How to Celebrate Thanksgiving Alone
Although Thanksgiving is typically thought of as a holiday enjoyed with family and friends, many people celebrate it alone, whether by choice, necessity or circumstance. No matter the reason, you can still have a wonderful, fun, and relaxing Thanksgiving when you’re by yourself.
The best way to celebrate Thanksgiving on your own is to relax and make your own traditions. If you want a slow, restful day, sleep in, have a movie marathon and order pizza or takeout. Go for a walk or hike to take advantage of the empty sidewalks and trails. If you want company, go out to dinner, volunteer at a soup kitchen, or get in touch with local friends.For tips on getting into the Thanksgiving spirit even when you’re on your own, read on!
Relaxing the Day Away
Sleep in if you have the day off.If you don’t have anywhere to be today, take advantage of it! Turn off your alarm before you go to sleep and take your time waking up. Lounge around in bed for a while and enjoy the freedom.
Have a movie marathon or catch up on your favorite shows.Pick out some of your favorite old movies, or pull up your shows on your DVR or Netflix. Curl up in a blanket and pop some popcorn. It’s your day to do whatever you want, guilt-free, so don’t hesitate to relax with a few of your favorite movies.
Read a book and sip a drink.Many people don’t have time to read on a day to day basis, so this free day is the perfect opportunity. Sit down with a new novel or an old favorite, or a stack of magazines you haven’t had time to get to. Sip some hot chocolate, tea, or coffee, or pour a glass of wine or beer.
Pamper yourself to fully enjoy your free day.Take a warm bath with lots of bubbles. Schedule a massage or a spa day. Practice self care and do whatever makes you feel warm, comforted, and loved.
Order food if you’d rather not stress about cooking.One of the best parts about doing Thanksgiving alone is that you don’t have to worry about preparing a big feast if you don’t want to. If you don’t feel like making a turkey, order pizza or takeout. Cook up something easy and stress-free at home. Finish it off with an easy, tasty dessert like ice cream.
- If you’re ordering out, look up restaurants online a day or so before Thanksgiving to see what will be open. Big chains and fast food places are the most likely to stay open.
- This day is all about you, so eat whatever you want. Don’t feel pressured to have a turkey just because you feel like you should.
Going Out and Getting Active on Thanksgiving
Go out for dinner if you want company.Being alone on Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you have to stay in. If you feel like being around people and taking a break from cooking, look on the Internet or call a few restaurants to see what’s open. You can chat with the servers and the other people at the restaurant while enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner that you, unlike most people, won’t have to make!
Catch a movie at the theater.Most major movie theaters are open 365 days a year, so you shouldn’t have a problem heading to a showing of a new film. The theater won’t be too crowded, so take whatever seat you want. Grab some popcorn or candy on the way in, then sit back and relax!
Take a walk or go for a jog to get some fresh air.Even if you live in a big city, the sidewalks will probably be pretty empty. Take advantage of it by heading out for a refreshing walk or jog. Head to a nearby park or trail to enjoy some nature on a day where most people are stuck inside.
- Remember to dress warmly if it’s cold out!
Do some holiday shopping or prepare for Black Friday.Look online or call to see what stores are open. Many stores are open on Thanksgiving Day, or open their doors that evening to prepare for Black Friday shoppers. Get in early to avoid the rush and take care of some of your holiday shopping, or buy a few new things for yourself!
- If you’d rather not brave the crowds, try online shopping. Some stores even have online deals that don’t apply in-store.
Take a vacation to another city if you have time to plan.If you have the funds to travel, book a flight or take a road trip out of town. Head to a tropical destination, or go skiing in the mountains. Exploring a new area, even if it’s not too far from your own town, is a fun and adventurous way to get your mind off of Thanksgiving.
- If you can afford it, going to a foreign country is the best way to distract yourself from Thanksgiving, since it’s not celebrated on the same day in any other country.
Volunteering and Giving Back
Volunteer at a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter.Call ahead to see what you can do. You might be asked to make a dish, or simply to show up at a certain time to serve up mashed potatoes and turkey. You’ll be able to talk with others, hear their stories, and help them out, even if its in a small way.
Donate old clothes and other items to Goodwill or another charity.Go through your closet and drawers and toss anything you haven’t worn or used in a while into a box. Call the charity to see if they’re open on Thanksgiving. If not, label the box neatly and bring it to them when they’re open, or arrange for a pick up.
Visit a nursing home and talk with the residents.Look online to see where the nearest nursing home is to you. Give them a call and ask when visiting hours are on Thanksgiving. Plan a couple things to do during your visit, like helping them decorate for the holidays, sharing some turkey and stuffing, or simply enjoying some music or a movie. Ask the nursing home what activities they allow and recommend.
Visit an animal shelter or donate pet food.Call up the nearest animal shelter and ask if they’re open on Thanksgiving. Tell them you’re interested in helping out any way you can and ask for their recommendations. You might be asked to come play with the animals for a while, or for a donation of pet food, toys, or bedding. Giving back to animals in need, and even getting to see or play with them, will help you feel warm and wonderful on Thanksgiving, even if you’re alone.
- If the shelter isn’t open, set aside some dog or cat food and toys to bring over after the holiday.
Getting into the Spirit on Your Own
Celebrate with local friends who are on their own too.A few days before Thanksgiving, ask your friends what their plans are. If you’re not the only one spending Thanksgiving alone, ask if they’d like to do something together. You could do a Thanksgiving potluck together, or simply arrange to do something fun during the day, like catching a movie or going out for dinner.
- A local friend might even invite you over for dinner with their family. If you want to accept, say, “Thank you so much. That would be great. What can I bring?” If you’d rather decline, just say, “I really appreciate the invitation. I’m set on just relaxing this holiday season, but maybe I could take you up on that offer next year?”
Head to a community dinner if you want company.Many smaller towns and communities host a Thanksgiving dinner for residents, often through a church or rec center. Go online to see what options you have locally, or talk to your neighbors and local friends. You can chat with neighbors and friends, meet new people, and enjoy a home-cooked meal and maybe even some games.
- Check ahead of time to see if your community hosts a dinner, in case you have to RSVP.
Deck out your home with Thanksgiving decorations.Make a Thanksgiving wreath or deck out your table in a festive, fall theme. Bring out Thanksgiving decorations and pictures or items that remind you of wonderful times with your loved ones. A few fun decorations can bring you into the Thanksgiving spirit, even when you’re alone.
- Some people find that decorating their home and thinking of their loved ones helps them feel warm and happy during a Thanksgiving spent alone. It’s okay if you don’t feel the same. If decorating for Thanksgiving makes you feel lonely or miss your family or friends, feel free to skip it.
Skype or call in if your family is away.If you wanted to join your family or friends for Thanksgiving but weren’t able to, use modern technology to feel included. Call them to say hello to everybody and hear their latest news. You can also arrange a Skype or video call to feel like you’re right there with them.
Make a Thanksgiving dinner just for yourself.Make a big turkey and some stuffing, mash a few potatoes and cook up some corn and other veggies. You can make the full meal and enjoy leftovers for a few days (or weeks!), or make a modified Thanksgiving dinner for one with deli turkey, a baked potato, and some or canned corn.
- Make whatever dishes help you feel the most Thanksgiving spirit. Don’t forget the pie!
Watch the Thanksgiving Day parade or football.Tune into the traditional Thanksgiving programming to feel a part of the holiday. Turn on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and watch the elaborate floats and fun performances. If you like sports, tune in for big Thanksgiving matchups in football. Check other channels to see if any festive movies or shows are on.
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