This was one of the best performing posts that I wrote in all of 2021, so I had to bring it back. What I found funny was that it really popped off in November, for American Thanksgiving, and not in October, for my Thanksgiving.
I am very content being single, I’m really happy in my life and I only want to add someone to my life if they make it better than I make it on my own, and so far all the men I encounter just add stress, not ease. So, I’m not adding anyone anytime soon. I’m also really lucky that my family is really chill, they never ask questions (they probably think that they don’t want to know lol) they wait for me to bring it up, which I never do. So I know that my family situation is a bit different than most people who have family who are really incessant on the relationship question.
All of that is to say, that I don’t struggle with being single over the holidays. The dark days of winter are more my problem. So if you really, really struggle with being sad about being single over the holidays I don’t know if I will have the best advice for you. But I will try.
To me this is the best option for spending Thanksgiving if you are single. Ideally, all your friends already know your relationship status, so you can avoid the relationship question. And I think the best Friendsgiving friends are the ones that are your family in your town/city. So you don’t have to explain yourself to them about basically anything.
This is also one of the easiest ways to feed yourself on Thanksgiving and still have a special meal. Most Friendsgivings that I have been to are a potluck, so instead of making yourself a full meal that you then have to eat for the next two weeks, you can bring a side and a dessert, or a salad, or a drink. It’s so easy.
I’m planning on attending a Friendsgiving this weekend, and I’m planning on taking this Broccoli Cheese and Rice Casserole that my family only makes for Thanksgiving and Pumpkin Cheesecake (I think, I’m still on the fence about the dessert – I made it last year, and it’s probably going to be expensive this year since inflation). OMG I just re-discovered this recipe for a bourbon sweet potato casserole and I may have to swap our the broccoli cheese and rice casserole for this.
Half-Baked Harvest is really excellent for special recipes, I just scroll through her Thanksgiving and Fall options. I also really like this healthy butternut squash, cranberry, and Brussels sprouts recipe, a friend of mine brought it to a ThanksChrisMukkah I held in 2018 and it is so good. I also always look to Lauren Conrad (I know) for holiday/hosting ideas because nothing she does is too difficult, but it’s very aesthetic and good, these Thanksgiving sides sound wonderful and kind of unique. Dan Pelosi (aka GrossyPelosi) also has an impeccable Thanksgiving section of his website.
So this is interesting, because there are so many ways and stages of life that you could be going home for the holidays in. You could be home for the weekend from college or university, you could be home from your big city job (or your small town job if you’re like me!). You could have a small, chill family, or a huge nosy family.
I think that if you have a huge nosy family that you have to deal with the first step is to identify your allies. Maybe you have a cool aunt who never married or is divorced and can fight the single battles for you, maybe you have a cousin best friend, maybe you have a family member hosting an exchange student that you can befriend (and bonus points you will get brownie points for being so nice to the “new kid”) or maybe it’s playing with the little kids (also a way to get brownie points). You then have these people as a buffer, your cool single aunt can run interference for you, you can ask the exchange student about their holiday traditions, or you can offer to sit at the kids’ table and keep them in line (and avoid that one family member).
The other life stage line is are you expected to contribute to the meal or not. If you are in university and travelling home, probably not, or if you are flying in from far away. If you are in this group, clearing the table and doing the dishes is a great way to still contribute and take some pressure off the cooks and hosts in your family. Or if you are legal and alcohol is okay in your house, sharing a cocktail recipe (and bringing the ingredients) or a couple bottles of wine are perfect things to contribute.
If you are expected or asked to contribute to the meal, any of the sides in the Friendsgiving section would be a great thing to bring. However, if the hosts asks you to bring something in a specific category (salads, bread, hot side, drink, dessert, appetizer, etc.) stick to that category. They are menu planning and are counting on you to fill in a spot in that category. If they ask you to bring a salad, it is very possible that you are the only person they asked to bring a salad and if you don’t they won’t be a salad and there may be too many of whatever you choose to bring instead.
I think that no matter how you spend a holiday it is super important to mark them and make them special for yourself. You deserve to be celebrated, to make memories for yourself, and you don’t need anyone to be with you to have an excuse to make a special meal.
This is the time to think about what foods you love, that you never make for yourself and use this as an excuse to make it for yourself.
I would (and may anyways on Friday even though I do have a Friendsgiving planned) go with the Grossy Pelossi Vodka Sawce for penne alla vodka, with garlic bread, and I don’t know if these flavours all go together, but I have been looking for an excuse to try these Mexican Chocolate Pots du Creme and Thanksgiving may just be my chance. The vodka sawce takes some time to come together, so it is a true labour of love.
If I wanted something more traditional, I would go for one of these Thanksgiving dinners for one or two recipes, TastingTable, NYTCooking, EpiCurious.
This is the second branch of all alone, if you are working on Thanksgiving you are truly contributing to society. You are the backbone of our society (or a victim of capitalism, those are the only two options).
If you can, still try and have a special work lunch, maybe you allow yourself to buy lunch or you save yourself the good leftovers from the night before. Or if you are really lucky, you live near a WholeFoods or Farm Boy and you have access to the holiday hot bar. When I worked in the vet clinic I used to go to the Whole Foods hot bar and they would have turkey, mashed potatoes, the whole nine yards and call my parents.
And don’t forget that you are getting paid time and a half, can you have fun with any of that extra money? Take a look at your budget and see if you can plan to do something nice for yourself when that pay cheque comes through.
I hope this helped you get through a solo holiday, and if you are really struggling, just treat it like any other day. If the holiday is really getting to you, forget about it. Do whatever you would do with a day off, clean your apartment, binge-watch something on Netflix, and stay off social media. It is only going to make you feel worse if you are already feeling sad and lonely. Put the phone down, go for an aesthetic fall walk. But stay off those apps!
Happy Thanksgiving loves,