Why You Shouldn’t Feel Obligated To Spend The Holidays With Your Family

·6 min read

On today's episode of BuzzFeed Daily, we broke down the top pop culture headlines AND discussed being alone during the holidays. You can listen below or scroll down to read more about the interview!

So let's dive right into it! Recently we talked to comedian and author Lane Moore about how being alone for the Holidays can actually be a good thing. Here's some of what we learned:

BuzzFeed Daily: So first off, a few years ago, you wrote a book called How to Be Alone: If You Want To, and Even If You Don't, the title seems pretty straightforward, but for our listeners who haven't heard of it. Can you tell us a little bit about the book and what prompted you to write it in the first place?

Book cover for How To Be Alone by Lane Moore, featuring a phrenology-style head with things like "too many feelings," "social anxiety," "murder shows," "finding the one," "dad issues," etc.

Lane Moore: Yeah. So I wrote the book because, for most of my life, I had been alone in one way or another. I didn't really have the perfect family or the perfect friend group or the perfect partner that we're all told that we all get. And I hadn't really seen that reflected in media. It was always like, "Yeah, everyone has like a pretty perfect family and all of these things," and I really hadn't had that. And so I wanted to write a book about what it is like if you don't have these things that our society tells you you're supposed to have — which many of us don't.

Atria Books

BuzzFeed Daily: With the holidays coming up, we wanted to talk to you about the sort of do's and don'ts of spending them alone. To start off, how do you personally feel about spending holidays on your own? Is it something you enjoy or something you feel like you kind of just get through?

Kevin McCallister in Home Alone

LM: So there's a big chapter in How To Be Alone about spending the holidays alone, because it's something we don't talk about ever. I've seen it in my own life because I've spent most holidays by myself. There's so much like, "So what do you do over the holidays, going home, going home?" We all have this little politeness dance that we do, assuming that we're all going to go have the best, best time. And that's just not true for so many of us. So I really think it's so important to talk about spending the holidays on your own.

It's not something I've always loved, though it is something I enjoy. And it's funny because I see so many people online and they'll say things like, "Oh, I've got to go home for the holidays. This is going to be miserable." And I'm like, You know, you don't have to go, you don't have to go if it's toxic or it's harmful or you don't have the energy. One of the biggest things that the book does and that I try to do online is encourage people, if it doesn't feel healthy to you, if it doesn't feel safe for you, to spend them alone. It can be better if that feels like a better alternative. It's OK to do that. Even though society makes you feel like that makes you a jerk, it doesn't make you a jerk to do something that makes you feel safe.

20th Century Fox

BuzzFeed Daily: Why do you think that there is still so much pressure for people to be with other people for the holidays, whether it's friends, family, or romantic partners? What is it about the holiday season?

Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones' Diary

LM: We've created this false narrative that doesn't work for so many of us, you know? We've created this sort of blind loyalty to your family, no matter what you're dealing with, blind loyalty to friends, no matter who they are, and that doesn't work for most of us. And so this idea that we have — to be in a room together, full of people who maybe have been abusive, maybe have been really toxic, maybe we all hate, because "that's what Christmas is" — is so weird. If someone felt any sort of negative way about me, I would not want them to have to be in a room with me for the sake of a holiday. That's just so bizarre.

Universal Pictures

BuzzFeed Daily: I think that if you're single, especially as you get older, spending time with family and friends can still make you feel very alone because, inevitably, the topic of why you're single is going to come up and they're going to be like, "Oh, you know, you'll find someone. Why aren't you seeing anyone? Blah blah blah..." How do you feel about those conversations? How should someone handle that?

Emma Roberts in Holidate

LM: You know, I always think, when my grandma would say stuff like that, "You know what? Not everybody is getting married at the age of 18 anymore." Also, our society is not really structured this way anymore, where it's really easy to find your perfect person and find a partner and get married and have kids and life works out really easily. We have a different world now, we just do.

And while that would be really nice, I'm excited to see that break apart a little bit, particularly for women, for whom it's supposed to mean something about you if you don't have this thing. We don't do that for men.

Also, I stand by this: Finding your person is luck and timing. It is not deservability. It is not any of those things — you literally got lucky, and had good timing. If someone can choose to meet their person sooner, they would. Of course they would, you know? So it's just this idea that being alone is because you did something to mess up. I don't believe that. I really don't.


BuzzFeed Daily: Where can our listeners find you online, and do you have anything else coming up down the pipeline?

🔈Listen to the episode above for the full interview.

We also discussed the backlash Rebel Wilson received for her "year of health."

Plus, Brooke Shields recently called out the media for the way it oversexualized her when she appeared in a Calvin Klein jeans ad as a teen.

Photo of Brooke Shields at a Glamour party

Back then, to counter the backlash to the ad, she went on a media tour, including an interview with Barbara Walters, during which she was asked invasive questions about her body and sexual history. Brooke was just 15 at the time.

On an episode of Dax Sheperd’s Armchair Expert podcast, she said, "It's practically criminal. It's not journalism.”

Back in October, Brooke also told Vogue she didn’t understand any of the innuendo in the ads, specifically lines like “You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.”

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images for Glamour

As always, thanks for listening! And if you ever want to suggest stories or just want to say hi, you can reach us at daily@buzzfeed.com.

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