November 11, 2010

Thankfully Alone (Redux)

Thanksgiving is just a couple of weeks away so I'm reprising a post from last year. If you're going to be alone on Thanksgiving, now's the time to start planning how you will spend your day so you can make the most of it...

You can ask anyone. I'm not a people person. I'm task-oriented, and to be honest, I thrive on alone-time. Those of you who are not task-oriented seem to think that's a character flaw. That's okay, because like everyone else who is task-oriented, I know you would be lost without people like me. We're the ones who can focus long enough to figure out the things that seem to overwhelm you. (I suddenly have an awful feeling I stole that line from The Big Bang Theory.)

If you're task-oriented and single, it's a saving grace. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and I'm running across blogs about how awful it is to be alone on Thanksgiving. I get that, I know being alone on a holiday is hard for a lot of people. But the task-oriented side of me wants to scream, "FIND SOMETHING TO DO AND YOU'LL GET OVER IT!!!"

I have been alone on Thanksgiving, and while the first time was dreadful -- largely because of the full-fledged pity party I threw myself -- I had a plan in place the next year. I accepted that a whole day with no place to be and nothing I had to do a month before Christmas is nothing less than a gift from God.

You see, I love for my house to be decorated for Christmas, but it doesn't always happen because the time to get it done is so hard to come by. So I decided to use that day alone to my advantage and I began a tradition of putting my Christmas tree up on Thanksgiving Day. Granted, this only works if you have an artificial tree, because burning the house down would be grounds for more self-pity, but since I have cats (there's that whole Borderline Crazy Cat Lady thing), I find an artificial tree is the only way to go. You can also leave an artificial tree up as long as you want, which is clearly another advantage. (One year I woke up on January 8th to discover an unexpected snowstorm had hit overnight. Obviously even God was embarrassed that my tree was still up and he gave me another gift - a surprise snow day to take the thing down!)

Over the years, my Thanksgiving Day plan changed a little. One year I had single friends over for Thanksgiving dinner. A couple of years I baked my grandmother's pumpkin chiffon pie to take to another friend's house. But as soon as I could, I'd get my tree out and start decorating. That allowed me to relax and enjoy the weeks leading up to Christmas, smiling to myself each time I opened my front door.

In recent years, my family has been in town for Thanksgiving, and we have begun spending the day with the cousins we used to spend Thanksgiving with when we were kids. It's a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving that makes me want to sing "Over the River and through the Woods..." as it brings back memories of grandparents and parents who are no longer with us. I love these Thanksgivings, but I know that should I find myself alone again on Thanksgiving Day, it will be okay because I have a plan.

Maybe your plan is different. Maybe you want to stay in your pajamas all day and watch Christmas movies or sit down with that book that you've been wanting to read. If you're a people-person, you can sign up to serve food at a shelter, or if you love to cook, you can have other singles or empty-nest couples over to your house for dinner. (Don't assume you're the only one in the world who is alone for Thanksgiving. Ask around and you'll find others who will be by themselves, and while some are perfectly happy to spend the day alone, others are hoping for an invitation.) If you don't like to cook, make the meal potluck. If you like to organize people, get a group together to cook and take food to the home-bound in your neighborhood or your church. The point is to find something that suits your personality, keeps you busy, and fills you with a spirit of matter how you choose to spend the day.

Until next time,

"...give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." - I Thessalonians 5:18


  1. I agree completely. I love being by myself. My friends who are also single constantly complain about being lonely and bored without a man. To which I say-- find something to do! :)

  2. I found something to do during the Canadian Thanksgiving last month, but as a people person, I surely didn't get over it! As I took a weekend road trip to get a good dose of nature (autumn colours, lakes, and rolling hills) I couldn't help but think (a lot) of how I wished that I could share that awesome beauty with someone. The silver lining in that experience however, was that I was able to relive some warm memories of Thanksgivings past with extended family and also gain a renewed appreciation for family. So next year, there will definitely be a group of family/friends getting together to create new warm memories.

  3. margaret,

    you are VERY welcome to celebrate thanksgiving with us. i will
    have lots of extended family who are very interesting and would
    love you.

    i know you were NOT fishing for that but encouraging people to
    make plans.

    we would love for you to include us in your plans.


  4. When I find myself alone on a holiday I always make sure I have something to do and try to put s positive spin on the alone time. Sometimes it is successful other times, not so much.

    I spend Thanksgiving wherever my parents do. Every other year they have dinner at their house, the next they go to Grandma's. The day after, especially if my son is at his dad's house is that hardest for me so I spend the day putting up the Christmas decorations.

  5. Staying busy makes being alone on a holiday much easier. I can actually look back on most of those Thanksgivings I spent alone rather fondly.

    The first one? Not so much. I can't begin to express how awful it was. ;-)

  6. Hey Margaret . . . I am following you from the Lady Bloggers Society :-)

    This is the first year I will not spend my holidays alone since my husband passed away 8 years ago.

    It will be a different experience since I could not get into holiday festivities and didn't participate most of the time. I preferred my aloneness than feeling lonely in a crowded room.

    I'm looking forward to exploring more of your blog when I have more time . . . you are an awesome writer!

    Visit my blog when you get a chance . . .

    Cheers . . . Gina