13 Ways To Celebrate Thanksgiving If You’re Away From Family

The holidays are a time to spend with loved ones. But for some of us, we might find ourselves separated from family this Thanksgiving.

By Diana Clarke3 min read
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There are many reasons why you might find yourself away from family this Thanksgiving. Whether that’s due to distance, finances, or family conflict, you can still celebrate the holiday and express your gratitude. Here are some of our favorite ways to celebrate Thanksgiving if you’re away from family.

1. Friendsgiving

You might be away from family for the holiday, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend it alone. Invite your best friends over for a friendsgiving meal and a fun activity like playing your favorite boardgame. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, consider making it a potluck where everyone brings their own side dish. Your friends who might also be separated from family this holiday will be grateful for the invitation.

2. Celebrate with Your Immediate Familly

Being away from extended family doesn’t mean you have to halt the celebration with your immediate family. Whether you’re with your husband and kids or spending your first holiday with your boyfriend, this is the perfect time to create new memories and traditions that your loved ones will enjoy for years to come.

3. Volunteer

Show your gratitude for your blessings this Thanksgiving by giving back to your community. You can volunteer with a soup kitchen or a meal delivery service, or make a donation to an organization you think could use a little bit of extra help this year.

Show your gratitude for your blessings this Thanksgiving by giving back to your community.

4. Send a Letter

You could send an email or a text message. Or you could send a letter, which is much more charming and maybe even a bit romantic. Your loved one will be thrilled to receive a personalized note from you. This is a way for you to show them that they’re in your heart despite being apart. 

5. Make Your Own Décor

For the DIY girls out there, any holiday is the perfect excuse to reach for your glue and glitter and make something beautiful. A homemade craft will add a special touch to this holiday for years to come.

6. Bring a Piece of Home

Being away from family doesn’t mean that you have to forgo your favorite Thanksgiving traditions. Bring a touch of home to this year’s celebration through a meal, décor, or an activity to keep the tradition going.

7. Start a New Tradition

Or you can start a new tradition altogether. A new tradition will add a special touch to this year's celebration, especially if you have kids to experience it. They’ll look back fondly on these memories and perhaps even continue the traditions with their families in the future.

A new tradition will add a special touch to this year's celebration, especially if you have kids to experience it.

8. Weekend Getaway

The long weekend means a little extra time for a getaway close to home. This is perfect for you and your boyfriend or husband to get some stress-free alone time and make memories just the two of you. 

9. Start Preparing for Christmas

If you’re really not feeling the Thanksgiving spirit this year…get an early start on Christmas! Decorate your living space or take advantage of Black Friday specials for gifts for your loved ones. 

10. Virtual Thanksgiving

At this point, it's safe to say that everyone is tired of virtual meetings. However, we are lucky enough to have the technology to keep us in touch with those we love even if we are thousands of miles away. Join your family via the internet for Thanksgiving dinner, a fun evening activity, or even for just a moment to tell them you love and miss them. 

11. Going Solo

Whether by intention or not, you may be spending this Thanksgiving solo. However, you can still make the most of it by doing your favorite activities, whether that’s going for a hike, baking your favorite dessert, taking a bubble bath, or dancing around your living room to Mariah Carey tunes. Use the time to rest and recuperate. If you’re feeling down for being alone, take a break from social media to avoid scrolling through everyone else's plans and remember that things might be different next year. 

Make the most of today by doing your favorite activities, like going for a hike or baking your favorite dessert.

12. Watch Your Favorite Thanksgiving Episodes

Watch your favorite Thanksgiving episodes, whether that’s from Friends, Gilmore Girls, or a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. For extra fun, you can recreate your favorite outfits from the shows. 

13. Be Grateful

No matter what you’re doing this Thanksgiving, remember to be grateful. It's helpful to take some time and physically jot down the things and people you are thankful for. Think back on the blessings you have received this year, and be grateful for where you are and what you have today. 

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