How to embrace your inner Kevin McCallister and make the most of being home alone on Christmas

This comedy piece was written for CBC Opinion by Sean Dunham, a performer and humourist in Regina.

For more information about CBC’s Opinion section, please see the FAQ.


Sometimes it’s great to do things solo.

Play a famous computer card game? Fly across the Atlantic Ocean? Learn the No Scrubs rap? Yes of course!

But celebrating the holidays? Unfortunately, not a very fun solo project.

I’m here to turn your dismal, down-in-the-dumps worldview all the way around. You miss your friends and family, you say? The feast, the camaraderie? I will give you every pointy weapon you need to create the holidays of your fantasies, completely by yourself.

Yes, you are going to be home alone this Christmas. Kevin McCallister made out quite successfully and you can too. 

If Kevin McCallister was able to make it through the holidays home alone, so can you. (Submitted by Sean Dunham)

I hear you whimpering about the great Christmas meal. True, it is incredible.

An entire day of savoury aromas filling the air. Some shadowy person (looking at you, Auntie) sweating for hours in a kitchen the temperature of Hell so that they can parade a truly absurd amount of food. Then the gaping maws in sweatpants they call family wolfing it down in 20 minutes.

Do you really want to see your wilted Auntie clutching her gravy boat with that look of madness in her eyes?

This year, create the aroma-scape you want while barely lifting a finger. Simply throw an onion in the slow cooker and put a pumpkin spice latte in the oven.

After a day of this fragrance porn, it won’t even feel sad when your actual supper is a bag of stuffing-flavoured kettle chips and a cranberry ginger ale. You’ll be completely content.

An onion in a slow cooker can give your whole place that warm ‘holiday meal’ aroma. (Submitted by Sean Dunham)

I know you’re going to yearn for that feeling of a full, bustling household.

The door flying open with a burst of cold air. People coming and going like ants in an anthill. Shouts of excitement, squeals of joy, yelps of pain from a nephew getting his head pulled off by another nephew. Arguments erupting, tears, curses, ruined evenings, yadda, yadda.

There is a simple fix. Put on some a radio show in the living room — something truly divisive, like who is the best Spice Girl. Put two Alexa enabled speakers in the front hallway and listen to those girls go. At. It.

Then simply pour some nog, put your feet and smile happily among the din. There’s truly a lot of love there. 

You’ll be the Yo-Yo Ma of isolation. The Simone Biles of solitude. – Sean Dunham

Yes, we need to talk about the elephant in the room. There’s going to be a baby. SOMEBODY had a baby and it’s going to be so cute and you need to poke it and coo at the baby, because next time you see them they will be a monster that eats plants.

Easy solution. Swaddle a hot water bottle tightly, toss a dash of talcum powder on one end and you’ve got yourself a baby.

Instagram will never know the difference. Plus, it won’t be a big deal if you get busy playing Jenga and somehow the beeb rolls under a couch for 4 hours. You really need to let that go, Melissa.

No one needs to know there’s not a real baby in there. (Submitted by Sean Dunham)

A tradition you’re really going to pine for is that evening when everyone converges back to the hometown and you all inexplicably wind up at a local bar with a name like Jonzo’s.

You squeeze shoulder-to-shoulder while a parade of Ghosts of Many Christmases Past float by. You are ankle-deep in IPA. It’s My Life plays the entire evening. The earth is healing. 

But! You can still have this tradition! You could … well you could try … hm. Honestly, this year you just have to miss out on that. Phone your friends instead, they miss you. 

Yes, your holidays will be different this year, but under my strict tutelage you’ll find there’s no better way to master the art of being alone.

You’ll be the Yo-Yo Ma of isolation. The Simone Biles of solitude.

I pray to the patron saint of the 10-items-and-under line that your holidays are full of health and humour.

And, of course, I’ll be seeing you next year at Jonzo’s.


This column is part of CBC’s Opinion section. For more information about this section, please read this editor’s blog and our FAQ.

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