By Anne T. Donahue
Of all the weeks I hate the most, the one between Christmas and New Year’s wins in my world. Which I know is controversial: I, like every person, enjoy time off. I like not working, I like having time to see my friends or to sleep or to read or get ahead of the year or whatever it is functioning humans do. But I hate the time between Christmas and New Year’s – the Sunday of weeks, where I feel like someone with no rhyme, reason, or routine; where I feel like a Real Housewife without a subplot, walking around the house decoratively chopping the couch pillows and waiting to yell at somebody at dinner.
And I know I can’t be the only one. It’s not that I don’t like the holidays, it’s that after putting so much pressure on myself to chill out and see friends or do nothing but mentally prepare for the long 52 weeks ahead, I realize how much I need structure. I need routine to live. I’m boring and profoundly uncool, and I look forward to weeknights where I watch The Food Network, curl up, and go to bed at 10 30 latest. Can I do that during the holidays? Yes, but it’s not the same. It’s not the same because I, a Virgo, need some semblance of rules. So if you’re like me, this is for you. And if you are not, please tell me what it’s like to be free.
Here’s how to live like me, though, if you’re already overwhelmed by the promise of time and space.
Look, let’s just get responsibility out of the way right now. You’re tired. I’m tired. We’re all very tired, and if we pretend not to be, we’ll be corn husks by the new year and will be useless in ways we didn’t know possible. So nap. Constantly. Whenever you can. Whenever you can’t, and shouldn’t, but do it anyway. Naps are essential. Early bedtimes are gorgeous. Santa can’t show up unless you’re sleeping anyway, so do it as much as you can and claim you’re getting into the holiday spirit. Amen.
Trash, consume only trash
I mean this in terms of junk food and I mean this in terms of television. This week, in the wake of exams and final papers, my immune system gave out and I had the privilege of catching up on every Real Housewives franchise and while I’m now desperate to scream in a friend’s face about how they will never understand me, preferably while shoving expensive food into my face, I feel sustained in my soul. Currently, I’m watching Meghan and Harry and when I’m finished, I will embark on the latest season of The Crown which I have been told is the worst and is exactly what I need.
Highbrow anything has no place over the week of Sundays. Bravo was made for days like this.
Except for books – read books!
And okay, fine, I’ll admit it: I’ve been reading books. Books for fun. Books that aren’t for school and/or books that have been stockpiling in my room while I continue to buy new books like that’s something I have the money to do. (Guess what: I don’t! But who cares!) Read books about whatever you want. Read books that are actually commemorative issue magazines that are thicker than regular magazines. Read the books of your youth. Read the books “written” by reality stars, and the books actually written by reality stars. (If I don’t read Heather Gay’s book I will actually perish.) Read a menu, but one that’s thick and could moonlight as a book if you were very desperate. Read on your phone. Read something handwritten (like original Chaucer? Though that seems absolutely awful – why would you do that). Read with abandon, and don’t for a single second read anything for work*.
*Unless like, you have to. I don’t know why, but I also don’t know your life.
Roam around the mall
I love going for walks, but I refuse to do so if it’s snowy, icy, cold, or any weather not entirely conducive to enjoying a walk in which I can pretend to be the star of a nineties rom-com film. So in nature’s stead, I choose the mall. I choose to roam it, to engage with it, and to power through it with earphones in, and a small budget allotted to me, a person who really shouldn’t be spending anything, but it’s a weird week and I want discounted body wash. Are the malls a cursed place until the first week of January? They are. But riddle me this: what else are you going to do? How else are you going to exercise? (Don’t talk to me about gyms – I refuse to accept that they are real.) What kind of obstacle course could compare to crowds of people, walking too slowly for no reason, or people who stop suddenly without warning, daring you to bump into them? Exactly.
Plus, you might find yourself at a mall with a Kernel’s. And not a thing says “good for you, you did it” like stumbling upon a two-for-one popcorn deal.
Refuse to wear jeans
I love denim, and I will wrap myself in it until my dying day, but confining fabrics have no place over the course of the holidays. This is a time for fleece. For sweats. For leggings. For waistbands that stretch. Nobody is here for a fashion show, are you kidding me? So consider this not part of a plan, but a challenge: dress for the job you want, and ensure that job is doing absolutely nothing outside of something a sloth would do. You’ve earned it. And even if you haven’t, just kidding: you have.
We all have. (Goodnight.)
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