Although I was not a complete stranger as the holidays approached, I was soon taken under the wing of my new friends and taken to their family gatherings. Maybe it was time to see “Christmas in July” as something more than the group event that began at a girls’ camp in North Carolina ina in 1933 or a 1940s movie. I’ve spent too much time alone, even for introverts like me, so I can understand why you might abandon your usual holiday plans. But at the same time, I strongly encourage you to schedule video calls with loved ones, especially those who live alone, elderly parents and friends who always seem to have everything planned out. If you haven’t made any video calls this year, you’re definitely missing out on all the COVID-19 versions of pandemic bingo on your friends’ Instagram stories. I can’t tell you how much fun it is to celebrate the holidays without family almost every year for almost a decade. Throwing Christmas bills in the mailbox, organizing online games or singing a long night with holiday drinks, running errands for an elderly neighbor or offering to hang Christmas decorations for someone. In the eight years I lived in Europe, I was able to celebrate the holidays with friends and family at home maybe twice. You can be as far away from another country as you can be close to the same city and still not see your family and friends during the holidays this year, a harsh reality that no one could have predicted before the pandemic. A version of this phenomenon came up almost every year when I was in Spain, where Christmas and New Year’s Eve are celebrated on a scale and in a way I had never seen before. The next year I had an oven and didn’t have to experience this nightmare, but a good friend and I decided to cook a full Thanksgiving dinner for our group of friends. In both cases, it’s a big family dinner that lasts until at least midnight, after which we head straight to the second party or bars with friends until God knows what time. I’m pretty sure we’ve even watched a Christmas movie after everyone has finished eating, and the tryptophan has done its job. Send your family or friends all the ingredients you need for your favorite Christmas dish or Christmas cookies and make them together at Zoom.