single holding a give thanks sign

A Single’s Guide To Surviving Thanksgiving

In Single by Debra Fileta

Hey friends! I hope you enjoy this awesome guest post written by a reader, who also happens to be a single male! I LOVED his perspective on getting through the holidays as a single, so I asked him to share some of his ideas. Give it a read!! – Love, Debra

I have finally arrived at that time so many of us singles face: the first Thanksgiving away from my family.

The feeling is a bit like the first time a child is left home: giddy and gleeful, ready to party; yet also feeling apprehensive because of the necessary question, “What party?” This new freedom is a bit frightening, but I promised my mom I will not spend this Thanksgiving alone, so I got creative. And what I came up with can help anyone who may be wondering what to do this holiday season.

Before I get into my ideas, it’s important to discuss fundamentals. As obvious as it may sound, not spending time alone means either gathering or joining other people. To prevent being alone this Thanksgiving, I needed to talk with my friends about their plans. The fear of humiliation immediately struck when I considered telling people I don’t have plans, but was quickly quieted when I remembered I have nothing to lose. Indeed, I am certain my friends will think no less of me and will enjoy my company.

Next, in the spirit of honesty, I see the holidays as a great time to get to know all of my friends better–male and female alike. Though I advise against using the holidays as a time to “go fishing” for a date, I do see in them a golden opportunity to get to know people’s stories better, singles included. And [as Debra has said numerous times,] learning someone’s history and character is vital when considering moving into a dating relationship.

Now let’s dig into some ways to alleviate loneliness and enjoy the holidays:

#1  Go on a Thanksgiving hike

All my life I have seen holidays as “down-time.” They were days to visit with extended family, to travel, and to do whatever it is people do on each specific holiday. But I’m finding that this traditional mindset has limited me from making the most of these special days, and indeed sometimes prevented me from enjoying them at all. This holiday season I’m taking a different approach by exploring how to make the most of each day. On Thanksgiving we gather around a feast, so why not prepare an exceptionally large appetite beforehand? Taking advantage of where we live, a group of friends and I will spend the day hiking into the snow-dusted mountains which loom just over my backyard. Many of my favorite moments happened during hikes, so this seems like a beautiful excuse to make more memories. And it is a two-for-one deal, preparing for the next item in this list.

#2 Host a Friendsgiving

When it comes to making plans for holidays, I have a rule: don’t use ideas from sitcoms. Television shows thrive on drama, and drama is bad for holidays (and most other days). The prime example is Seinfeld’s “Festivus.” No way am I doing anything remotely similar with my friends and family. But on one of my favorite shows, How I Met Your Mother, the characters spend each Thanksgiving together (three are single, two are married). That seems like a great idea, so this year I’m breaking my rule in order to improve it.

This year I’m hosting a friendsgiving. As the name suggests, this is a meal for friends rather than family members. This is perfect for people in my position, who has no nearby family but do have nearby single friends. Since many people eat dinner with their families on Thanksgiving day, this meal can happen at another time and even another day. Accommodate people’s schedules as needed; after all, we’re single, so we make our own holiday rules!

#3 Black Friday Browsing

Shopping has never been fun for me when I go alone and when it’s regimented and rushed; I enjoy it much more with friends and without an agenda. So I’m bringing some friends to redeem Black Friday. First of all, we are going to sleep in, since shopping with no shut-eye is stressful. Then we’ll make a nice breakfast together, taking our time, and then go to whichever stores we wish. We will go without lists and with the sole intent of having fun. If we see a nerf gun, we may shoot each other. If we go to a sporting goods store, we may play with a basketball. If we go to a toy store, we may dream up new board games. Whatever we do, we will have fun! And, as a bonus, we may find some gifts for other people as we go. Magic tends to happen in the absence of agendas.

The holidays can be a tough time for us singles to endure. When families gather together to enjoy each other’s company, it can be a painful reminder that we don’t have a special someone with whom to spend these special days. Yet there are ways to relish this time each year if we are willing to acknowledge our God-given desires and use our God-given creativity to think of ways to create community, as God intended for us. When we communicate honestly with our friends and remember that we are meant to enjoy the holidays, there are endless ways to truly make it the most wonderful time of the year no matter what your relationship status

Chris Hanson lives nestled in the mountains of Leavenworth, Washington, and works as an architectural designer. Whenever he has a free moment, he laces up his shoes and runs anywhere his feet will take him, and after he’s fatigued, he writes about his adventures and the lessons he’s learned in them.

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