There’s nothing wrong with being alone during the holidays

This is the time of year that people feel depressed and lonely because we’re told that the holidays are about togetherness. That they’re about unwrapping gifts, traditional meals and all the lovey-dovey stuff we see on TV and social media.

It doesn’t have to be about that. There’s nothing wrong with being alone on the holidays.

I had a discussion with my sister-in-law. I asked if she knew what the plan was for our family Christmas. It usually involves a combination of us (her, my brother, their kids, my other brother, his wife and their kids, and my husband) spending some part of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at my parents’ house and then Boxing Day with either my mom’s or my dad’s side of the family, and days later with the other side.

There was talk about a family friend who “has nowhere to go” for Christmas. I said that it’s a nice gesture to invite people for the holidays but not everyone wants to be around screaming kids and noise and formal gatherings — especially if they’re an outsider at someone’s family function.

I’ve considered going to Mexico or my place in West Hollywood to spend Christmas by myself. It doesn’t mean that I’m unloved and that I’m going to be depressed on Dec. 25 because I’m not gathered with a bunch of people. I just have no interest in the festivities and that’s fine.

I’m strong enough emotionally to spend a birthday by myself. I bailed on Easter this year because, well, I wanted to. It won’t hurt my feelings if my cousin has a New Year’s Eve party and I’m not invited. I’m OK with it.

There’s such an insistence on togetherness and that being alone is a bad, bad thing. Outside of my public-facing roles on the radio and in books and in the newspaper, I’m a homebody and a loner. I prefer being alone.

Allow me to quote the great Whitney Houston: I found the greatest love of all / Inside of me / The greatest love of all / Is easy to achieve / Learning to love yourself / It is the greatest love of all.

In my 20s, I got a verbal smackdown from a friend after I had a relationship breakup. I was having a pity party and said that “I needed” that person “to make me happy.” My friend, a psychology student at the time, told me to smarten up and insisted that only I can make myself happy. From that point on, my happiness was up to me.

Being alone during the holidays doesn’t mean that nobody loves you and that you’re pathetic because you’re by yourself. Make the most of the time and celebrate you. Do things that make you happy. If it’s with a group of people, wonderful. If not, don’t overthink things and let it mess with your head.

Holidays are just another day on the calendar. Some of them have meaning for certain people and others don’t. It’s OK to not follow what people say should happen. You might find it’s better than conforming.

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