How to survive being alone for Thanksgiving

You’ve moved away from home, don’t have family nearby to spend Thanksgiving with, how do you get your hands on some turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce? I’ve got some answers.

I’ve spent a lot of Thanksgivings away from family, so I’ve had to find ways to make my own Thanksgiving special.


Ask yourself what kind of Thanksgiving do you want to have. Do you want to be around a lot of people? Do you want it to be just you?

If you could make your own Thanksgiving traditions what would they be? What do you enjoy most about Thanksgiving?

Once you figure all that out, let’s make it happen!thanksgiving2012


Let people know that you’re alone for Thanksgiving. You don’t know what you’re doing, you’re new in town, etc.

Don’t be afraid to speak up about your situation, you will be surprised how many others don’t have anywhere to go or how many people invite you to their tables.

The first year I was in North Carolina my then boss invited me to their house for Thanksgiving. It was the first time I ever hand green bean casserole (not a fan) and a mojito (big fan). We gathered around the table in her beautiful home with her family and it felt great to be invited and be at a table.

The second year, I met an angel at a church, Portia, one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. Her family took me in for Thanksgiving and Christmas that year. But Thanksgiving was funny because we went house hopping! Start at one house, eat, make a to-go plate, then hit up another house and repeat.

We ended the day at her cool aunt’s house (everyone has that “cool aunt”) where we played cards, ate, drank, drank ate, then took a plate home. I had food to last me a full week after Thanksgiving. No lie.

It was all because I let people know I didn’t have anywhere to spend Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving isn’t always about donating turkeys and canned foods, sometimes it’s opening your home (and your family) to a stranger so they can gather around a table too.

I’m thankful for all those families, new people, new traditions I’ve seen over the years. I’ll take all of what I’ve seen to make my future family’s Thanksgiving just how I always imagined it to be.


If you’d rather avoid the awkwardness of waltzing into a home as that stranger (it can be award but that goes away as soon as you dig into the mac and cheese), I’d suggest visiting your local newspaper’s website.

Newspapers usually put together a list of places that are open for Thanksgiving or places that are serving Thanksgiving dinner. There’s always some fancy restaurant doing something too, I’d treat myself to a fancy Thanksgiving dinner at one of those restaurants that spins while you eat.

Or I’d take myself to Golden Corral and eat all I could eat. One thing about being alone for the holidays is, being alone. By now I’m comfortable going out alone and not afraid to be that one person sitting at a table, but if you have the means to make your Thanksgiving the way you want it, do it.

A few years ago, maybe 2013, I cooked my own Thanksgiving dinner at home. I got a huge turkey and made my favorite sides. I’d never baked a turkey before but it all came out nice. I ate and watched movies.

I will admit that wasn’t my ideal Thanksgiving, so I felt a little alone but it was fun to make all the food. Now that I’m older I may do it again, but personally I love that feeling of being in a crowded kitchen chopping onions and gathering with friends and family (even if they’re not mine).

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