Having a hard time putting on a happy face this holiday season? You’re not alone.
Let’s get real: It’s 2020, we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, we’re unable to safely celebrate loved ones in person, and though 2021 is quickly approaching the new year is also ripe with uncertainty. We’re all going to be facing some serious existentialism on
Prom Christmas night, so this year why not just lean into it and have yourself an emo little Christmas?
Not sure how to take all the blah you’re feeling and turn it into a holiday celebration so perfectly expressive of your current emotional state that you, in turn, might actually feel some joy? Well, you’re in luck. In the midst of our constant cycle of dread, angst, and general malaise we put together the perfect emo holiday guide.
From decorations and snacks to attire and activities, if you follow these 10 steps then hands down, this will be the most emo Christmas you can ever remember.
1. Deck the halls…black
The first way to truly get into the holiday spirit is by decorating, but since this isn’t a normal year consider keeping your normal holiday decorations in storage and buying new ones that better capture your mood.
Invest in a black Christmas tree — large or small — some dark ornaments, a festive Nightmare Before Christmas tree skirt, a door curtain made of black streamers, some dark garland to drape around your house, or these plaid stockings that look like they’re topped with an old Pete Wentz hairstyle.
If you’re not in the mood to spend a lot of money on emo Christmas decorations (in hopes that you’ll never have to use them again) feel free to make your own. Cut some snowflakes out of black paper and hang them around the room, make a lackluster little “IT IS CHRISTMAS.” sign inspired by The Office, or buy an inexpensive black glass-compatible pen so you can draw your own window decorations. If all else fails, just put your Halloween decorations back up. Who gives a shit?
2. Dress in your holiday worst
One of the great things about Emo Christmas™ is you don’t need to get all fancy and bust out uncomfortable dressy clothes that non-pandemic holidays sometimes require.
You can still dress in your holiday best…or worst. We suggest jeans, a bunch of black, a hoodie, or anything else your emo little heart desires. If you want to throw it back to your Hot Topic days you can even paint your nails black, copiously apply eyeliner, pop on a beanie, lace up your combat boots, and dig out that old studded belt. Get creative!
‘Tis the season to make your own bad-ass fingerless gloves (by cutting the fingers off gloves you already own — edgy!) and doodle on your Converse with Sharpie. You can even take this opportunity to dye your hair if you’re feeling especially bold and rebellious.
If you’re looking to keep holiday vibes present in your Christmas attire, consider this jolly shirt, a Phoebe Bridgers-inspired skeleton onesie, or a black Santa hat. If you like your threads, maybe you can even snap a last-minute Emo Christmas card photo.
3. Make a sadvent calendar
Advent calendars are holly, jolly, and Christmas-y, which means an emo Christmas calls for something significantly less joyful: a sadvent calendar.
If you’re in the DIY mood this season then make your own sad advent calendar for the remaining days in December. Perhaps every door you open can contain a heartbreaking song lyric or something. And, of course, stuff a lump of coal in the final slot as a little treat.
4. Assemble an emo feast
One of the best things about the holidays is the food, which means it’s time to create an Emo Christmas feast the likes of which will put the Who’s feast in Whoville to shame.
If you’re in the mood for some sweets why not build an emo-looking gingerbread house or decorate some spooky sugar cookies instead of the usual cheery ones? Stock up on black licorice, Pop Rocks, and that Coal Mine gum that stains your mouth black. When you inevitably crash from a sugar rush have some black coffee, a Monster, or a Rockstar energy drink on hand to give you a little jolt.
If you’re looking for slightly more substantial snackage, find some inspiration from the most emo eating space around: a mall food court. Grab a Dunkaccino, a Cheesy Gordita Crunch and a Mountain Dew Baja Blast Freeze, a pretzel dog, or a Cinnabon. Really any food that can you can find in a mall food court can be emo if you just believe.
If I’m being honest, emo snacks sound pretty shitty, so you have our full permission to order pizza or a more delicious, substantial alternative for dinner. Just, like, eat it on the floor or some place sad to get the full effect.
5. Crank the emo holiday tunes
If fans of The OC learned anything from Seth Cohen’s Death Cab-heavy Chrismukkah celebrations, it’s that Emo Christmas will be nothing without emo Christmas music. Whether you’re playing vinyl records or taking a page out of Cohen’s book and writing your own emo Christmas song to the tune of Death Cab For Cutie’s “A Lack Of Color,” music must be at the core of your emo Christmas observance.
Put My Chemical Romance’s iconic version of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” on repeat, listen to one of the many emo Christmas song playlists out there, blast some Phoebe Bridgers, or lose yourself in regular melancholy Christmas songs. Whatever gets you in the mood! There are approximately five trillion covers of “Blue Christmas” out there (and Dashboard Confessional recorded one this year!) so you should have no trouble finding music.
6. Watch something emo
Half the fun of celebrating the holidays is watching Christmas movies, and lucky for us Tim Burton’s classic, The Nightmare Before Christmas, is already hella emo.
You can always watch the first like 3/4 of How the Grinch Stole Christmas (obviously turn it off before his heart grows,) or Emma Thomson’s storyline in Love Actually, or the beginning of The Holiday where everything sucks and no one’s found requited love. I’ve never seen that Emilia Clarke Christmas movie, Last Christmas, but that guy she falls for is like definitely dead the entire time, right? Seems pretty emo to me.
You know what? It doesn’t even have to be related to the holidays, just watch some really sad shit like Collateral Beauty or binge Peaky Blinders and channel your inner angst-ridden Tommy Shelby for a night.
7. Have your own dashboard confessional
Since you’re not spending the holidays with anyone outside of your household this year (because we’re in the middle of a pandemic and it’s crucial to safely social distance to stop the spread of the coronavirus) we’ll have to rely on text messages, phone calls, and video chats to connect with loved ones.
In the spirit of beloved emo band Dashboard Confessional have a few dashboard confessionals of your own. Call friends and family members to tell you how much you miss them and complain about this shitty year, but do it from your car. Your holiday confessions will be more emo if your car hears them. It’s simply a fact. Proof:
8. Gather around the fire
December is the month to gather ’round a cozy fire and cuddle, watch movies, and sip hot chocolate. You can still do that this year — whether you build a bonfire outside or in an indoor fireplace — but to make it more emo consider (safely!!!) burning some shit. That list of resolutions you scribbled down at the end of 2019? Burn it. Depressing Christmas cards you were planning to throw out the second Dec. 26th arrived? Burn ’em. You can also make s’mores if you’d rather just watch some marshmallows engulfed in flames.
9. Find other ways to entertain yourself. Or don’t. Who cares.
If you’re in search of other emo holiday activities, try online shopping at Hot Topic or Spencer’s, go for a drive around your suburban hometown at night, scroll through your ex’s Instagram account and wondering what could be, light a bunch of candles and watch them burn down while drinking bottom shelf whiskey, or stomp on some ornaments and wildly shriek like Angela on The Office.
Another emo alternative to having plans is not having any plans at all, so if you want to stay in bed all day or post up on couch and do nothing, by all means go for it.
Finally, cry. If nothing else, everyone has earned a colossal cathartic cry this year. Take 12 months worth of bottled up emotions and let them all out. Who are we to look for silver linings and pretend that 2020 didn’t absolutely fucking suck? It’s your Emo Christmas and you can cry if you want to.
Here’s hoping we can have regular Christmas again next year.
WATCH: How to safely celebrate the holidays this year