Alone on Thanksgiving? 10 Things You Can Do…

Written by Ilissa Banhazl, MFT

Are you or someone you know going to be home alone on Thanksgiving. A lot of people are. They can’t get home or they are in transition without many friends. Others don’t have family, some aren’t’ speaking to their family. There are many reasons.

Being alone on any holiday can be challenging, It can feel sad and lonely. I suggest you make time to feel these feelings and then explore ways to enjoy the holiday, “even though”.

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks as the pilgrims did so many years ago. What are you thankful for?

Times can be tough but there are usually 3 to 5 things a day that you can be grateful about. Try keeping a Gratitude Journal by your bed and writing in it each night; 1 to 5 things. As time passes you will begin to feel better about your life. This is also an excellent activity for children at any age.

So what are you thankful for this year? Write it in your Gratitude Journal on Thanksgiving night when you’re alone or after the festivities and before bed. 

Being alone can be nice, serene. Remember that you feel what you think. Can you reframe the way you view the holiday, even though you’re on your own. Take action with your new positive view of your day. You can make your own turkey and stuffing with cranberry sauce or and any other traditional food that you enjoy. You are worth the trouble of cooking for!

Here are 10 things you can do if you are alone on Thanksgiving:

  1. Find other people who are going to be alone and plan something with them.  Throw a Thanksgiving party at your house.
  2. Find somewhere to volunteer. If you can get to a shelter they always need people who can help serve food. Perhaps there’s an elderly person that you might help or join for the holiday?Helping others and seeing how other people cope can give you a new perspective.
  3. If you can’t get to your family or friends set time aside that day to call and check in. Connecting with loved ones can make you feel less isolated and remind you that you are loved.
  4. Take a nice walk and then curl up and read a good book.
  5.  Go see a movie that you’ve wanted to see or rent a movie.
  6. Catch up on housework or school or business. Having down time to do this can feel quite good.
  7. Plan a nice long nap, something you can’t do often.
  8. Go to the gym, stretch, or meditate
  9. Spend the day with your pet.

10.  Play on the internet; facebook etc.

These are just a few suggestions. I’m sure you can think of more. Think about what you enjoy doing. The main point here is that even if you’re alone on Thanksgiving you can make yourself a pleasant day. And remember, it’s just a day and the next day it will be over, back to normal. ” Don’t give the day so much power.

Do you love yourself enough” to be okay with being alone on Thanksgiving?

If you find you are having social issues or family conflict and would like to work on that; feel free to call my office at 626-335-0903. I offer a free phone consultation.

We can talk about what’s going on with you; work on your social skills and relationships. Maybe next Thanksgiving can be different.



About Ilissa Banhazl

Ilissa Banhazl is a licensed marriage and family psychotherapist, former grade school teacher and holds a masters degree in reading. She has a private practice in Glendora, CA and lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and three children. She specializes in adult, adolescent, individual, couple, and family relationship counseling as well as eating disorder treatment and recovery. She facilitates a Women’s Support Group in Glendora as well as a Women’s Disordered Eating & Body Image Group. Ilissa authors 3 therapy blogs, Marriage and Family, Eating Disorders and Group Therapy. You can follow her at FB and Twitter. or
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