For many of us, the holiday season is a seemingly endless round of parties and celebrations. There's the holiday luncheon for your office, a muted affair with at least one irksome cubicle-mate sporting their bright red reindeer sweater in a non-ironic way! There will be the invitations from fellow members of your synagogue, your church, the mommies from your child's play group, or your book group/Red Hats/fraternity and lodge brothers. It is a sea of frivolity, small talk, and awkward pauses, fueled by open bars and highly suspicious bowls of alcoholic holiday punches. The choreography is always the same - knock on door of host home, greet host while presenting gift bottle of wine, deposit coat to designated area, grab drink and food article on a stick, eat article and continue holding the now empty stick, smile and nod and try to remember names, look at watch, grab coat, say goodbyes to hosts wiTh promise of seeing each other in the New Year, leave host home, drive to MacDonald's for actual meal as food article on a stick was not substantial!
It's no wonder, then, that some people opt out of this treadmill, and choose the quiet pleasure of their own company. Choosing to spend the holidays on your own is a difficult proposition. If you're planning on doing this, be prepared for pushback. Why? People don't like the idea of someone being alone during a time when you're expected to be in the company of others. They're afraid that you're depressed and in pain. If you're over the age of 65, then you're really screwed! Blame "Tuesdays with Maury" if you'd like. There is an assumption that if you're alone, it's not by choice but by circumstance.
A friend of mine who is in seminary told me that the foreign students who cannot afford to make the trip back home to their native countries are sent to stay with volunteer families in various parts of the United States for the month-long Christmas break. I can't imagine anything worse than having to play the role of good girl guest for 30 days in a stranger's home! Even if you wanted to have some down time and be on your own for Christmas, forget it, you're going to forced into community so eat your mush and shut your pie hole!!
One of my relatives opted out of the family Thanksgiving, choosing a day of quiet reflection instead of the chaos of my family and a long drive! When I first heard of her decision, my reaction was "poor thing", but, after 5 hours with my family, all hopped up on turkey and pumpkin pie, I thought she was a genius!
Bottom line - if you can't understand someone's choice, at least try to respect it. And those are words to live by all year long - not just during the holidays.
I'm just saying:)