The Edition: No. 202

The whole point of getting things done is knowing what to leave undone. // Oswald Chambers

+ Should you be working from a calendar instead of a to-do list?

+ This WAYF knot-waist sweater is so cute with jeans, a pencil skirt, or leggings.

+ How to find fitness motivation after a train wreck year.

+ Having a virtual date? Try these dramatic pave ones and cool drop studs.

+ Is American motherhood a multi-level marketing scheme?

+ If you’re looking for faux-leather leggings, these Commandos are the best.

+ Six ways to navigate loneliness this holiday season.

+ Deep discounts at Nordstrom Rack.  This $45 BlankNYC moto-jacket caught my eye.

+ Need a last minute gift? I recommend Yeti mugs or L’Occitane Hand Creams.

Long Reads. Read about the greatest rare book heist in history in the Guardian.

I’ll be spending this Christmas alone.  Kyle will be traveling to see his family, and due to work commitments and concerns about the pandemic, I will not be joining him.  I won’t be traveling to my parents.  So it’s a solo Christmas for me, Avery and Stella.

Holidays in 2020, amirite?

I’m trying to come up with something I can do that feels festive, but I haven’t thought of anything.  I’m moving three days later, so cookies and decorating seem like a poor idea.  I’ll probably just watch movies and work.  Exciting, I know.

Do you have any ideas for solo holiday plans?  Or plans for isolation with just your immediate family?  Leave them in the comments.



  1. ariane buffum says:

    ive done the solo holiday. its no fun when you log on social media and see everyone with family, My advice is play fun music, have food you look forward to and treats and maybe a facemask. dont log in to social media

    December 16, 2020/Reply
    • Alem says:

      This is solid advice. Maybe you can schedule a zoom with his family if that’s not too hard. I would also recommend sleeping in and a luxurious bath.

      December 17, 2020/Reply
  2. DC says:

    I’m also doing a solo Christmas this year. I’m ordering nice takeout, I’m going to watch claymation Christmas movies, and I’m planning to take myself on a nice long walk in the city to see all the lights. On Christmas Eve my extended family always does poppers and we wear crowns through dinner, so we’ll exchange those photos in our family group chat.

    On Christmas Day, my dad, sister, and I are playing a Christmas carols board game via Zoom and doing a champagne toast. I have plans to go for a run that day to try and stave off some of the sadness.

    December 16, 2020/Reply
  3. Shannon says:

    Interesting article about motherhood. I am beginning to come around to the idea of a universal basic income, but I can’t imagine the Republican party getting on board.

    December 16, 2020/Reply
  4. Nicole says:

    I spent Thanksgiving solo, and honestly, it was a gift. I had a stash of good food and spent the day reading, napping and started knitting again. And other than calls to family, I stayed off my phone and the internet. I know I sound like I’m ready for a nursing home, but I get so little down time that it felt like a spa day to me.

    December 16, 2020/Reply
  5. Sarah says:

    My husband and I have gotten really into puzzles in the last few months (both together and separately). We leave one out all the time; sometimes we each work on it for 5 minutes while waiting for something else to happen and sometimes we spend 45 minutes in the evenings doing them together. I’ve been surprised by how much fun I’ve had with them, especially in the evenings when it’s dark and cold. When doing them alone, I often turn on a podcast.

    December 16, 2020/Reply
  6. Em says:

    So, I’ve spent a lot of Christmas’ alone, and dare I say, I *love* the day and find it so relaxing?!? It is one of the few days in the US where everyone is generally logged off and everything is closed, so there is no pressure to do anything, even to go to the gym. My pattern that I got into was: making myself a really great breakfast (pancakes, bacon, the whole shebang), having a lazy day in comfy pants on my couch watching movies with my dog (this felt more luxurious pre-pandemic), opening the wine early – a really great cab, my favorite, and usually making myself a really nice dinner. Hope there are some ideas in there that help – I’m sure it can be rough if it’s not something you were looking for or used to.

    December 16, 2020/Reply
  7. SLG says:

    Rachel Wilkerson Miller had a good article on how to have Christmas alone:

    I’m sorry yours has to be alone. What a strange year.

    December 16, 2020/Reply
  8. Abigail says:

    My sister and I (roommates!) are doing Christmas just us. We are going to sleep in, enjoy mulled wine and holiday music, then binge watch Netflix’s newest period drama – Bridgerton.

    December 16, 2020/Reply
    • JBINDC says:

      I am so looking forward to Bridgerton, a Shonda period drama – what could be better??

      December 17, 2020/Reply
    • Liz says:

      YES. I can’t wait for Bridgerton. Normally I’d be annoyed they released it on Christmas Day and I couldn’t watch, but this year since I’m not traveling, I’m going to wear my fancy pjs and watch it.

      December 17, 2020/Reply
  9. Cindi says:

    I’m grateful to hear from others who are spending Christmas alone. Plan to FaceTime with my daughters while we open our presents. I’m going to have good takeout, take a walk with my sweet dog, read and binge watch TV. Love the recommendation for Bridgerton.

    December 16, 2020/Reply
  10. Priya says:

    Alone Christmas could be really nice! Imagine a chance to have a whole day of quiet! A nice cup of coffee in the morning, all day to read or watch tv, eat something delicious but simple, go for a walk if the weather permits, and that’s it! FaceTime family briefly but mostly spend the day quietly. It sounds wonderful to me.

    December 16, 2020/Reply
  11. EmiLy says:

    Would love to see a style post around faux leather leggings. I finally broke down and bought a pair during these deep pandemic disocunts and now I don’t know what to do with them.

    December 17, 2020/Reply
    • Katie says:

      I second this! I finally broke down and purchased the spanx faux leather leggings, which i love… however i struggle with outfit options—specifically shoes/boots to wear.

      December 17, 2020/Reply
    • Anna says:


      I have a pair coming for Christmas, and could use some outfit ideas!

      December 18, 2020/Reply
  12. Cheryl says:

    I was almost 30 before I married, in a long-distance relationship, so many holidays were spent either solo or sometimes with close friends. You asked for suggestions:
    1. Can you get together safely with a close friend or two–everyone pitches in and makes dinner? Netflix, puzzles, card games, etc. afterward? A Christmas Eve/Day adult slumber party for two or three?
    2. The suggestion from someone else above, if you are truly solo, is preparing a special breakfast/brunch that day for yourself–what you like instead of accommodating someone else’s tastes. Pick a theme, do your favorites, go all out.
    3. One year (it was long ago) I read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy snuggled under a comforter, fueled by popcorn and cocoa, then really great chili and cold beer.
    4. Christmas is a Christian holiday. Jesus is the reason for the season. One year, recovering from a painfully bad breakup, I went to three different Christmas services. I chose three different denominations, I attended services from Christmas Eve throughout almost the whole Christmas morning. Not only did it ‘fill up the time’ but I remember being truly uplifted and grateful with the spiritual realization of the foundation for Christmas. And the music is really nice.
    God bless you and Kyle throughout this season. I look forward to your write-ups throughout the MT legislative session. It will be different.

    December 17, 2020/Reply
    • Amanda says:

      Love the idea of picking and choosing some different denominations’ virtual celebrations!

      December 18, 2020/Reply
  13. Cincinnance says:

    Abra, I am sorry about your holiday situation! When I have the house to myself I like to do the things that I can’t do (or am embarrassed to do) when others are around. Personal grooming, closet/pantry organizing, etc. Since you are moving guessing the organizing won’t work. You could sort through stuff as you pack and be able to get rid of stuff with no questions asked. Also, one holiday thing you can do is take a walk or drive around your neighborhood to look at the holiday lights. Maybe put some hot chocolate in your Yeti and wear a cute pom pom hat, take a selfie by the best house. It’s a family tradition for us (well, not the selfie part).

    December 17, 2020/Reply
  14. SS says:

    A lot of people will be spending the holidays alone this year, so I suspect you’ll have a lot of people providing tips! When you have SAD (which I think you’ve said you do) it can be tough, no matter how many good books or self-care items you have lined up.

    In our family, there’s been a lot of debate about acceptable risk and keeping things within our pod. I’ve passed up work travel (international disaster deployments) because it’s not safe for my extended family, who are the only people we see maskless, though still distanced. If you are ok with sharing, how did you and Kyle come to the decision that it was alright for him to travel? Obviously, we can’t tell our partners what to do, but there’s been a lot of tension in couples this year because each person’s individual risk assessment is different.

    December 17, 2020/Reply
  15. Jessica says:

    During one Christmas holiday alone, I spent time getting my financial house in order. William Bernstein’s super short “If You Can” is free and is where I started. I still look back and think back on that time spent during holiday as positive and a gift to my future self!

    December 17, 2020/Reply
  16. Erica says:

    A couple years ago I did Thanksgiving alone because my husband had to work (ER) and I wasn’t in a good spot to travel without him. I made myself a nice breakfast, had some mimosas, and started a new TV series. It was so relaxing and lowkey, and I have to say that Thanksgiving is truly one of my favorite holidays with my family, so that’s a big deal! That was pre-2020, so hopefully you will find the same lowkey aspect relaxing now after a year of lowkey holidays/occasions.

    December 17, 2020/Reply
  17. Cat says:

    Great post, as always. Christmas alone is different, but fortunately you have your pets. Main thing is, you are making decisions for the long term health of yourself, your family and your community. My solution, 1. Reframe: try to think of it as a day off rather than holidays and a mini vacation for you (sleep in, stay up late without implied judgement) 2. Treat yourself to a treat Kyle doesn’t enjoy. My partner doesn’t like champagne or truffles (the fungus kind) so no surprise my menu includes real champagne at$80 and truffle cheese and truffle potato chips. 3.plan activities you enjoy like a Christmas yoga session, long walk just wandering, movies like Love Actually that my partner doesn’t like, wearing sweats w glam earrings (or maybe putting on your sparkly clothes and heels, since you can kick them off -artfully- after 10 minutes! ) etc. Best wishes!

    December 18, 2020/Reply
  18. Questioner says:

    Why is your husband traveling to see family when it is so unsafe to do so?

    December 20, 2020/Reply
    • Belle says:

      He’s already had COVID. His antibody test came back positive. His Mom hasn’t seen him in over a year, he missed her backyard wedding earlier this year, and he feels it’s important to see his Mom.

      December 20, 2020/Reply
  19. Michelle says:

    I definitely agree with doing and eating things Kyle wouldn’t participate in or like.

    For me it would be going on an early morning walk around the lake to watch the sunrise followed by yoga, french press and waffles for breakfast, playing animal crossing and reading, then a cheese plate with fruit and hummus for lunch, and then watching the office for a few hours (re-watching series is an annoyance of my fiancé *shrugs*) with my favorite beer. Maybe starting a fire in our firepit if it’s dry enough and making smores for an late afternoon snack/dinner.

    December 21, 2020/Reply