For so many people in the LGBTQ+ community, holidays don’t mean returning to the place you were raised to spend time with those who raised you. Often, they can mean celebrating with chosen family. And this year, in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, even fewer of us have the opportunity to celebrate with anyone.
If you’re stuck alone this year for the holidays, don’t fret; there are tons of ways to celebrate the season, from baking to binge-watching classic movies to decorating your tree with rainbow tinsel. If you’re by yourself this year but want to express your queer AF holiday cheer, here are a few ways to make the yuletide gay.
Treat Yourself To A Binge Watch
Perhaps the best way to have a queer holiday is to see other queer people! But due to the fact we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, it’s not likely to happen this year. The next best thing is to watch a bunch of queer holiday movies. There are a few tried and true classics like “Carol” or you could go for something newer, like this year’s “The Happiest Season” or last year’s “Let It Snow.” And luckily, the mainstream media seems to finally understand that queer people celebrate the holidays too, as there are so many more queer movies to choose from this season, like Lifetime’s “The Christmas Set-Up” — with a real-life gay couple and Fran Drescher — or Hallmark’s “The Christmas House” — starring Jonathan Bennett, AKA Aaron Samuels of “Mean Girls” fame.
Make The Yuletide Gay, Literally
Who says holiday decorations have to be red and green or blue and white? Holidays are exactly what you make them, so make yours very queer by employing a rainbow color scheme! If you decided to set up a tree, go crazy with tinsel in any colors you can get your hands on to create a fun rainbow swirl. Rather than going for perfectly-polished red and green ornaments, add your own in any and all colors or opt for personal, kitschy regalia instead. Don’t hang up mistletoe above the door; hang a little rainbow instead to let everyone know this is a queer household.
Donate To An LGBTQ+ Organization
There is nothing more LGBTQ+ than strengthening and rallying around our community. A great way to give back is to donate your time to an LGBTQ+ organization that could use it, like a homeless shelter or food bank.
Considering we’re in the middle of a pandemic, volunteering in person may not be much of an option this year. Check to see if virtual volunteering is available for your local organizations — and if so, you can even expand your effort nationally — or offer up a monetary donation instead of time. If you have even $5 to spare, that could be extremely meaningful for an LGBTQ+ organization, especially around the holidays. If you’re in New York, some great groups to check out include GLITS, The Center, and The Okra Project.
Congrats, You’re Now A Gay Little Elf
Just like how you can deck the halls to showcase your queer self, let your gift-giving reflect that you’re out and proud. Skip wrapping your presents in the shiny wrapping paper from the store or that crafty Kraft and instead opt for some bright, rainbow designs like this one, this one, or this one.
And it’s not just about how you wrap the gifts; don’t forget to consider the presents themselves! Remind yourself of your queerness by reminding others of it, too, by giving gifts you bought from queer-owned businesses. Check out any local ones to give back to two communities at the same time. It’s up to you whether to make it a point to let your friends know where the gifts came from! If you’d rather keep it to yourself, you alone can revel in the support you gave to the community and the happiness that comes from it.
Awkward Fam Gatherings In Itchy Sweaters Off, Comfy Sweats On
One upside to being by yourself this season is that you don’t have to worry about the societal pressures of dressing up for family dinners or trying to find the perfect outfit for your pal’s holiday bash. Rather than panic-shopping the week before or flipping nervously through your closet for anything decent, choose something that you actually want to wear and — I know it sounds far-fetched — wear it! Comfort clothing could be anything: a sweatsuit, your fanciest ball gown, or even nothing. Whatever makes you feel most you is the perfect thing to wear for a holiday alone; it reminds you of the best parts of yourself, which includes your queerness. And if your comfort clothes are rainbow-colored or match your identity’s flag? Well, all the better.
Call Up Your Chosen Family & Celebrate Together (Virtually)
Again, we are unfortunately still in the middle of a pandemic, so getting together with your family — whether given or chosen — isn’t the best option this year. That doesn’t mean you have to completely lose touch with them. Schedule a time to Zoom with everyone at once to have a 2020 version of a holiday party, complete with you DJing, everyone celebrating with their own vices, and dancing from the comfort of your own space. Or, if you’d rather not party, you can just get together virtually to chat about how your holidays are going as though you’re hanging out at home. Don’t let distance make you feel lonely this holiday season; spread some cheer and comfort through your computer screen.