5 Easy Tips to Enjoy Thanksgiving Alone

  It’s just a couple days until our major autumn holiday of Thanksgiving.  Most folks will gather together with their families for plentiful food and festivities.  Gatherings, both small and large, will be celebrating the day we give thanks for the harvest.  Blessings will be counted and prayers said around a table full of enough food to feed many more.  Memories will be remembered and created for both young and old.

But what if you don’t have family to fill all the chairs at the dinner table?  What if by choice or circumstances you are spending Thanksgiving alone this year?  Over the years, I’ve gone from dreading holidays and crying in my Diet Coke, to embracing my time alone.  Here are 5 tips to help get you through the day.

  1. Know what makes you happy.  Forget about what everyone else is doing that day.  Let someone else drown their sorrows in the gravy boat.  What brings you joy?  What makes you happy?  What are your favorite foods, TV shows, movies, games, books, activities?  Foods?  Make a list of everything.
  2. Make a plan.  Narrow your list to the things you most want to do.  Make a menu of food you are going to prepare or go out to eat.  Pay attention to details.  If you’re cooking at home, make a list of all items you need from the grocery store.  Plan when you’re going to eat and what you’ll be doing before and after.  If you’re volunteering at a shelter to feed the homeless, know which one and contact them.  If you’re going to wrap up in a blanket and watch old Doris Day movies, have that blanket freshly washed and the popcorn and movies ready.  Be prepared.
  3. Act on your plan.  Go to the grocery store.  Line up the movies you want to rent, borrow, or check out at the library.  Download a book you’ve been wanting to read to your Kindle.  If you plan on crocheting or knitting, have your yarn, hooks, and needles ready and waiting.  Get all your craft supplies together for a crafty day, or all the pampering skin care products for a home spa day.   Prepare yourself for having an awesome day!
  4. Think positive.  Maybe you’d rather be with Prince Charming than a DVD of When Harry Met Sally, but Prince Charming didn’t show up so forget about him.  This is your day to take care of you.  Take advantage of this time alone to do something you love to do and brings you joy.
  5. Be grateful.  You may rather have had the day be different, but focus on the positive, all the great things you can do and maybe even a new tradition or two.  God has blessed you with this day.  Put joy in it and be thankful for all you do have.

How will you be spending Thanksgiving?  Do you have a plan?


Turkey & Traditions

  In less than two weeks, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day. This is the day when families gather together to eat a tremendous amount of food, and give thanks for the blessings of the harvest God has given them.  

Most families have a tradition of what food is served, what activities they do together, if any, and whose home it will all take place. For those of us who have a few decades behind us, there are bound to be many memories of past Thanksgivings.   Most memories will warm the heart and perhaps bring a tear to the eyes, but all of them have helped mold our Thanksgiving celebration into what it is today.
The preparations for Thanksgiving seemed to begin days earlier for mom and grandma as they baked bread, rolls, pumpkin and cherry pies, pumpkin cake, and maybe some fudge and potato candy got thrown into the mix.  Noodles were rolled, cut, and left to dry.  A huge bowl of fruit salad was prepared, and fruit nut bread was already stored away waiting.  Everything was made from scratch.  I didn’t know there was any other way.

Growing up on a small dairy farm, our schedule of Thanksgiving Day events may have been a little different than some.  Mom was up in the wee hours of the morning to prepare and stuff the turkey before putting it in the oven.  Then she’d wake up dad and the boys to go to the barn and do the morning chores and milking.  I’d get to sleep a little longer and my job was to take care of my little brother, Joey.

After the milking and chores, mom would come back into the house and start cooking while dad and the boys went rabbit hunting with a couple beagle dogs.  When I was really small, I was allowed to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on our black & white TV, but as I became old enough to help in the kitchen, more time was spent helping there, but we all took sneak peeks at the parade.

Promptly at noon, dad and the boys would come back from their hunting.  Sometimes they had a couple rabbits, sometimes not.  They’d get cleaned up for dinner and we’d all sit around the table in our assigned places.  Mom or grandma would say grace and then dad would begin the procession of food around the table.  It was tradition.

We kids all grew older and one by one left the farm.  Traditions changed and it became harder to get everyone together for Thanksgiving.  Family members passed away.  Marriage and divorce happened for me.  Then one year there were only three of us to sit at the table together.  After mom passed away, so did the tradition.

For a few years, I was pretty sad at Thanksgiving.  But life goes on and I’m a survivor, so I began creating new traditions just for me.  Yes, it can be done.  For many years, I volunteered to work every Thanksgiving and that became my tradition.  Then I retired, so I had to come up with something new.  For a few years, I would put a turkey breast in the slow cooker and fix green beans and herb dressing in the microwave.  It wasn’t a feast like years before, but it was still a feast!  And I spent the day with my pets and watched Christmas movies.  It became a tradition.

This year, the menu is changing to beef stew in the slow cooker and pumpkin pie for dessert.  But the tradition of spending the day with my fur family and watching Christmas movies will remain.  It makes me happy.

As life happens, traditions can be a saving grace, or a bittersweet memory.  Circumstances sometime dictate that we make changes.  It can be exciting to start new traditions tailored just for you!  Traditions can also bring comfort.  I pray everyone finds comfort in a tradition this Thanksgiving, new or old.  It’s something to be grateful for.

Do you have a new tradition for Thanksgiving this year?