No Place Like Home (Alone) for the Holidays


No Place Like Home (Alone) for the Holidays

Image credit: Shutterstock.com

A new tradition of guilt-free Solo Mom time

“There’s no place like home for the holidays,” croons Perry Como in the classic seasonal tune. It’s part of a wintry array of songs that move into radio airplay rotation the morning after Halloween, which happens to be my favorite fiesta. What other day of the year is it legal to don a monster mask and gorge on chocolate while frightening other people’s children? But I digress. Following Halloween, the holiday season commences with a familial and commercial vengeance. Under the auspicious guise of tradition, relatives, friends, songs, billboards, media outlets, advertisers, clergy, charities, Wall Street, schools, and office organizers begin the chant: visit, buy, eat, give, travel, couple, pay, donate, mingle, charge, lay away, drink, celebrate, cook, and decorate—all verbs that mean spend too much money and join the frenzied fray—or else.

Or else feel guilty.

Once upon a time, I used to buy into the sacred myth of tradition and feel guilty if I didn’t purchase overpriced plane tickets and schlep the kids, suitcases, car seats, and gifts (for which I’d eaten two-for-one mac and cheese for months to afford) “home” for the holidays. I love my family, and I like my family’s extended families; however, I am not a fan of large-group togetherness. It’s mob mentality meets childhood role-play. It makes for great dysfunctional story fodder, but since I have enough idiosyncratic kin-inspired scenarios etched in my psyche to fill two lifetimes, I prefer not to add any new material.

Three years ago, I was serendipitously given an opportunity to commence a new tradition: home alone for the holidays.

The week of Thanksgiving 2012, it was decided that my ex-hubby would keep the house we still owned together. I was instructed to move out by December 25. In my realm, I means me, two children, three dogs, seven cats, and two horses. Fortunately, I found a vacant little ranch that would accommodate the “I” menagerie. Nevertheless, daunting relocation logistics remained. Because teens in flux are as pleasant as mosquito swarms at a picnic, I decided it was best to send my son and daughter to stay with family for Christmas and New Year’s while I packed boxes and rehomed us in an adjacent town.

Ever hear of the moving company called Two Men and a Truck? I didn’t have the funds to hire that company, so Two Middle-Aged Women and a Horse Trailer hauled three-quarters of a house full of stuff. I will forever be grateful to my friend Linda for her Herculean assistance. We completed the superwoman task 24 hours ahead of schedule. I spent three days turning the house into home sweet home. That left me with five days to rest my sore, battered, bruised body at the beach; read; write; sip white wine; eat pretzels; and binge-watch Netflix before the kids returned from New York. Bliss.

When it came time to make winter-break travel plans the following year, the joyous memory of the past holiday spent alone danced in my head. I purchased a pair of plane tickets and sent the kids to New York without me once again. Of course, there were family protests coupled with guilt wielding. Yet the thought of another Christmas–New Year’s holiday without red and green paper littering the living room, cold weather, constantly washing dishes, and the din of hierarchy quarreling quelled any chance of guilt rearing its ugly head and squashing my quest for Florida solitude. Returning to work rested and relaxed after winter break, sans an aversion to food, is an added bonus to skipping the holiday hullabaloo.

I held fast in 2014 and this year as well. One more year of home alone for Christmas and New Year’s, and my five solo holidays will earn the powerful, feigned distinction of tradition.

In premature honor of that momentous moment, I have rewritten a celebratory song, which I will henceforth sing, guilt free, over Perry Como’s voice on the radio beginning the morning after Halloween.

My parody, apologies to Al Stillman’s original lyrics:

Oh, there’s no place like home alone for the holidays

Cause no matter how far everyone else roams

In the mirror you’re sure to find a friendly gaze

For the holidays, you can’t beat alone, sweet home

I met a Solo Mom who lives in Tennessee

She drove bedraggled to Pennsylvania, with kids arguing, and store-bought pumpkin pies

From Pennsylvania, folks are travelin’ bumper to bumper to Dixie’s crowded shore

From Atlantic to Pacific, gee, the traffic is horrific

Oh, there’s no place like home alone for the holidays

Cause no matter how far everyone else roams

If you want to be happy in a million ways

For the holidays, you can’t beat alone, sweet home

Skip the bus, forget a train, avoid TSA and an airplane

Smile at ex-hubby and candy-hyper kiddies in his new girlfriend’s car

For the pleasure that it brings when you remind the kids to sing

Their trip couldn’t be too far

Oh, there’s no place like home alone for the holidays

Cause no matter how far everyone else roams

If you want to be happy in a million ways

For the holidays, you can’t beat alone, sweet home

For the holidays, you can’t beat alone, sweet home


M.M. Anderson is a Solo Mom and sophisticated sophomoric writer who takes readers on a romp deep into the realm of imagination, where the fantastical becomes real and the everyday otherworldly.


She is presently the Boss at Little Shop of Writers. Her one-woman company hosts business and creative-writing workshops; facilitates free online teaching videos; and publishes books, including Happily Never After Midnight (a collection of short stories) and Werewolf Dreams and Werewolf Love, the first two books in her Seamus Sullivan, Werewolf Cop young-adult series. Learn more about M.M. Anderson and her works on her website, littleshopofwriters.org; you can also follow her on Twitter at @LswMmanderson.

Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions.


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