Monday, November 27, 2017

OMG I Have Ten Days Off at Christmas

The past two years, I haven't really enjoyed Christmas.  As the junior staff member, I've been on call over the holidays, meaning that I've never quite been able to relax, lest I get paged away in the middle of the gift opening or family dinner.  It also means I haven't been able to drink, which is a bad thing given the specialness that is my family.

When putting in my call requests for this year, I asked to have the full week off in return for taking Christmas two years in a row, and I was successful!  M and I celebrated when the call schedule came out, envisioning leisurely days spent sleeping in and playing games and eating all the Christmas baking.  It was going to be wonderful.

Somehow, it didn't occur to me until today that my Christmas plans have changed.

I mean...I knew intellectually that I wasn't going to be spending Christmas with M and her family.  I am actually in touch with what is going on in my life.  But somehow, in the moments when I would look ahead to Christmas, I still pictured an abundantly full holiday, packed with all of the activities I've done since I met M.

Which isn't what's going to happen.  There will be no family puzzle or Christmas morning cheese tray or days spent at M's parents' house in pjs.  There will be one Christmas Eve dinner at my brother's, followed by the opening of a few presents the next day, and that will be it.  And then there will be eight days on my own, when my friends are busy with their families or traveling to other cities.  Me, the cats, and my apartment.  For eight days.

When I suddenly realized what was ahead of me, I panicked.  I actually thought about booking some clinics that week so as to not have to face such an abundance of alone time.  Or maybe flying away somewhere, so that at least I could be distracted from my aloneness by the sites of a new city.  Anything to not spend the holidays drinking wine and singing sad love songs a la Bridget Jones.

But, I probably won't do any of those things.  People are notoriously bad for not coming to clinics during the Christmas holidays, which would mean I'd be miserable and lonely while wearing work clothes instead of sweat pants.  And given that I just came back from Quebec City and am planning a trip to France, I don't feel like I can justify any more travel for a while.  So I will be here.

And now I am planning.  I'm messaging any friends who might be around to say "Please entertain me".  I'm booking a massage.  I'm writing a list of things that I can do to keep myself from spending what should be 10 wonderful days off wallowing in a sea of self pity.  Or (God forbid) from trying to online date over the holidays, which is really one of the saddest things a person can do.

Any suggestions of things to add to my list?


  1. Here's an idea -- maybe try one new thing each day. Your new thing can be as simple as a new recipe or as challenging as you may want it (cross-country skiing?). You can be as creative as you'd like.
    If you do -- please write it about! I really enjoy your blog.

  2. Come to Texas and drink wine with me! We've got a guest room at our house, and I love meeting new people. Hell, I live here now because I met a blog friend and we became IRL friends and now she's never getting rid of me.

    *I jokingly say this, but I'm also not kidding.

  3. I share your terror at such a prospect. I think anons suggestion is really good and I will certainly comment frequently if you do something like that.

  4. Get some catnip for the cats and they will entertain you for a bit. Work on that novel you've always wanted to write. Or short stories which is something you already can do. Read some new blogs. Visit some libraries you haven't been to. Search for real estate in exotic locations. If you have to be around your family make sure you have a small flask in your possession for medicinal purposes.

  5. Cook some of those elaborate meals you love, and freeze up some portions for those times when you are busy as all get-out.

    Just enjoy space and time to relax, breathe, and do what comes to you. Wander around the city. Have a "yes" day where you just do whatever spontaneously occurs to you. Be in the moment and lean in to being on your own.

  6. 10 days sounds like a lot if you don't have at least a few things planned, I think! I'm not sure exactly where you live - but if there are any Holiday events or things to do nearby? Going out to see light displays is always something I like to do during the holidays. Take an afternoon and go ice skating and have hot chocolate. Find 3 movies that you meant to see in the theatre and watch them with popcorn and a warm throw. Find a new hiking trail or pathway to wander down. Plan to hit up the Boxing week sales - even if it's just to people watch! Pick a new restaurant that you've never been to that is only open for lunch - take advantage of not being at work during the day to go there. Pick ONE household task you've been meaning to do - whether it's hanging a shelf, putting up a piece of art, or cleaning out a closet and reorganizing it - and commit to getting it done. Drive 3 hours in a direction you haven't been, then drive home. Ride a bus line you've never been on, to see where it goes - at least in Ottawa, when I lived there one summer, it seemed like every bus line ended up at a shopping center. Go swimming. Get a day pass to a gym, and take a class you've never tried before. Pack up one box of things you haven't used in a year, and donate it - it's a great way to start the year! Go to the local aquarium/museum/art gallery.

    And then blog all about your adventures!

  7. I'm dog-sitting for Christmas instead of seeing my girlfriend since we are on a pause. It is definitely not something I'm looking forward to. I like plans and loveliness, but cannot get that in my own family. I'm grateful I'll be staying with a big ole dog, at least. Sigh.