The 21 Phases of Spending the Holidays Home Alone, Because Pizza and TV Are Our Real Family

So your plans to spend the holidays in a tropical paradise fell through. Or maybe you gave it some thought, and decided you didn't want to spend another Christmas dinner listening to your Aunt Claire sip her fifth glass of pinot and tell you that you tattoos make you look like a hooker. Or maybe you were just unlucky enough to be scheduled to work on Christmas. Either way, captain, you're spending the holidays solo.A lot of people freak out over the idea of spending the holidays alone — after all, they're supposedly about getting together with your family to eat a ham or something (I don't know, I never really paid any attention) — but there are actual many pluses to doing Christmas break all by your lonesome.

Like, if you live with an s.o. or roommates, you have a few days to live like the queen that you've always felt you are, discarding candy wrappers where they fall and watching Say Yes to the Dress while wearing nothing but soiled sweatpants that say "PARTY" across the butt. All your area hotspots are less crowded, so you can finally visit that cool restaurant without waiting for three hours, or hit up the natural history museum without getting punched in the vagina by a rambunctious three-year-old. All in all, it's kinda cool.Of course, it's not all cool — the Christmas season is marketed to us so heavily as a time to hang with family and friends, that if you do the holidays alone, you are virtually guaranteed to burst into tears during at least one McDonald's commercial where a dad buys a Happy Meal for a reindeer or something. It's an emotional rollercoaster, and you'll need a guide to get you through it. As a veteran of many solo Christmases, I'd like to take your hand, and guide you through the 21 phases of spending the holidays alone.

Phase 1: This Is the Best Idea Ever

This is AMAZING. Why don't you do this every year? You get to eat what you want to eat, watch what you want to watch, and fart without trying to blame it on the dog or a flatulent ghost. You can troop around in your underpants, and shower when you feel like it, not when "the man" says you have to. This is your greatest idea in a lifetime full of great ideas (including that time ten years ago when you came up with the idea for Hulu but then forgot to write it down).

Phase 2: Wait, Maybe This Was a Terrible Idea

Okay, wearing the same t-shirt for 48 hours straight was pretty cool at first, but now you are feeling kind of ... lonely? Should you call your friends and tell them you miss them? No, they're probably too busy with their families. Should you go to CVS and ask the pharmacist some unnecessary questions about drug interactions? It's probably lonely, being a pharmacist on Christmas Eve. If you change your shirt now, you could be there in 15 minutes.

Phase 3: Nope, Staying Home Alone Was a Great Idea

Oh, screw changing your shirt. You're not lonely! You're just unused to having this much wild, unencumbered freedom! You are dropping your towels on the floor and not washing your dishes and leaving the TV on when you are not in the room and there is F*&K ALL anyone can do about it. You are drinking beer in the shower! You are watching The Wire, even though you and your boo agreed to watch it together!

Phase 4: Time For An Extreme Home Makeover

You've always had that dresser against that wall! What if you put it against ... the other wall? And then you put your bed next to that, and then the whole other side of your room could become ... a conversation nook! Which you'll need, because now that you are a wild and free bohemian who lives by no man's law, you're probably going to start hosting ultra-chic salon/dinner parties with the brightest minds of our era.

Phase 5: Forgotting How to Interact with Other Humans

You run into your landlady on the sidewalk, and spend three minutes trying to remember the word "boot." The barista asks you how you are doing, and you start telling him about your latest running injury. You have forgotten how to interact with actual, in-person people. Probably best to spend as much time as possible indoors, on the Internet, where you can let Scandal GIFs do most of the talking for you.

Phase 6: Pizza!

UGH, WHY WASN'T THIS PHASE 1? Maybe you should just order two right now, so you can already have a second one ready for tomorrow. You may be a smidge lonely, but at least now you can finally drop this "I think massaged kale tastes delicious" bullshit for a few days.

Phase 7: Solo Dance Party!

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You are modern woman, and you are free! Time to literally dance like no one is watching!

Phase 8: Hurting Yourself During Solo Dance Party

Not thirty seconds into that dance party, and you got your foot stuck in your trash can and then whacked into the fridge. Oh god, what if you die here while everyone's away? And none of your friends will notice, because they're all busy hanging out with their families, repressing their anger and watching Elf. If you die here alone, anti-feminist bloggers are going to be all over this story, and try to use you as a cautionary tale to scare women into getting married to the first guy they french.

Phase 9: God, Christmas Music is Melancholy, Isn't It?

Oh God, the theme song from Home Alone is sad. And so "Last Christmas." And so is "I'll Be Home for Christmas." How did this holiday transform from some religious thing into basically a secular celebration of the agony of loneliness? I'll text some people. Oh, of course, they're not texting me back. They're probably ice-skating with their families and eating figgy pudding, LIKE A BUNCH OF ASSHOLES.

Phase 10: TV! TV! TV! TV! TV! TV!

Ah, TV, you're my real friend. The friend who will never leave me. The friend who will never hurt me. The friend who will never judge me for watching Supernatural for nine hours straight.

Phase 11: Too ... Much ... Pizza

It turns out there is such thing as too much pizza. But why! Why would you turn against me, pizza?! I thought you were the only one I could count on [besides TV]!

Phase 12: Time to Get Judged for Being Out Alone

Woman cannot live on pizza and CW alone ... you gotta get out of the house. Maybe grab a nice dinner at a restaurant that usually has a huge wait. Wait, did that waitress really give you the stink eye when you said "table for one"? Oh my god, did that family next to you really invite you to eat with them so that you "wouldn't feel lonely"?

Phase 13: Retreat! Retreat!

Well, going out into the real world was a mistake. Time to go back to the Internet, where no one judges you for being a pizza-eating loner who forgot that people usually wear bras in public.

Phase 14: Wait, What Was That Noise?

Not trying to jump to conclusions here, but it is probably the little girl from The Ring. And all just because you thought it would be cool to spend the holidays alone! Maybe if you act like you are a pile of blankets, she won't notice you.

Phase 15: Self-Pity Dance Party!

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Put a shawl and/or fluffy towel around your shoulders and do some depressed Stevie Nicks dancing around your apartment. Why, oh why, didn't you say yes to anyone's mom's offer of awkwardly spending the holidays with them?

Phase 16: Hanging Out with Some People You Barely Know

Your friends who were leaving town put you in touch with their friends who are also staying home for the holidays. You have never met these people before, but due to a righteous combo of holiday spirit, booze, and loneliness, you guys will now become the best friends ever for the next nine hours.

Phase 17: Karaoke!

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You and your new best friends are karaoke MASTERS! You are the queen of karaoke and everyone loves you and you're a star and you definitely didn't trip over the side of stage when you were walking off.

Phase 18: Hangover!

Why is this your life? Why is everyone else in America cuddling their folks like they're in some ABC Family movie, and you are here, picking dried appletini barf out of your hair and trying to bribe your local deli into delivering a sandwich and a bottle of Pepto-Bismol. Isn't this the plot of It's a Wonderful Life?

Phase 19: Acceptance

You know what? After all that angst, this is actually nice. Instead of fighting with your parents or being weirded out by your aunt's insistence that you read her Glenn Beck fan fiction, you are getting to do the holidays your way.

Maybe, for once, you'll use this Christmas break as an excuse to really relax, instead of just try to live up to everyone else's ideas about what an ideal holiday should look like.

Phase 20: Retro Dance Party!

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If you really get to work on this one, you can definitely learn this whole dance by New Year's Eve.

Phase 21: Thank Christ My Friends Are Back

Oh, thank frickin' God. Dude, you would not believe how weird sh*t got while you were away.

Images: Hughes Entertainment/ 20th Century Fox, Giphy (22)