These days you can’t walk out your door without being reminded that the HOLIDAYS ARE UPON US! Try as you might to avoid the onslaught, you’ll fail. If it started snowing sparkling pinecones or fancy turkeys right this very moment I wouldn’t even be shocked.
That being said, if you aren’t lucky enough to live within throwing distance from your family, the holidays can be downright depressing as shit.
I know this to be a fact because since I moved out of my parents house at 18 the holidays have been an uncomfortable dance where I try to figure out the least depressing way to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas in the absence of my family. Of the nine Thanksgivings and Christmases that have taken place since I moved out, only TWICE have I had the pleasure of seeing my family on Thanksgiving.
With turkey day nearly upon us, and another year approaching where I will NOT be breaking bread with my family, I’d like to give those of you also in my situation some tips I’ve learned over the years.
TIP #1: AVOID OTHER PEOPLE’S THANKSGIVINGS. Sorry, did that sound harsh? I mean, I am always so appreciative when people invite me to share Thanksgiving with their family. This is something they don’t have to do, and they are clearly extending the proverbial turkey leg because they do not wish me to have to spend this holiday of togetherness alone. BUT, other families Thanksgiving traditions are THEIR traditions. When you jump in, no matter how close you are with someone else’s family, it just feels fucking weird. Everyone has their own family dynamics, their own drama, their own traditions, and every time I’ve done this dance I’ve spent the entire time comparing it to my own family, feeling really weird as I make small talk with my friend’s random uncle sitting next to me and spending the whole time wishing I was at home getting drunk watching reruns of Gilmore Girls.
TIP #2: PRETEND THE TURKEY LOVING HOLIDAY ISN’T HAPPENEING. Honestly. After my first Thanksgiving where I crashed someone else’s family meal I vowed to avoid that shit like the plague. It wasn’t horrible, it was pleasant and a super nice gesture, but I didn’t need the half assed Thanksgiving where I watched my p’s and q’s and didn’t get to unbutton my pants when I got too full. If I couldn’t do it with my family, I wasn’t doing it anymore. Thankfully I had another friend in college who couldn’t fly home for Thanksgiving so one year we said FUCK IT, drove to Vancouver, BC and spent the day of feasting and thankfulness in a country that didn’t know it was a holiday. We shopped, we ate amazing Italian food, we went clubbing and got absolutely stumble down wasted while giving the middle finger to America and her turkey. And it was my favorite Thanksgiving YET.
TIP #3: RECREATE THE FEELING OF FAMILY TOGETHERNESS WITH OTHER FAMILY-VOID AMIGOS. Can’t see your family? Avoiding your family? Know other people doing the same? I THINK THAT CALLS FOR A POTLUCK! I haven’t ever had the pleasure of collecting together a group of people also family-less on Thanksgiving, but I know friends who have, and I once did a miniature version of this kind of turkey day — and no matter how you slice it, getting friends together on this day of thanks is 100 times better than sitting at home eating a pot pie or sitting through someone else's family drama. My sister joined me one year in Seattle since neither of us could fly home to be with our parents, and we spent the day watching movies, we made a roast chicken for dinner, and ended the night with a shit ton of wine and chick flicks. A friend of mine recently joined up with a larger group of anti-Thanksgiving-ers for a potluck complete with a champagne brunch and some of the Thanksgiving classics. If I do this style next year I think it would be more fun to deviate from tradition. Screw turkey and taters, how about an Asian theme? BBQ? Delux make your own pizza! Doesn’t matter what you eat, it’s about being with people you enjoy.
TIP #4: MAKE A NEW TRADITION. I am probably going to spend very few future Thanksgivings with my family. It’s a fact. I live in Alaska, they live in California, the entire holiday is about 7 seconds long, and flights are always out of control. But I will be spending a lot of time with Senior Adam. So this year we’ve decided to make our own damn tradition. I’m not cooking, because F-YOU Thanksgiving I cook EVERY DAMN DAY, and instead I booked us a reservation at the one restaurant in Anchorage I’ve been dying to try. It’s called 7 Glaciers, and you ride a gondola to the top of a ski resort and then you dine while looking at THIS.
Sure, I wish things were different and I could just hop in the car and Adam and I could spend the night with my parents, feasting on the traditional Thanksgiving I grew up with. But since I can’t I am going to relish in the fact that this year Adam and I will treat ourselves to an awesome meal with an awesome view. There will be so much awesome I won’t even have a chance to feel sorry for myself.
So, to anyone else unable to celebrate with your family this year I hope my tips help. And remember, if you’re feeling lonely this holiday season, that’s why they invented wine and Netflix instant play.