Let me tell you, there is no place that does Christmas quite like Chicago. But after living here for about 4 years now, I’ve have had to make many a sacrifice for my career– the ultimate one not being able to go home for the holidays.
If you think I just mope around my apartment all alone in my flannels while eating holiday flan and watching Home Alone… well, then you were spying on me JUST THAT ONE YEAR. It soon dawned on me that I was gonna have to make the best of the holidays and get turnt up for the Yuletide one way or the other.
As my gift to all those orphans out there who are stranded in the Windy City with no way home, these are my tips on how to throw a merry Orphan Christmas in Chicago (or wherever else you may be stranded).
Lurk at Department Stores
No need to take your hard-earned cash with ya: department stores are great places to to shop for a new family. This is the one time of the year where everyone from Papa Brian to kid brother Nathan all go shopping together. Of course they have room for one more! Just browse through the aisles for a family you like and just wander into their group. Stores are so crowded they won’t even notice (for long… then you better run). And hey, just know that it’s okay to switch up if you find a better looking family. I suggest you start at Macy’s on State Street and then make your way all the way down Michigan Ave until you decide on a family*.
*If you do not feel comfortable with a human family, you may subsititute mannequins.
Feast Like No One’s Watching
Mom’s home cooking is a tough thing to live without when you move away. During the holidays, it’s a whole lot tougher. So what is one to do?
Fear not. Boston Market is here! Go for the Complete Banquet Meal for 12. You get a killer spread (Spinach Artichoke Dip! Cranberry Walnut Relish!) and leftovers for days. Plus, their catering department will even deliver, set it up and serve you. Just like home!
Buy Yourself Presents
Not the same thing? I get it. You want ‘em wrapped up with a bow and your name slapped on ‘em. You can definitely have your family ship you the gifts you want, but you’re a grown adult. When was the last time you got exactly what you wanted from your parents or aunts and uncles?
Enter Amazon Prime. You can sign up for a free trial and shop for all the goodiesyou want. Ralph Lauren watch? They got that. Cusinart Juicer? Check. The entire DVD boxed set of Knight Rider? Win!
And the best part is that during the holidays, you can have your Amazon purchases wrapped from a selection of wrapping paper options and sent with a personalized note from you– to you!
Ordering Tip: Make sure you disable your e-mail notifications from Amazon. That way, you’re not bombarded with reminders about your gifts and they become a sweet surprise when you get them.
Seek Out More Of Your Kind
You are not alone. That’s not just a Michael Jackson song… it’s a fact! If you’ve been here long enough, chances are you’ve met some amazing people. Wanna know something else? Some of them are orphans that are stranded here, too. Christmas is nothing unless it’s spent with others. At the core of it all, the holidays are about getting together and having a good time.
Reach out and celebrate with someone else who’s all alone. You’ll make some great memories and have a jolly old time.
Rich Alfonso is a graduate of The Second City Training Center and a student at The Annoyance. He performs sketch and improv with his independent team, Shanna’s Mom, who will be performing at The 2014 Chicago Sketchfest and his 2-man team ,”Light Skinned and Dangerous.”