Many of us have an idealized perception of the holidays. For some, spending it alone is a reality due to travel costs, loved ones are no longer around, health issues, or employment. It doesn’t mean it can’t be filled with new adventures or opportunities. Make it a day to relax and enjoy your own wants and needs. Here are 9 ideas to start a new Thanksgiving tradition.
The holiday season is about connecting and re-connecting with those we cherish. Haven’t talked to a friend or family member in a long time? Give a few people a call and start building the bridge to a more regular interaction again. Even if it is just to say they’re on your mind and you wanted to reach out, it will surely brighten their day- and also uplift your own.
Elaine Rodino, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Santa Monica, Calif., says there are so many categories of expectations about the season being just right that it brings up all sorts of issues relating to family, stress and anxiety, eating disorders, sobriety, self-esteem, competency-the list goes on. “There’s this idea that it’s supposed to be perfect, and if it’s not, the person asks, ‘What’s wrong with me?’” She adds that statistically, the number of “traditional households” in this country is not the majority.
Ever Heard Of Friends-Giving?
You may not be able to choose your relatives, but we can choose our friends and those we surround ourselves with. What better way to celebrate the relationships that have been built, the obstacles that have been overcome through the year, and all that has been achieved, than together with your circle of friends? I bet you’d be surprised to find that there are many people in your circle that may not have immediate family nearby, or find family gatherings too stressful to attend. Gather everybody up and make it a unique event to look forward to yearly.
Don’t be shy about asking to be included at a friend’s gathering too; most people will happily welcome you to join and it’s an added bonus if you bring another course-maybe your famous dish or even an incredible store-bought dessert!
Make Your Own Traditions
The weather in Tucson at this time of year encourages being outdoors. Make it a yearly tradition to go on a hike, take up cycling along the Rillito River, or treat yourself to a dinner that you wouldn’t normally splurge on. You can check out several delicious choices here. Enjoy near-empty movie theaters early on in the day. Or, plan ahead and get your favorite take-out the day before Thanksgiving- and save it to enjoy as your holiday meal (no prep and a delicious meal sounds great!).
This doesn’t have to be done at a spa. Consider taking a long bath while watching your favorite movie and a refreshing mock-tail like this delicious spritzer. Stay in your pajamas all day and binge watch a show you’ve been wanting to watch, but haven’t had the time. I know people that genuinely enjoy organizing and re-imagining spaces in their home but don’t have the time to really dig in- why not on Thanksgiving? Creating an enjoyable space within your home can truly help you appreciate what you have, and share with others less fortunate what you don’t need. Make it a day of quality time spent with your best companion- you!
Volunteering at a mission or shelter for the homeless can help increase your connection to the city and community you live in. Find out if your neighbor or anyone in a nursing home or hospital will also be alone and, if appropriate, spend the holiday together. In Tucson, The Salvation Army is looking for volunteers for Thanksgiving and beyond the holidays. Keeping in touch with the community through volunteering keeps you grounded and fulfilled. It is too easy to forget how fortunate we are, even though we all experience hardship in some capacity. Regardless of the obstacles ahead of us, helping others puts life in perspective while helping others.
Welcome An Animal Into Your Home
Think about bringing home a pet that needs all the love and attention you have to offer. Adding an animal to your household is something that requires a lot of serious thought and planning. If adopting an animal is already on your agenda, now might be the perfect time. What better time to bond and spend time with your new roommate than a long weekend?
If you can afford it, get away for a few days. Go skiing, visit the tropics, or seek out a place that has special meaning for you. This is a great time to get deals on vacation spots normally slow at this time of year. Many companies even offer special tours that cater to singles during the holidays. New people and places can help distract you from the holiday blues and bring home unique memories that’ll last a lifetime.
Get Through The Day
Being alone doesn’t mean having to feel lonely. Stay focused on enjoying the day for what it is- even if it is a modified version of a regular day. Relax, watch a movie, get a head start on a project, find something to keep you busy that also brings you joy.
Taking a positive approach to being alone during the holidays makes all the difference between it being something that is dreaded or an event to anticipate. Whether you spend it on your own or decide to carve out new traditions with others, we hope you have a wonderful, healthy, and happy Thanksgiving.