How will you take back the holidaze and make them your own?

by | Nov 17, 2013 | Advice | 15 comments

camping trip for christmas anyone?

camping trip for christmas anyone?

This year, more than ever, I’m thinking about how to take back the holidays/ze and make sure they are pleasurable.

For many of us, whether we are single or coupled, the holidays can be an emotional trigger. The holidays have such high, idealized expectations of family or soulmate togetherness surrounding them that we can feel lonely and alone if we don’t have just the “right” way to celebrate. Then there is the “stress”: parties to attend, stuff to buy and cook.

Tradition can be wonderful, but I am also a big fan of throwing tradition out the window to create new traditions that feel alive and meaningful.

So my question for you, and I would love for you is, How will you make the holidaze your own this year? What will you do or create to make them quirkily yours–alone, with friends, or with famliy?

Let’s see what kind of conversation we can get going to inspire all of us. Let’s make this holiday season meaningful and not just a series of hoops to jump through by the time January 1 rolls around!

Don’t hit reply this time, share your answer as a comment on this post.

P.S. Don’t forget Tuesday is a holiday too because I’ll be doing the Girl Talk Chat on sex and quirkysensuality with Michele at 6 pm PT. This is a woman-only call and it’s going to be fun! To get the call in info be sure you are on my mailing list and you’ll get a reminder with the info Tuesday afternoon.


  1. barbara

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! I love the idea of a holiday motivated by gratitude.

    How’m I making it my own this year? By the end of September my family of origin couldn’t/wouldn’t develop a family plan. Rather than stick it out and possibly be disappointed by what I ended up with by doing the traditional celebrating with family (I have a small nest and could not host and make it my own), I made plans to go to Connecticut (I live in Florida) to be with my family of choice. I can’t wait to spend the day with my sister a friend and her partner!

    BTW my family of origin came up with same lame brunch idea. So glad I took care of myself!

  2. Judy

    Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday but, this year, I’m purposely spending it at home. My life has been so busy for the last two months that I’ve had little-to-no time for phone calls with friends on the West Coast. My day will begin with morning yoga, afternoon phone calls reconnecting with my family of choice, ending with a quiet evening with my kitty.

  3. Fiona

    This Christmas I will be volunteering at a homeless project before jetting off to a different country to see my boyfriend who no longer knows how he feels about ‘us’. So instead of moping around wondering what might or might not happen I decided to arrange to give something back to my community and I can’t wait to get involved with the project. I will make this Christmas time my own!

  4. sasha

    Awesome, loving reading these snapshots. My plans: The Wednesday night before Thanksgiving I am going to a “cuddle party” with a friend. This is a phenomenon where people get to experience non-sexual touch in a safe environment. I am curious and grateful to go! It’s research for my next book and also a fun thing to share with a good friend. I love Thanksgiving and this year I think I will spend the day alone soaking in gratitude making a chicken soup. I am celiac and going to a regular Thanksgiving dinner I don’t organize is a bit awkward because I can’t eat the food. Then I will join friends for dessert with a gluten-free pumpkin pie. I think this plan feels good. It could change, but I like it. Christmas I will spend with my family of origin in Rhode Island and we are thinking about ways to make it simpler and as stress-free as possible. 🙂

  5. Eugenia

    You know,I’m not sure that I like the holidays that much. I love the food, but not so much the whirwind of emotions and “forced family fun” as I call it sarcastically. I think holidays mean different things for all of us, so having to spend them in a way we don’t desire is pretty much a recipe for disaster.

    Every christmas eve I watch one of my favorite movies by myself, with a cup of hot chocolate or tea and snacks, and spend that time enjoying the movie and reminiscing about all the other years i’ve held the tradition (7 this year!).
    This holiday season I want to relax, do things I enjoy and not feel forced to wish everyone a happy holiday and get everyone a present just because I feel it’s what “should” be done.

    For New Year’s i’m going with my “framily” (friend family-read that term somewhere and loved it) to a nearby town where we’ve rented a house. it will be so much fun to start the new year off full of positive and fun people.

    also, i’ll attempt to make stuffing for the first time ever, wish me luck!

    • sasha

      Good luck!

  6. Lorelei

    This year, I’m fleeing to New Orleans for Thanksgiving with a friend. I love experiencing holidays with other families, I feel like an anthropologist! Being jewish, I’ve had lots of interesting Christmas experiences with other families, but this is a first for Thanksgiving.

    Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday, and I usually enjoy spending it with my family. However, this year, my step-sister is inviting her boyfriend, and I realized that I would be the only single person of my generation at the table. Usually this doesn’t bother me, but now that I’m almost 40, I felt a strong need for change. I know I’ll be back, but this felt right.

  7. Jennifer Russell

    My parents dies 5 years ago, one right after the other, so these past years have been very, very odd. I have decided that Thanksgiving (my least favorite holiday)will be spent with my remaining family and family friends. Christmastime, however, is one of my FAORITE times of year! I have been yearning to create my own traditions in my own space. I have a goal of getting a new apartment and getting all of my things our of storage (it’s been 5 years)and working on my nest. So, opening all of my boxes will be a lot like opening presents! Perhaps I will have a small gathering. Next year….definitely a party.

  8. Jenn "Quirkycreature" Lee

    My family of origin (which is really just my parents) usually just does the annual special dish of Dad making his baked chicken wings with a special marinade. I convinced him to make a big batch so I can also share with my new quirky creature man. I may try to put together a dinner with the 4 of us just so they can get to know him better.

    I’m spending Thanksgiving with the quirky creature man, whose family cooks and does an intimate dinner (no extended family invited). This is my first time doing holidays with them so that’ll be new. I might make pumpkin muffins to bring over (and also sharing that batch with people at work as well). I found a recipe that’s two ingredients, total. Love it.

    I’m not entirely sure of plans for Wintermas yet, but this season in general, I may start hosting small informal holiday dinners (my place is tiny and visitors are not encouraged by my landlords) in which I cook and make my guests be my guinea pigs. I’m still deciding. Perhaps a small game – something easy. And then board games!

  9. Jill

    Good luck, Eugenia! I wish I could be with you, Jennbear, but I always do! I didn’t know about cuddle parties, Sasha. I want to throw one right now!
    I’m spending the Thanksgiving break grading papers and ‘bonding’ with my dissertation, Maureen. My lovely friend, Allison, bought me a lasagna I can bake in my toaster oven, because she didn’t want me feeling unloved. <3 She needn't have worried. I have a stuffed squash from Trader Joe's.
    The latter end of the winter break is the ONLY time I get to see chosen family in Dayton and Yellow Springs, so I'll be paying some visits! (I probably won't be seeing my boyfriend, as he'll never be mentioned to my family.) My (semi)nuclear family enjoys traditions we invent far more than expected ones. My mum, my newly relocated brother and I will watch Eddie Izzard. Mum and I will have our annual Trivial Pursuit To The Death Competition. Note: Here, Trivial Pursuit refers to the board game, not my education. 🙂

  10. Paula White

    Hi Sasha,
    It’s Paula White. How are you? I am sorry it took me a moment to respond to you about your post regarding the holidays, but I wanted to take my time with this topic. As you will see, it is quite important to me. Also, please forgive any spelling, grammatical errors and length of this message, but I have a lot to say.
    All of life is about identifying and magnifying what you love, not just during the holidays. If you are in an unconventional situation during the holidays, then this is the time to do something that is special and meaningful for you.
    Let me explain. Last year, my parents went out of town for Christmas. I have a friend named Tanima who happens to be Muslim. We met in a creative writing class about 13 years ago. We still keep in contact. My other friend Kim does not have family in town.
    She said, “Neither one of you have anyone to be with during the holidays?!” She invited us to her home. She played Christmas music. She made Indian food for dinner. We watched the television show White Collar, the movie Frieda. We had a great time.
    Needless to say, she didn’t have to do this, but she did it. Personally, I think politicians worldwide can learn from our example. And let’s not forget the troops! I have had a number of people, both male and female, in my family who have been away from the family during the holidays!
    Anyway, it isn’t too much of a difference for healthcare workers. I have worked on holidays with families who have provided holiday dinner to me. When I had to work on holidays and I had family at home, I awakened very early, made dinner, took that dinner to work with me, then came home and ate more. I have talked with other healthcare workers who celebrate the holidays either the weekend before or the weekend after the holidays because they have to work during the day, evening or night shift of the day of the holidays.
    My work schedule is still being planned out, but it is looking like I will have to work during the holidays. I am in full support of doing what is meaningful for an individual when they are not doing what is conventional. I have had to do this myself.
    For instance, my Aunt Ernestine and my other friend Kim said they wanted to have a holiday party a couple weeks beforehand. Just so you know, my Aunt Ernestine and my friend Kim came to Las Vegas after my divorce and they helped me to put together a divorce party in Las Vegas, Nevada during Labor Day Weekend of 2006. I figured that people have parties to get married. Why not have a party to get divorced? Both events are milestones.
    We even had a cake. I wrote a personal essay about the experience. It was published last year in an anthology called The Woman I’ve Become: 37 Women Share Their Journey’s From Toxic Relationships to Personal Empowerment edited by Patricia La Pointe. When we went out to dinner, I made a “To Do List” with their help. Going to graduate school for creative writing was at the top of the “to do list.” Needless to say, I graduated already.
    They have always been fully supportive of my creativity. I just found this same list after a massive decluttering effort recently. I nearly cried tears of joy about my progress. I am grateful.
    Even people in both my fiber arts groups and in my writing groups have invited me over to their homes to be with their families for the holidays. I am planning a holiday party for my Aunt Ernestine, Tanima and Kim to come to one of my writing group holiday parties here:
    **~*Annual SinCC Holiday Luncheon *~**

    Saturday, December 14
    11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

    Greek Islands Restaurant
    200 South Halsted St.
    (SW corner of Adams & Halsted)
    Chicago, IL

    Special Program: … in conversation with authors


    Tasha Alexander is the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Emily series and the novel Elizabeth: The Golden Age. She attended the University of Notre Dame, where she studied English and Medieval History. Her work has been nominated for numerous awards and has been translated into more than a dozen languages.

    Andrew Grant is the author of three novels, Even, Die Twice, and More Harm Than Good all featuring David Trevellyan, a royal Naval intelligence officer. Andrew was born in Birmingham, England and went to school in St Albans and later attended the University of Sheffield where he studied English Literature and Drama. He and his wife, novelist Tasha Alexander divide their time between Chicago and the UK.

    MENU: A tempting variety of traditional Greek dishes served family-style includes appetizers, 4 entrees (incl. vegetarian), Greek salad, house wines, soft drinks, coffee/tea, and luscious desserts.

    I love my writing life and I want to share my experience with them, especially because they love to read. I understand the media doesn’t show all the ways that people celebrate the holidays, especially unconventional ways, but I think they should. Then the people who are not in a conventional situation wouldn’t feel as if they are missing out on having what is conventional.
    And just so you know, I had “conventional” holidays when I was married. I can tell you I much prefer the holidays I celebrate now and the support I receive now. I have progressed so much since the time I decided I wanted to have a creatively active life instead of being in a relationship that does not meet my needs.
    Did you know Maya Angelo has a new book out? I saw this interview:
    I like what Maya Angelo said. Love heals things. It is true. Love, from whomever and wherever you find it, does heal things. Love for yourself. Love for what you have already. I also like what she said about “ruining three lives just to follow with convention.”
    Michelle Weldon is a Northwestern University professor who wrote a memoir called I Closed My Eyes which was about her previous abusive relationship. She came out to protect herself and her children. She was also on Oprah before the show went off the air.
    After her divorce, Michelle noticed how she was overlooked by society because she was a single mother raising her children on her own. Eventually, Michelle wrote an article about how society overlooks nonconventional family units.
    Even Melodie Beattie said divorce is “a loving act.” By doing what is unconventional, whatever that is that applies to your own personal situation, you might be performing a very loving act for everyone involved.
    For me, this is what the holidays, and life after the holidays, is about. I always identify and magnify what I love. I am doing what is special and meaningful for me, even if it is unconventional.
    I have a wonderful career. I have wonderful family and friends. I have a wonderful creative life. I have wonderful health. Please believe me when I tell you there are people who are not in good health, but I am in a wonderful position where I can be of assistance to them. And when I am of assistance, especially during the holidays, I am paid the money I need for my creative pursuits, one of the greatest pleasures of my life.
    No, I do not have what is considered conventional, but that is not the point. I am able to appreciate what is wonderful, what I love. I have a wonderful life. I am grateful.
    I hope this answers your question.

    • sasha

      I love what you wrote here Paula: “All of life is about identifying and magnifying what you love, not just during the holidays. If you are in an unconventional situation during the holidays, then this is the time to do something that is special and meaningful for you.”

  11. Paula White

    Hi Sasha,

    It’s Paula White. How are you? I did some volunteer work last night. It was amazing! I highly recommend it for anyone who is single and encountering any type of holiday anxiety.


    Paula White

  12. Paula White

    Hi Sasha!

    I had a blast yesterday! I went to the holiday party of my writer’s group with close family and friends in attendance. I even won to books in a grab bag! Then I went to another friend’s holiday party! Finally, we all sat down and watched a five hour marathon of our favorite television show with soda and popcorn!

    I have to work Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day, but I am at peace with it because I did exactly what I wanted beforehand. I highly recommend taking the holidays back and making them your own. This is a lot of fun!


    Paula White

    • sasha

      How cool Paula! I love it!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hi! I’m Sasha

Executive and Life Coach on a mission to help women connect with their bodies to pursue their truest desires in the bedroom and the world.

Author of Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics (HarperCollins) + To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us (Simon & Schuster).

At work on a memoir called Wet, about adventures in healing through sensuality.

Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter (my primary way of staying in connection with readers and clients).

Follow me on Instagram where I share snapshots of my own turned-on life with advice on how to live your own.