. I suddenly jolted as my phone rang, causing a pile of grated parmesan and crushed red pepper to spill onto my Ninja Turtle tank. I picked it up to hear my parents shriek, “HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and Jonah*! Hope you two are having fun tonight!” (*Totally not his real name, but a solid Jewish boy name, nonetheless.)

Oops! Sorry, Ryan Seacrest, my ATL homeboy – looks like I missed the ball drop. While I may have missed the countdown, I sure didn’t miss my boyfriend Jonah, who my family believed I was flying back just in time to share the holiday with after visiting them in Florida. However, the only nice Jewish boy I wanted to spend New Year’s Eve with was Jeff Goldblum, a.k.a. Dr. Ian Malcolm, alongside a sexy T-Rex or two. After a lot of reflection during my family vacation, I had decided to tell Jonah that I didn’t feel right driving up to celebrate (i.e., watch him ski while I willed away frostbite) with him and his family in the remote arctic tundra of their cabin in Vermont. We formally broke up over text the following morning, on New Year’s Day. We both knew it was time, and I know we were both relieved to not drag it out any longer. 

The holiday season can be tough. I am overwhelmed with business this time of year, but it’s bittersweet: My heart breaks to have so many people sharing with me how lonely they feel and how badly they yearn to have someone with whom to share the holidays. Even friends of mine stuck in an unhappy relationship tell me they want to stick it out through Valentine’s Day because it’s a tough time to be alone. Considering two of my serious relationships ended on Thanksgiving and New Year’s, I am not one to shy away from breaking up if it’s right, no matter what time of year it is, but it wasn’t always that way for me.

On my last New Year’s Eve in Atlanta in 2009, my fourth in a row as a single adult, I remember staring down at the sad little maraschino cherry floating around in my vodka soda while I sat alone watching the ball drop on the big screen at Taco Mac, the sports bar below my apartment building. I also clearly remember just one year later, staring at a ginormous spider on the ceiling as I shivered myself to sleep in a frat house in Bumblef*ck, PA, after my 30-year-old BF overdid it in beer pong. Looking back over the past decade, I’ve got to say: the holidays are what you make ’em out to be. In fact, having a quiet cocktail at a cool bar on one of the most overhyped holidays of the year sounds awesome to me now, and a night of beer pong would actually be super fun (minus the spiders, please). 

This week, I’ve received a lot of requests for tips on how to embrace being alone on the holidays, whether you’ve been detached for awhile, are anticipating impending singledom, or are in a long-distance sitch with your partner. I’ve found being single or stuck with some solo time on the holidays to be a truly unique opportunity to be both selfish and selfless, and I hope you find my list below helpful!

How to Celebrate the Season Solo

  1. ) Eat. Savor the solo food coma. After a huge Thanksgiving dinner or a pile of latkes on Chanukah, there’s no better place to be than sprawled on your own couch, bloated and half-asleep. (Personally, I don’t want anyone to touch my belly after I down over half of a pumpkin pie – especially since it basically consist of mostly Splenda. Time for the #SugarFreeChallenge again!)
  2. ) Shopping. It’s so much more enjoyable and efficient to shop on your own. No getting dragged into places you don’t want to go to. No fielding questions of, “Does grey make me look washed out?” (I say: Yes! How about no grey OR black?! Wear some color!) Plus, you don’t have to buy presents for a partner AND his or her nieces, nephews and clingy mother (who might even re-gift it right back to you a year later… #truestory). Less gifts for others means more dough to invest in a worthwhile cause, that next item on your bucket list, or that splurge you know you deserve!
  3. ) Football. When my dad’s favorite team, Georgia Tech, loses to its rival UGA almost every Thanksgiving, we know not to speak to him nor make eye contact for at least 24 hours. Whether it’s a huge game or a Hallmark movie marathon, sometimes it’s just better to watch it alone or with your buddies (or a box of tissues if you find yourself watching Love Actually, like I do every year).
  4. ) Work out. The holidays are an awesome time to get in shape and discover new routines and workouts that you love, especially to combat all that holiday eating (see #1!). Sign up for a free ClassPass trial (ask me for a promo code, and come with me!), and try new things! I had no idea what a “TRX” was three years ago, and now it’s my workout BFF. Unlike that 5th turkey leg (I have a portion problem, ok?!) or that drunken Matzoh Ball hook-up, exercise is something you’ll never regret.
  5. ) Volunteer. Think it sucks to be single on the holidays? It sucks more to be hungry and homeless. This year will be my second year serving up a decadent dinner on Christmas Day at the Laugh Factory in L.A., and I can’t wait! There really is no greater feeling in the world than making someone smile. (If you’re interested in volunteer opportunities with Shabbatness this winter, let me know!)
  6. ) Bake. There is always someone to cook for. Every year, I’ve whipped up a batch of my Nana Roza’s famous “B’Nana Bread” (see below for the recipe!) for my office’s building staff, my laundry lady, and the guys working the night shift at the Hot n’ Crusty downstairs. It feels good to feed people. And, if you’re a crazy carb-avoider like me, it’s possible to live vicariously through others as they devour your sweet treats! 
  7.  a.) Travel. With many offices closing for much of the holidays, it’s an opportune time to use up some vacation days. If you don’t have a partner to split the holidays with, go visit your relatives – I’m sure they’re even more excited to be with just you! Or… hate the cold as much as I do? Go someplace warm, and/or knock a new destination spot of your bucket list! I just spent Thanksgiving in Miami with my gay cousins and some of their friends, and it was a blast! #Gaysgiving, anyone?! Traveling solo means you can do exactly what you want, when you want. The holiday season is a good time to be a lil’ selfish – especially if you followed #5 and #6 above:) 

b.) Staycation. I LOVE being in NYC when no one else is. (By “no one”, I mean locals – NOT tourists. AVOID MIDTOWN!) The best sales are right after Xmas, and the lack of lines everywhere is pretty awesome. Trader Joe’s at 5pm on a Saturday, Cookshop brunch at 1 on Sunday, Barry’s Boot Camp after work, and that salon that always needs two weeks notice are all yours for the taking! Make a bucket list of things you always wanted to do in NYC, and knock it out. Have fun!

I hope you all see your glass of egg nog as half full this year:) Happy Holidays!

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