Six ways to celebrate Thanksgiving if you can’t be with your family this year

As much as we love to be with family during the holidays (even if they sometimes drive us crazy…no offense, Mom, because I know you’re reading this) sometimes we can’t get there. Work schedules, budgets and just plain old life intervene and before we know it, we’re on our own for Thanksgiving. This can be unsettling, especially if it’s your very first Thanksgiving away from home.

No worries! We love you, so we’re here to help. If you’re away from your family, Thanksgiving might be a little different, but it doesn’t have to be sad or lonely. Here’s a fun list of ways you can celebrate if you’re on your own:

1. Host a Friendsgiving celebration

You might feel like you’re alone, but you’re not. We promise. Chances are you know lots of people who aren’t making the trip home for the holiday. Even if your besties ARE getting away for the actual day of Thanksgiving, who’s to say you can’t hold your own feast the day after? I mean, there’s no law against eating turkey and green bean casserole on Friday or Saturday. (All that stuff will be half-price after Thursday anyway. Just saying.) If you’re hosting Friendsgiving after the actual day of Thanksgiving, bake pies all day on Thursday. Put the casseroles together. You’ll be so busy preparing for Friendsgiving that you won’t even realize what day it is.

If you’ve got friends who are on their own, invite them over. Have your own celebration on Thursday. Most importantly, don’t look at it as a consolation prize! Yes, families are awesome. But once we reach adulthood, let’s face it. Our friends are oftentimes the ones who love and support us the most on a day-to-day basis.

Friendsgiving is awesome! If you need more proof, you can read all about it here.

2. Volunteer

The best way to forget feeling down is to help someone else. TRUST. Most communities hold some type of group Thanksgiving dinner for people in need and sure, that’s a great volunteer opportunity. But there are loads of other places that need help for the holidays. Nursing home residents are ALWAYS happy to see a smiling face. And animal shelters are notoriously understaffed on Thanksgiving Day. Cuddling with adorable dogs and cats is a sure way to beat the holiday blues. Which leads me to our next suggestion…

3. Adopt a pet

OK, obviously we’re not advocating an impulse decision here. Adding a cat or dog (or hamster, guinea pig, rabbit, whatevs) to your household is something that requires a lot of serious thought and planning. But if adopting an animal is already on your agenda, now might the perfect time. If you’re on your own for Thanksgiving, your apartment or house will probably be a nice, calm atmosphere. You’ll probably be working less than usual, so you’ll have plenty of time to bond with your new pal. It’s something to think about. I mean, adopting an orange rescue cat and naming it Pumpkin would be a pretty awesome way to spend Thanksgiving. Who needs pie, amirite? (But you can still totally eat pie.)

4. Have a spa day

Bubble bath, facial mask, mani-pedi. Maybe a little wine? ALL OF THE YES. This is the sort of thing we always say we’re going to do, but somehow we never find the time. If you need suggestions on how to make this the most relaxing day ever, check out this article.

5. Set the record for binge watching

Go all out. Watch ALL of the shows. There are the obvious Thanksgiving-themed choices, like the Slaps-giving episodes of How I Met Your Mother and all of the Friends Thanksgiving eps (Remember Monica shimmying with a giant raw turkey on her head? Of course you do.) But hey, who says you have to watch anything remotely holiday related? Why not just indulge in some awesomely good TV. Check out the A.V. Club’s 25 Shows to Binge Watch This Thanksgiving Weekend. They know their stuff.

6. Mark something off your bucket list

Is there something you’ve been longing to do, but you just haven’t gotten around to it? Maybe it’s something completely out of your comfort zone. Maybe it’s even a little outrageous. DO IT.

However you spend Thanksgiving, remember that you’re alive, you rock and you’re in charge of the day. It can be whatever you want it to be.

[Image via 20th Century Fox.]

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