Have you ever wondered what it would be like to skip all the obligatory family gatherings and parties associated with the fall and winter holidays? This is your year to NOT shine! Know that you are not alone in your wish to be left alone through the end of the year--and that this is the chance of a lifetime to try out opting out. The United States is under siege by a mishandled, uncontrolled pandemic, which is a perfect excuse--because it's actually a very good reason--to pull in the welcome mat and lock yourself inside.
Don't feel like celebrating? Then don't! Shut all your lights off on Halloween and bury yourself in a sleeping bag shaped like a shark. Eat a bag of candy and watch the scariest movie you can find, to slash through the numb despair of 2020 and feel alive again for the length of a jump scare. I recommend making sure your viewing experience is ad-free, even if you have to resort to dusting off the old DVD player and rifling through the selections that various stoner and college bro roommates left in your basement over the decades.
Keep doing that through Election Day and as needed over the next several weeks, while America tears itself apart over internet conspiracies and social media conversations about how to have a civil discussion with relatives and childhood friends who have adopted neo-Nazi ideologies. Hey, there are some "very fine people" who just want to be heard out. You should give them your full attention as they copy and paste essay-length psychotic screeds into your Facebook comments, and then make the effort to dress up smartly and travel for hours so that you can provide them with compassionate eye contact while they fulfill their deep, personal need to shower you with hateful rhetoric and saliva droplets.
How about this: Bake an entire buffet of pies for yourself on Thanksgiving, and nothing else. Eat them in bed, one bite after another, without having to pause repeatedly and say "uh-huh" respectfully to polite, well-reasoned attacks upon your personhood. Have pie for breakfast in blissful solitude every day thereafter until the pie is gone.
Save all the money you would have spent on travel to places you don't want to go, gifts of things nobody wants, decorations for parties you don't want to host, and new clothes that you don't really want to wear. Hang onto that cash so that you can, you know, survive the next of whatever unceasing disasters lay in store for us through the end of this godforsaken year. Spend a little bit of it on books for yourself. Also warm socks. No matter what happens next, you'll need warm socks.
If you miss your extended family and hometown friends from middle school, that's okay too. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. And, morbid as it is to say, it's true: The more who stay home through the holidays this year, the more who will be around next year. Sometimes the greatest kindness is to keep distant, for yourself and for others too.
Happy holiday from the holidays!