Welcome to Home for the Holigays! Although it’s been said time and time again — the holiday season looks quite a bit different in 2020. Many of us will be spending these special days solo, in the cozy comforts of our homes. In this series, a few of our writers welcome you to spend the day with them virtually, and live-tweet one of their favorite holiday films, with the hopes and wishes that it will make us all feel a little less alone.
Home Alone for the Holigays
As a Jewish person, “The Winter Holidays” have never really affected me the same way I’ve seen them affect non-Jewish people in my life. I like Hanukkah just fine, but as Jews try to express every year, it’s not really one of our major holidays. To be honest, my birthday is December 21 / Winter Solstice, and that’s the most exciting part of the holiday season for me!
Because of this, the specificity of the pandemic doesn’t really change how I feel about the holidays because it doesn’t make a material difference to my plans. In a typical year, I’m way more likely to go home for Yom Kippur (September or October) or even for my mom’s birthday (November) than I am to travel “for Christmas” (though of course I have not done any travel this year and I will continue to stay put!). I like this arrangement because it’s very chill! I dated someone for a few years who had a very stressful relationship to the winter holiday season, and after we broke up I promised myself to never again get roped into the high-stress nature of this time of year. And I haven’t!
I like to relax on December 24 and 25 while everyone else “does Christmas.” My birthday has just happened. There is no religious element to the day for me. There is no family custom, no pressure to buy gifts or make specific foods or hang with specific relatives I dislike. It’s just a day when no PR people send out emails (bless!). It’s a day when lots of people post photos of cookies and trees and pets in sweaters (send me photos of your pet in a sweater!). It’s a day to wear pajamas and move slowly and maybe enjoy the snow, if there is any snow. It’s not a big deal. It’s wonderful.
I hope y’all are able to grant yourself some relaxation this ~winter holigay season~ whether it’s on Solstice, Christmas, or just a random Tuesday. You deserve it — we all do. Merry merry, babes. Love you.
Grease 2 is a holigay classic and also my gay root. Of course it’s a Christmas movie, Michelle Pfeiffer is wearing a Christmas tree outfit in the third act IS SHE NOT?! You’re welcome.
If you haven’t seen it, guess what? I’ll be watching and live-tweeting it tonight Friday, December 18 2020 from the Autostraddle Twitter at 8 PM EST! It’s available to stream free on Amazon Prime (Ugh, Sorry).
How a Jewitch spends Christmas solo
In order to have the most relaxing, decadent, sweet solo day, I like to be surrounded by lots of beautiful and cozy things. That includes candles, books, art by my friends, a pink Kitchenaid, and my floral print wallpaper. (Bonus points for the things I can’t link to specific online stores: the plants my housemate gifted me, the floor to ceiling bookshelf my other housemate built me, the warmth inside my heart when I think about how fucking grateful I am to live with such generous humans. SORRY EVEN CAPRICORNS GET SAPPY SOMETIMES.)
Honestly, my goals for Christmas Eve and Christmas are just about being cozy, taking care of myself, and having a nice time — the opposite of family stress or strict tradition. I’ve “celebrated” the past couple of years entirely alone and loved it, so I’m writing this as if I’ll be entirely alone, although to be transparent my housemates will likely also be around and it’s possible my boyfriend will join me for part of the day. But in the spirit of showing off what an entirely solo Christmas looks like for this Jewitch, here’s the plan!
Midnight – 10am I’m staying up as late as I want because I’m a night owl and when I have nothing to do the next day, I like reading and writing and masturbating until like, 4 am. Then I’m sleeping in until 10 am at least because why not!
10am – 12pm Elaborate brunch! Breakfast is the best meal, you can’t change my mind. This day calls for a seriously deluxe one: mimosas, home-baked challah, soft eggs with runny yolks, lox, possibly even some salmon roe if I’m feeling fancy! Fresh herbs, hollandaise sauce, and some vanilla nectarine preserves I put up this summer — arguably the best thing I have ever made — will round out the meal.
12pm – 5pm Relax. I am notoriously terrible at actually taking a day off — I’m always just writing a little bit for work, just catching up on some emails, just editing one last essay, just, just, just, just. Not today. Today we are relaxing! Reading a book. Sitting by the fire staring into the flames. Taking a nap. Journaling. Masturbating. Doing a manicure. Talking on the phone. Whatever I want that truly isn’t work!
5pm – 7pm Grease 2. Enough said.
7pm – 9pm Dinner. Cooking is something that has historically always soothed me, but during the pandemic that hasn’t exactly held true. Sometimes it’s soothing and vital, sometimes it’s my greatest challenge and scariest enemy. I’d like to set up tonight’s cooking to be of the soothing, vital variety, so I’m picking what in my opinion is a perfect meal: The Cheese Plate. Is this technically a meal? Are we technically cooking? Who cares. It’s the second most delicious thing in the world, right after breakfast.
9pm – Midnight Continue relaxing. Notes to self: Do not zone out on Twitter or Instagram. Finish reading your book. Sext your boyfriend. Take a long bath. Do whatever you want, you’re a Jew celebrating Christmas babe! You make the rules.
A Holigay Cheeseplate
Babes, get ready. We’re gonna make a cheese plate. The beauty of a cheese plate is it can be whatever you want it to be!
A cheese plate calls less for a recipe and more for a specific energy. Are you hoping to get this done quickly and efficiently? Oftentimes for lunch, I’ll make myself a quick cheese plate: sliced gouda, sliced radishes, olives, almonds, salami, DONE. Nestle them all on a plate together and drizzle the radishes with some olive oil and flaky salt and you’re ready to go. Other times, I’ve been known to spend a full hour prepping a cheese plate, making sure there’s not a single inch of empty space on the entire huge cutting board. I make intricate designs with the meat, I shape each apple slice just so, I include 4 different homemade jams each in their own tiny pot with a tiny spoon to match. Obviously, my Christmas Cheese Plate will be decadent and intricate, but all you really need to make a perfectly lovely cheese plate is 1+ ingredient from this suggested list, a flat surface to put your ingredients on, and enthusiasm in your heart to consume a large amount of cheese in one sitting. If you need more inspiration, we’ve talked about cheese plates on Autostraddle quite a lot over the years!
Though the pandemic has honestly really made me so sad all year, and the sadness is getting worse not better as time marches on, I’m hoping this Christmas can still feel relaxing, easy, and peaceful for me. I hope that for you, too.