5 Ways to Enjoy Thanksgiving When You're Alone

thanksgiving
Cassie Sheets

Image via Unsplash/Llywelyn Nys

Sometimes we end up alone on the holidays. Our friends go out of town, or we just moved to a new place. We can’t afford to go home to our families, or they just aren’t accepting. Realizing you’re spending a day that you’ve always shared with loved ones alone is not a great feeling, but you don’t need to spend the entire day feeling down. Here are five ways you can survive, and even enjoy, Thanksgiving when you’re alone.

1) Write out a schedule the day before.

You don’t want to wake up Thanksgiving morning completely unsure of how you’re going to spend the rest of the day. Even if your schedule is just sleep in until noon, take a bath, eat snacks, watch Gilmore Girls, and fall asleep, write it out anyway. This helps reinforce that you have Thanksgiving plans, even if they don’t involve other people.

2) Stay off social media.

Seeing all those Thanksgiving meals on Instagram, and Facebook updates and tweets about family won't make you feel better if you’re spending Thanksgiving alone. Instead, enjoy a social media free day. If you want to reach out to friends or family you wish you were spending Thanksgiving with, call them and tell them you’re thinking of them.

3) Make Thanksgiving about thanking yourself.

Is there a book you’ve wanted to read, but haven’t had time for? Read it on Thanksgiving. Want to stream your favorite show or watch movies on Netflix? Have a marathon. Do you need to take care of yourself after a stressful couple of weeks? Spend your morning stretching or going on a long walk if the weather is nice. Use a nice face mask, or take a long bath. Take a one-day news break. 2016 has been a year from hell for a lot of us, so instead of writing down all the things you’re thankful for, try writing down the seemingly impossible things you’re proud you’ve overcome.

4) Make your favorite meal.

You don’t need to be surrounded by other people to have a Thanksgiving feast. Make yourself your favorite meal and watch a great movie or your favorite show, or listen to your favorite album while you’re eating. If you’re not a fan of cooking, call your favorite take-out restaurants and ask if they’ll be open, or order ahead of time and reheat in the oven. If everyone else is spending the day eating delicious food, you deserve to eat delicious food too.

5) Remember that it’s just one day.


In the past, when I’ve had to spend holidays or birthdays alone, it’s helpful to remind myself that it’s just one day. How I spend that day doesn’t define the relationships with people in my life. Spending the day alone doesn’t mean people don’t care about or love me. Scheduling out the entire day will make it feel much shorter, and when it’s time to go to bed you might even wish you had a little more time to spend with yourself. 

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