Alternative Christmas plans | Opinion | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

Alternative Christmas plans

Some ideas for how to spend your holidays when everyone else in town is busy with family.

Alternative Christmas plans
That's it for The Coast until the new year. Happy holidays, everyone!

Ah, the holidays. Finally, the time of year when you can participate in that long-standing Halifax Christmas tradition of having your entire social circle head to Ontario while you're here by yourself. Great!

click to enlarge Alternative Christmas plans
Vaughn Stafford Gray is an occasional opinion writer for The Coast.
The yuletide season can be festive, delightful and frustrating all at once. From terrible Secret Santas (really, hand sanitizer?) to over-indulging in mince pies and peppermint schnapps-laced eggnog (don’t knock it till you try it), the holiday season is a rollercoaster of activities and emotions. What to do when you’re spending the holidays by yourself or with a reduced number of friends? We got you! The Coast understands that sometimes you want something off-piste so we have put together an itinerary for a non-traditional yet fun holiday.

Sunday, December 23
Think of a darn good reason to call in from work tomorrow. It’s a half day anyway.

Grab a cup of coffee or tea (if that's your thing). Open up your email and unenroll from all those newsletters that you’re no longer interested in and stores that you no longer shop from. Also, reply to those emails that have been lingering in your inbox since September or just delete them. Purge that inbox.

Head to a decent chain grocery store. Hang out in the baking aisle. Watch pandemonium ensue when key holiday baking items like nutmeg are nowhere to be found.

You know that nice restaurant in the north end that you’ve always promised yourself you’ll go to? Go! Don’t have a paramour or bestie to go with? Still, go. Sit at the bar order a good glass of wine or bubbly, people watch and eavesdrop.

Christmas Eve
Go through your closets and gather gently used cold-weather clothing and grab a few non-perishable items. Make a drop-off at Shelter NS or Out Of The Cold. Let’s not forget to help others this holiday season.

Head to the mall (best bets are Park Lane and Mic Mac) around 11am and watch male shoppers scramble to purchase last-minute gifts. It’s hilarious! There will be hundreds of women who will be getting the same box of chocolates and similar scarves on Christmas morn. It’s a great way to observe the unprepared males of the human species in the wild.

Head to a coffee shop and purchase a few gift cards and hand out to the less fortunate that you pass along the way. It’s a warm gesture that will be appreciated.

Stock up on necessities at the NSLC and your favourite brewery. Splurge on that bottle that you’ve been eyeing for a while. Tis the season for bubbles and excess.

Meet up with a friends/fam and gorge on Chinese food. Technically a Jewish tradition for spending Christmas Eve, it’s a hassle-free way to have a great night out and not worry about clean-up afterwards.

Christmas Day
Have left-over Chinese for breakfast and if there are gifts to open, cool. If not, no biggie. Call your loved ones and that friend who you’ve been meaning to call back since Thanksgiving.

Start searching for vacation deals. Look outside. Look at that picture of Jamaica on your screen. Look back outside. You see? Set up alerts to be delivered to your inbox once the price is right. Hold on, dear frozen one! Your tropical escape in February isn’t that too far away.

Head to the movies. See two. Enjoy the fact that you’re in plush leather seats not sweating over a stove and arguing with the family member who really wants store-bought stuffing.

Pop round to a friend’s or over to your neighbours' for dessert. Folks always welcome randos after the formalities of family time.

Boxing Day
Have a nice bath with lots of sweet smelling stuff you got at Christmas At The Forum. Head outside and help your neighbours shovel. Bond over cursing city hall and nature, then stay in bed and binge-watch something new on Netflix. Order a pizza—there’s nothing more festive than ham and pineapple.

Look at your chequing account balance and get your outfit for work ready. You’ll be leaving on time. Early, if you’re taking the number 7 Robie bus.


Opinionated is a rotating column by Halifax writers featured regularly in The Coast. The views published are those of the author.

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