This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.
Last year was the first time that I spent Christmas alone.
I had just recently moved across Canada to start a new job in Toronto and I just couldn’t, in a financial sense, make a trip home to Alberta. So, there I was in the big city, where I knew practically no one during the few days a year that Western society trains you to think if you’re not with your family you’re a failure.
It. Did. Not. Go. Well.
I, like everyone else in modern-day media, decided that I would turn my misery into content. So, I scoped out all the places in Toronto that were having an “orphan's Christmas” and went out bar-hopping.
I was so lonely I started live-tweeting what I was doing, which got promptly out of hand. It all started at my apartment I was subletting with a bottle of wine while playing Rumors on repeat. I made my way to a nice bar, alone, made friends with a bartender, spilled a massive drink, paid up, and walked out with my tail between my legs. From there, the night just got worse and I ended up at a terrible sports club hosting Christmas Eve karaoke. I did two shots of Jameson, promptly vomited, and sang “Home for a Rest,” a song about missing home by a band from western Canada because my subconscious isn’t that subtle. After the song, I told the audience to “fuck off” and walked out on my bill.
I was a bad person that night, don’t be a bad person.
[See above for my version of a Christmas song]
So yeah, don’t follow my lead—instead follow these tips I crowdsourced from people in the VICE Canada office who are more well-adjusted than I am.
Tip one: Don’t live tweet your desperation.
Tip two: For the love of god stock up on your favorite food, liquor, and, if you blaze, weed. You will learn very quickly that if you are lazy and wait until a major holiday to get your groceries, you will be shit out of luck. As my editor told me recently, “I walked up and down a major street looking for someone to feed me and no one would.” Don’t be my editor. Don’t be sad.
Secondly, most liquor stores won’t be open and you’ll most likely to have to trek across town for your elixir and your dealer—forget about him for the time being—he has a family that loves him. If you don’t stock up on food, find the nearest Americanized Asian chain restaurant near you. It’s a cliché but, honestly, if anything is open on Christmas it will be them—hopefully, they sell booze.
On the flip side of being isolated over the holidays, you’re also left the fuck alone. That means nobody is there to judge you. Do whatever your heart tells you to do. Eat 20 packs of chips, have take out every night, eat buffalo wings in your bed as you binge watch King of the Hill.
Fuck it, you’re free.
Tip three: Podcasts. As one co-worker told me ”why be alone with your thoughts when you can be alone with someone else's?”
Tip four: Get yourself a new video game or something to binge watch. This will allow you to forget about being alone on the holidays and instead be involved in the much happier world of Mordor or, like, Far Cry or something.
If you’re more highfalutin than most, you can catch up on some reading. Finish that book you haven’t yet started but telling everyone you’re reading. Or, if you’re so inclined, read some long- form journalism. May I suggest My Family’s Slave published in the Atlantic, the most read story of the year—read it A) because it’s very good and B) so you can tell people you did.
Tip five: If you’re one of those people that needs to be busy, get yourself a project for the holidays. You’re going to have a little bit of isolation and time here, as all your friends are enjoying their loved ones so use it to be productive. Make a birdhouse, learn how to play the banjo, write that fan-fic—whatever floats your boat.
Tip six: Some bars will be open that night but for the love of god don’t go bar-hopping. Few things are more depressing than Christmas bar people, however, if you must go out, take a look at what will be open—odds are if a bar is open that night they’ll be advertising that shit—and pick one that you think suits you.
Tip seven: Did you know that most movie theaters are open on Christmas? Yeah, I didn’t either until I was told—let us all have a moment of silence for the selfless people who are working over the holidays. Getting out of the house is good for most of us, so go check out a film that you’ve wanted to see.
Tip eight: I don't know, edit some Wikipedia pages or something. The page on the 1974 Philadelphia Flyers is really missing some key details about Dave Schultz and the write-up for your hometown still doesn’t have you listed as a notable person… maybe it’s time to change that.
Tip nine: Call your family. Yeah, uh… this one should have come earlier, right?
Tip nine point five: Swipe right on everyone on Tinder. Tell everyone you’re a doctor or that you’re double jointed. Is that a turn on for some people? Maybe! But you won’t know until you try.
Tip ten: Let the depression swallow you. Look, you’re not going to win this battle, you might as well gaze directly into the void and let the darkness swallow you.
We all float down here.
Follow Mack Lamoureux on Twitter.