You can’t get out of these. You’ve already tried. You’ve bailed before, Haley’s birthday, Tom and Peter’s housewarming, your grandma’s 90th, so you’re stuck. You’ve ranted and raved to your stuffed animal collection (family), drank it off but stopped after two glasses of wine (wuss), and passed out in a fear-induced stupor (typical).
In the morning, the headache reminds you of your commitment to “party” and “be social”. You could “lean into it” as your dad says, or you could panic until the dreaded day of the parties arrives. You’ve got three this year. THREE. Instead of hyperventilating, like you usually do, you grab your rainbow + unicorn-themed sketchpad and decide to brainstorm some ideas to get you through the holiday season.
AT THE PARTY:
Closing your eyes, you visualize all the people. Oh, my god, oh, my, god, oh my god. STOP! Focus on the Christmas tree. Breathe. Pretty. You start drawing a Christmas tree…
The Christmas Tree – Pretend you’re a Christmas tree – ??? Wear dark green from head to toe. Admire the ornaments, talk to the ornaments, give the ornaments names. Look for your name in the gift tags, count how many gifts each person has received, rearrange presents.
Look busy in the kitchen – Maybe you could arrange a cheese platter very carefully. Or bring uncut vegetables and dip to make, so you have an excuse to be there, while you act like you haven’t cut veggies or arranged cheese in your entire life.
Explore the house or apartment – After having been kicked out of the kitchen, you could take a long stroll around the garden. No, scratch that, smokers hang outside, and you know how much smoke makes you sneeze.
Volunteer to go get extra ice or chips – After the studio apartment or office party tour, try to get someone’s attention, or just leave (???) saying you forgot some corn chips? Would anyone notice if you never came back? Probably not. You stab the sketchpad with your pen.
Wear a conversation piece – You picture some of your favorite cat sweaters and wonder if they might help spark conversations. Could the right sweater ease any awkwardness you’d encounter when humans come up to converse?
“Oh, hey, Amanda. How are you?”
You point to your sweater.
“Ah yeah, I noticed that. Did you make it? Is that a giraffe or llama or…?”
You roll your eyes, “it’s a cat.”
Stock up on cat photos on your phone – Could be another way to fill the void. You have some pretty fabulous ones of Ginger and Mr. Boots wearing Halloween costumes (2015-2019). Epic! You see everyone around you laughing as you swipe to reveal the GOT’s cast of characters ala cat fashion show.
Read your latest poetry or bone up on knock-knock jokes – You remember reading about how important sharing is for making friends and meaningful connections. You’ve always wanted to go to open mic night, but maybe at the company Christmas party, you could try out a few poems among semi-familiar faces. For example, The Joker is My Soulmate could be read before secret Santas are revealed. You tap your pen against your chin and ponder the possibilities.
Hide in the closet and make sex noises anytime you think you hear someone outside the door – This would be for desperate measures like that time you went to Christina’s housewarming. And after obligatory introductions, everyone continued to ignore you. The sting of rejection is still something that makes you feel rotten to this day. It was rude to leave so soon, you had no excuses, and Chris was in eyesight. You practice making sexy noises until Mr. Boots tries to claw your face.
Make yourself sick, so you have a genuine excuse not to go out. Yes.
Merry Christmas everybody!