The holidays can be an overwhelming time for those of us who are introverts. Most years, we enjoy the festivities but still end up having to exert tremendous amounts of energy being around crowds, attending parties, hugging, etc. 2020 is different, of course. Many of us are having to hunker down whether we want to or not, and it may be helpful to reframe this time as a chance to get comfortable and cozy, especially in such uncomfortable times. To that end, I propose a new holiday: Nestivus.
Anyone familiar with the 90s sitcom Seinfeld knows about Festivus, an alternative, secular holiday invented by Frank Costanza, George’s father, in response to the rampant commercialism of Christmas.
This celebration, on the other hand, doesn’t require an iron pole, feats of strength, or the airing of grievances.
Nestivus (n) – a day of reprieve from the pressures of holiday cheer and other related anxieties; celebrated by returning to one’s “nest” or place of comfort in order to recharge.
We at Sweatpants & Coffee invite you to the softest and gentlest of Nestivus observances.
- Recommended attire: Comfortable. Underwire, zippers, constricting garments, and/or shoes that pinch are discouraged. You may want to wear a t-shirt with a quirky saying or obscure fandom reference, as those often serve as a secret handshake that lets you quickly identify like-minded folks. For example, my “And then Buffy staked Edward. The End.” shirt has earned me a few knowing grins from strangers, which fulfills a significant portion of my daily social interaction quota.
- Small talk is not mandatory. It’s okay to be quiet or to nod in a friendly way. It’s also okay to blurt out weird but interesting facts about yourself as is sometimes the introvert’s way of seeking connection without having to waste valuable energy on discussions about the weather.
- Approved accessories: Soft blankets, fuzzy socks or slippers, devices and chargers, earbuds or headphones, books, and pillows.
- No one will judge you for zoning out on your phone because you need to temporarily dissociate. No one will mind if you prefer to express yourself by texting or sharing memes that make you feel both seen and called out – because you want to be known and understood, but you also are kind of needing to keep a distance due to anxiety, low battery, etc.
- If you need to cry, you can have all the space you need, and it won’t be awkward. You don’t have to explain. Tissues and empathy will be provided.
- If you desire, a furry comfort friend will be made available for smooches, scritches, and nonsensical baby-talk. If you have allergies, squishy plush toys will also be available for cuddling.
- There will be a video-chat corner for those who want to speak with long-distance computer friends but get stressed out by real life face-to-face encounters.
- Participation in the movie musical singalong (title TBD) is not mandatory, but if you choose to join, no one will give you crap because you are fine singing show tunes with a group of weirdos, but you don’t necessarily want to make conversation.
- Hugging, handshaking, and eye contact are optional. Touching people and/or looking them in the eye can be difficult (or feel like some kind of sci-fi energy transference). If you’re in emotional screen-saver mode and are unable or unwilling to engage in those behaviors, no one will think you’re anti-social or cold.
- Permits are not required for the construction of blanket forts.
WARNING: Telling another attendee to smile may result in your ejection.