I’m single, and my immediate family is not what you’d call close. We have not spent the holidays (or any holiday for that matter) together since 2004—and honestly, I can all but guarantee you that we never will again. That’s ok! I much prefer it that way. We all find being around each other incredibly stressful, and it doesn’t bring out the best in us. Not everyone is in a relationship or is blessed with a family they enjoy being around and who are easy to get to for the Holidays—and this time of year, more than others, certainly drives that point home.
Being solo at the Holidays can be really hard. Believe me, I’ve done it. In the past ten years I’ve spent Thanksgivings and Christmases with friends; one or two by myself; and most recently with members of my extended family that don’t include my siblings or parents.
The biggest obstacle to overcome when you’re spending a holiday entirely by yourself is the feeling that you’re missing out—you know that other people are getting together and having a good time—and here you are, sitting on the couch, alone. It’s overwhelming and can feel crushing. Most of the time, I’m more than happy to be alone watching TV, in the dark, in my pjs—but on Holidays, the feeling of being left out is overwhelming and can make you feel like shit. Especially because a lot of restaurants are closed, so you can’t even get food delivered—so you have to prepare, in advance, to be alone when it seems like everyone else is together. It’s a shitty indignity of life that you don’t have to consider if you have a partner or a close family.
So what are you supposed to do? The usual advice you’ll see is get out there and volunteer or invite other friends over in a similar situation to do a Friendsgiving—and sure, if this is news to you and it sounds good, go ahead and do it. However, when I found myself alone at a Holiday, I didn’t do either because whatever job I had at the time was so stressful, the idea of perking myself up to be around strangers when I already felt shitty was too much to bear, so I didn’t do anything.
The Thanksgivings I’ve spent alone usually ended up that way because either I, or the friend I had planned to do something with got sick—so in that case, all I can do is encourage you to keep a frozen pizza stocked in your arsenal in case of an emergency like this, because you’re going to be hard-pressed to find any restaurant open that day.
If you don’t want to be alone at Thanksgiving, drop subtle hints to people in your life that you’ll be alone this Thanksgiving. I have good friends who make it a point to invite me to their family Thanksgivings—if you get an invitation to something like this, I highly encourage you to accept it. Being the solo at someone else’s Thanksgiving is a great experience—you’re not expected to cook, all you have to do is bring the wine (and even then, it’s not a requirement but will get you extra points with your friend’s mom if she’s there), and best of all, you’re going to get to try some other family’s “traditional” Thanksgiving food—because friends, what you consider a Thanksgiving staple, and what other people consider a staple vary wildly and it’s absolutely great to witness (and eat.) In my case, for the past couple of years, I got extremely lucky, because my friend’s mom makes the best pork adobo and pancit I’ve ever had.
If no invitations come, that’s entirely ok—but you need to make sure you have food to eat that day, because again, delivery and take-out are going to be hard to come by. Plan to spend the day doing exactly what you want, and don’t feel guilty if that means day drinking, eating ice cream for breakfast, or watching the entire Twilight saga in one go. (Note: I can attest that this is a great way to spend Thanksgiving, it is Kate Hudson tested and approved.)
Here’s the beauty about being solo at Thanksgiving that most people don’t know about—it’s a fantastic night to go out to bars. Everyone there is either single or so sick of their family they’re there to cut loose. Everyone is chatty, it’s not too crowded, and yet there’s a solidarity you don’t normally find on a random night out. Additionally, not every bar will be open, so people will congregate at only a few open options. I highly encourage you to experience this at least once in your life. It is very fun.
The most important thing you can do if you’re alone at Thanksgiving is to take care of yourself. Embrace that, while you may be solo that day, you’re also not dealing with relatives you can’t stand, rehashing family drama that should have been put to bed long ago, paying for horrible overpriced travel arrangements to get to your destination, or watching your brothers fist fight once again because it’s not a family get together unless blood is spilled (I may speak from personal experience on that last one…)
However your Thanksgiving day shakes out, I hope you enjoy it in a way you see fit.
Header Image Source: NBC