Dec 21, 2013 by

          I’ve been avoiding the holiday season like the plague. At first, I thought I was merely denying the disappearance of summer. (I really love summer.) Now that Christmas is four days away and the countdown to the new year is little more than one week and three days, I’ve realized that the severity with which I’ve shutout holiday cheer is abnormal, even for me, not being a huge fan of holidays in general. As was the case with my birthday before The Happiness Experiment, holidays make me feel lonely. Even so, in the past, Christmas has tended to win me over by mid-December. You would think that this year, with fabulous friends in my life, I’d be more apt to embrace the season. Not so. Ironically, my dislike of the holidays has gotten worse. Aside from my mom holding me hostage at the mall two weeks ago until I picked a pair of boots for Christmas (aw, Mom!), I’ve stayed clear of malls since early November to avoid the Christmas explosion. (Though I don’t often go to the mall anyway, I don’t normally act as if I’m going to get SARS by stepping foot inside either.) I’ve changed the channel whenever a Christmas song has come on the radio. Until a few days ago, I’ve refused to buy clementines, a box of which I could manage to eat on my own, because their smell reminds me of Christmas. Most notably, my apartment is – wait for it – without a Christmas tree. Oh yes, this is serious.

          It’s taken some time to pinpoint why I’ve been pretending that the holidays don’t exist this year, but I think I’ve come to an understanding. See, it doesn’t matter how many friends I have; holidays are reserved for one’s family and one’s person. Personally, I don’t place much emphasis on family. I love my parents and my sisters; but, minus a few exceptions, I couldn’t care less about my extended family. I don’t like drama. They’re Italian. Enough said. I don’t believe in interacting with people I wouldn’t willingly associate with if we weren’t from the same lineage. Unfortunately, I’m exposed to these peeps during the holidays by consequence of wanting to see my immediate family. Blah! I don’t agree that family should come over friends at holiday time. Alas, society has molded people to think that they should, so friends retreat to their bloodlines in December.

          Regarding the person piece, I don’t necessarily mean one’s husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend. (By the way, I saw a promotion for Valentine’s Day yesterday. Really? Really? Really?! Christmas hasn’t even gone yet! Why must my single status be so harshly shoved in my face by consumerism? I do not need a reminder that my boyfriend-by-Valentine’s-Day goal is becoming more unrealistic by the day.) For my fellow singles out there, I mean your go-to – the friend that you value highly enough to spend your holidays with. My person was Olivia. Despite always being that boyfriendless chick in my family who does her own thing (very atypical of a girl of Italian descent), for the last eight Christmases, I’ve had a person.

          Of course, when we were younger, Olivia and I couldn’t celebrate Christmas Day together. Our families give our minor asses up to each other on Christmas? People, please. We were raised by Italians. They have a foolish family-first-no-matter-what mentality. The irony is laughable. Have you met an Italian family or had the supposed pleasure of being born into one? (With that note of sarcasm, it should be clarified that I actually love being of Italian descent. One word: food. What I do not love is the family politics that come with it.) They all hate each other! The most hilarious part? They don’t even know it! They deny it to avoid cognitive dissonance; because, as I explained: family first. Nevertheless, Olivia and I had each other. We’d have midnight Christmas calls to talk about the childishness we witnessed around the dinner table. #Italianfamilyholidays. (Oh my God, hashtags did not exist! #whatthefuckdidIuseforemphasisbeforehashtags?)

          As we got older, we gained control over our holidays. I was still made uncomfortable by the season. I still saw my extended family. I still hated the fake double kisses from people I hadn’t encountered since the Christmas prior. More so, I hated their questions about my relationships status. Oh, and worse than the relationship-status questions: the end of the relationship-status questions. My family gave up asking at some point. My singleness apparently having become a given, there was no need to inquire. (Oh God, can I skip Christmas Eve, please? Mom, Dad, and pretty sisters, I am only going for you!) At the end of the feel-like-shit fests, though, I had my best friend to celebrate with. Those were the real Christmases.

          This year, however, my best friend is lost. My person is missing. My plans for Christmas Day? Unknown. New Year’s Eve? Blank. While now almost certain that neither holiday will involve Olivia, I haven’t been able to bring myself to make other plans. I don’t want to hurt her nor myself by doing so. At the same time, I need to let go of what’s gone, because I’m deluding myself into thinking that we’ll revert back to being best friends by Christmas miracle. Sadly, not even Santa Claus can save us. Thus, the holidays shall continue to be absent from my own little world. It’s just easier that way. Denial is a wonderful coping mechanism. For those who also want to avoid the holidays, boycotting the mall, closing your ears to Christmas carols, and saving a tree are all highly effective tactics. Other than Christmas Eve at my parents’ house – the definition of deck the halls – and exchanging gifts, it will feel to me as though this year’s holiday season never came. Cheers to that!

Happiness Tip: If you can’t see it, it isn’t real.

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