Thanksgiving for one: making a solitary holiday special

Have you ever spent Thanksgiving by yourself? You’re not alone! Maybe you are one of the people who…

  • Are single and live alone; a growing population in nearly every age range.
  • Share custody of their kids and it’s not their turn to spend Thanksgiving with them this year.
  • Can’t afford to travel to see distant relatives.
  • Don’t have any family members left or are estranged from their family.
  • Work on Thanksgiving Day or on Black Friday.
  • Experience depression, anxiety or other challenges that cause them to isolate.
  • Enjoy having the day to themselves.

While it can be challenging to feel thankful on a day that promotes relationships and togetherness, it is possible. Here is how I handle Thanksgiving and other holidays alone.

Accept that a solitary Thanksgiving can feel lonely…but also feel “normal” and enjoyable.

The first thing to realize is you are not alone and you are not a bad person because you are not sharing Thanksgiving with family or friends. As mentioned, many other people are just like you.

Don’t be fooled by advertising. Steel yourself against the ads, commercials, articles and store displays that convey ideal but unrealistic images of joyful family reunions and picture-perfect meals.Thanksgiving Day rarely lives up to its marketing, and for many families, it is actually rather stressful. In fact, more alcohol is consumed on Thanksgiving than any other holiday. Out-sized expectations, family arguments, alcohol abuse and travel challenges are just some of the problems you won’t face. You may find that you actually cherish the freedom of a day to do whatever you please.

Accept your situation. Yes, you may feel lonely on Thanksgiving, but at the same time, you are not powerless to improve your day. Hopefully, you will realize that the day can be whatever you make it. So make it enjoyable for you!

Make advance plans for your Thanksgiving Day

Planning gives you options, as well as something wonderful to look forward to. Think about what you would enjoy doing do in the morning, afternoon and evening.

A well-developed plan will go a long way to alleviating any sadness or depression you may feel when Thanksgiving Day arrives. Trust me, after Thanksgiving, you’ll be so glad you put some effort into making your holiday special.

Consider these four elements in planning your day. You won’t have time to be lonely! All these are explored this month in this blog.

  1. Self-care.
  2. A personally meaningful way to express gratitude.
  3. A special meal.
  4. A fun activity.

Have you ever spent Thanksgiving alone before? What did you do to enjoy your day?

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