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Ah, Christmas. The time of year to put on your coziest sweater, bake some delicious cookies and gather around the fire with family and friends. That is, unless you’re me. Despite being double vaccinated, the worst Christmas gift I got this year came about a week early: a positive COVID-19 test. Rather than go home and see my family for the first time in months, I was stranded in my college apartment with a 103-degree fever, my cat and an endless supply of canned soup. ’Tis the season, right? So, what does a person do when they’re alone on Christmas? As tempting as it was to reenact the movie Home Alone, that would require exposing two unsuspecting burglars to COVID, which seemed unethical. Instead, I had a pretty foolproof plan of action.

Sob violently for roughly 24 hours.

This seems pretty self explanatory. Just cry until your eyes are so puffy that you are barely recognizable.

Pretend it is not Christmas.

This step involves using the same logic toddlers use when playing hide-and-seek. If I can’t see Christmas, Christmas cannot see me. Therefore, if I pretend it is not Christmas, I cannot be sad.

Drive around to look at Christmas lights by yourself while listening to “Beautiful Christmas” by Big Time Rush.

Did I tell myself it would make me feel better? Yes. Did it? Unclear. If you’re feeling spontaneous you can resume sobbing during this step, making your driving skills very questionable like I did.

Get mad at your family for trying to FaceTime you.

Listen, I know they meant well, but it just made me feel worse watching them through the phone. The key to this step is to not act like a total jerk on the phone, and wait until they hang up to roll your eyes.

Put a sweater on your cat and make him “open presents.”

This was actually the most useful thing I did. Watching my cat (whose name is Refrigerator) try to wriggle out of his sweater and eat wrapping paper was very good for my mental health.

The plan was perfect. I got to properly quarantine myself to avoid getting my family sick, and I got to be miserable. What more could I have asked for? Good health? Quality time with my step-siblings I see twice a year? Nonsense!

All jokes aside, I’m very grateful that I got to see my family once my quarantine period was over and that I didn’t experience an extreme case of COVID-19. While I was lonely and bored out of my mind, I would make the choice to stay home and keep my loved ones safe all over again if I had to. Plus, an unexpected bonus of being sick on Christmas was that my mom felt bad and gave me extra presents. Hello, fuzzy robe and Twizzlers! The overall moral of the story is: stay home if you’re sick. If I can stay home alone on Christmas, you can do your quarantine too.

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I'm a sophomore at Florida State, majoring in social work :).
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