For many, Thanksgiving is a yearly occasion to spend time with family, sharing gratitude, warmth, and happiness. It’s usually a time of the year that people look forward with enthusiasm, filling up on good food and company. But what if you can’t make it home to celebrate with your family like you want to? Sometimes life gets in the way. Work, finances, or other reasons may make it difficult for you to go home home. While there’s no way to replace Thanksgiving at home, here are some ways to celebrate and feel the warmth and joy of the season.
1. Thanksgiving by yourself or with your partner
While it might not seem ideal, you can make Thanksgiving work with just your partner or even by yourself. Some great ways to keep the loneliness or more negative feelings at bay are to:
- Enjoy making food that you (both) enjoy.
Enjoy preparing it together and be thankful that you have this time to do so. Bonus: you won’t have or have to eat any dishes that you don’t like!
- Count your blessings.
Instead of focusing on what you can’t have, make a mental list of everything that you do and practice gratefulness every time that you encounter that thing. Food? Your partner? A roof over your head? Be grateful and let that feeling warm your heart.
- Try something new.
Try your hand at new recipes a few days ahead of Thanksgiving and then make whatever turned out to be a success on Thanksgiving itself. Start new traditions all by yourself!
If you don’t have a partner or don’t want to celebrate by yourself, reach out to your friends. Friendsgiving can be just as wholesome as a family Thanksgiving. You can do fun things like:
- Have a potluck.
Everyone brings a dish so you can all enjoy each other’s cooking.
- Invite friends that aren’t in the same circle.
It's a great opportunity to meet new people as well as help others who may be also be alone at Thanksgiving.
- Have a pie contest.
The judge could be one of you, or someone else entirely.
- Make themed Thanksgiving drinks.
- Play games.
Like Monopoly, Clue, and Twister (maybe before eating, though).
- Share stories and bond.
Go around the table and tell each other what’s your favorite thing about Thanksgiving and maybe what you miss about being home for it.
3. Reaching out to others in your neighborhood
Maybe you’re new to the area you’re living in, haven’t made friends yet, or all your friends are busy. There still may be people near you that are free for Thanksgiving. Here are some ideas of who you could reach out to:
- Nursing home near you
You’d be surprised by how many other people find themselves alone on Thanksgiving, and the nature of the day can make it so much more difficult than any other ordinary day. You can enjoy all the normal Thanksgiving practices, and also have the added benefits of not only making new connections, but brightening someone else’s day too. And who knows, you might even make a lifelong friend or two.
4. Reaching out to the less fortunate
Another great idea is doing something for people who are less fortunate than you. They can be:
- Deployed military personnel
You could volunteer at a soup kitchen, spend time at an orphanage, or even send care packages to military personnel away from home. If that isn’t your cup of tea, you could just as well do a charity run to give to the less fortunate indirectly, and do good that way while getting some exercise.
Thanksgiving away from home can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. You can still make it a wonderful time and bring joy to others as well as yourself. We hope this article helped – Happy Thanksgiving!