If you're not going to be sipping pina coladas at an all-inclusive resort this holiday, it's imperative that you have a plan to escape the madness. Set aside a designated amount of time to devote to some serious me time and declare yourself MIA. This is your number one gift to yourself this Christmas. Do. It. Right. Here's how.
Rule number one of a holiday staycation: avoid malls, family gatherings, Christmas pageants, choir recitals, heavily decorated town squares, nativity scenes, craft shows, Christmas markets, grocery stores, and on a more personal note, any other place you generally hate. Your stay-cay time is a designated period to opt out of Christmas. Treat this time as if you were actually leaving the country. At any given point, invite only the people you love and enjoy.
Once you've marked it on your schedule, create a plan.
The key to a succesful staycation is having a strategy in place. Since we know that relaxing doesn't mean doing nothing, and doing nothing usually means being bored, it is an important first step to come up with a complete list of things you want to accomplish on your staycation. This must only include things that bring you complete and utter joy. For example, you might choose to attend a knitting workshop. Watch the entire first season of Gilmore Girls. Re-read the Twilight series. The guiliter the pleasures, the better.
After your plan is in place, gather all your materials.
Buy your tickets to the things you want to attend. Book yourself a massage. Buy yourself a gift card to your favourite coffee shop ahead of time so you can splurge on a fancy latte whenever you want. Play travel director here and do the work now to make it as easy as possible for yourself to exist in full staycation mode when it comes around. Be organized. Mark it all on your calendar.
When it comes to execution, do everything in your power to avoid your regular routine.
This might include not setting your alarm in the morning (unless you're a morning person and an activity on your list is early morning yoga or something), de-activating your Facebook account temporarily (or go big and do it permanently), making boring food. In general, avoid staying home for an extended period of time without doing an activity that you're excited about.
Master the art and science of a staycation: be spontaneous.
Regardless of the definition of the term, it's hard to be spontaneous. One cannot plan to "act spontaneously." However, since you are actively trying to avoid your routine during this time, you can use this in your favour. Avoiding routine means that you may feel a little more uncomfortable (the paradox of a staycation), but they key here is to allow the discomfort to lead you to be creative. Putting yourself in new situations and being very perceptive to your whims as you do it will lead to spontenaeity. Cast aside your limiting beliefs about yourself and about life and try your darndest to live in the moment.
In general, think of it this way: if you were to write a novel recap of your staycation, aim to make sure it wouldn't be boring.
When your time is over and you must return to the holiday fray, take a deep breath and put on your boss ass bitch game face when you must attend extended family gatherings and the like. You may not be able to opt out of Christmas entirely, but you can certainly find a way to do it your way.
As a wise woman once said, Christmas isn't about "Christmas (or any holiday, for that matter) doesn't have to abide by the tried and true traditions — the best part about adulthood is being able to write your own history. If you don't like going to church as a grown-up (hello), you don't have to. If you don't want to participate in Secret Santas, you don't have to. If you want to go on a trip, you get to do that now."
Amen. Happy holidays!