Preparing for Holidays Alone

This coming weekend is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. The technical day is this coming Monday, the second Monday in October. And while I might feel a bit hypocritical writing this when I actually do have plans this Thanksgiving, I wasn’t expecting to, and I have spent most Thanksgiving weekends alone since I went to university back in 2011 (yes, 10 years ago, I can’t but also totally can believe that) and I was totally expecting until last week really to be spending this Thanksgiving alone as well. It can be hard to acknowledge holidays when you don’t have anyone to spend them with, and so I want to help make it easier for all of us.

My parents’ neighbours’ farm looks best in autumn.

Make plans for yourself

Do whatever you want to do, or what you need to do. Are you not going home for the holiday because you can’t afford to? Work it, and stick that time and a half in a savings account or envelope and save it so that you can afford to go home for the next holiday (or whatever your big holiday is, Christmas, Diwali, Rosh Hashanah and Shana Tova, whatever). Work on your side hustle (I am actually picking up some pet sitting gigs). It definitely sucks to have to work on a holiday, but see it as an investment in your goals and yourself.

If your workplace is closed and you haven’t subscribed to hustle culture, think about what you tell yourself you are going to do every autumn and then never do. Do you say to yourself every single year “This will be the year I go apple picking.” , “This will be the year I actually go for that drive to see where the leaves are.”, “This year I’m going to a pumpkin patch.”, or “This year I’m going to try and bake that thing.”. Whatever it is that you say you will do, and then don’t do, plan it. Make it happen this year and use this long weekend when these sights are likely to be less busy to do them. If you aren’t working you have an extra day to your long-weekend and no obligations, take advantage of it!

You could also just plan on doing a movie marathon! I wrote a blog post of fall, but not Halloween, movies that would be perfect for a Thanksgiving weekend movie marathon. This could also be a great option if you are having bad weather or it’s already quite cold with you.

Hike or go for a walk. Make sure you get out of the house at least once over the weekend. It can be really easy to just stay in and Netflix the long weekend away when you don’t have any obligations. Go for a walk, enjoy the fall weather, and the leaves are always at their best over Thanksgiving weekend in my opinion.

Plan a special meal for yourself

A big focus of these holidays is often food. You don’t have to go overboard, but if you don’t cook, you’re sick of cooking, or you think you can’t cook, plan some special take out, see if any of your local restaurants are doing any special menus (if you live near Oakville, Ontario, check out Kerr St. Cafe’s freezer options. All you have to do is pop them in the oven!) to take the pressure off yourself. If you have the time or live somewhere like where I do and there isn’t any take out, plan something special for yourself. I also did a Thanksgiving menu post, but generally, I think that this is your chance to try something really different for yourself. I personally wouldn’t make a turkey dinner for myself, although this sheet pan Thanksgiving dinner actually looks amazing. For example, my dad doesn’t like pasta, so we would almost never have it growing up, so a fancy pasta dish would be something I would go for, or even just something slightly fancier than what you would normally make. And a dessert, of course.

It’s just you, you can do whatever you want, sit with yourself for a bit and don’t do anything because you feel like you should. You are spending the holiday alone, so this is the ultimate you do you, luxury time for yourself.

Stay off social media

I’m really bad at this, so this is a do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do moment. But if you are someone who is likely to experience FOMO watching people story or post about time with their families, significant others, or friends, stay away. Seriously, turn off your phone. It will all be there tomorrow when you might be less sensitive to it, so pop your phone in a drawer or cupboard you aren’t likely to open and do your very best to forget about it.

Make plans for a friends-giving after the holiday weekend

So a big thing with this is that I often find myself saying, I have friends, they’re just busy right now. And that’s true for everyone. They might live closer to their families or have partners that they spend the holiday with, and you might be single or live farther away from home. That is okay, but take the initiative to plan a friends-giving with them for the next week, or for American Thanksgiving. Take the time to celebrate your friendships and demonstrate your gratefulness for them. And it gives you an opportunity to have that community and gathering feelings associated with the holidays.

And for a final piece of advice, don’t get your Thanksgiving dinner on your lunch from a cafeteria or hot bar, I promise it’s just depressing.

Do you have any tips for getting through holidays alone?


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