What if, by choice or circumstance, you don't have a family to break bread with and face the holiday alone together, a family of two?
As someone who has spent more Thanksgivings alone (or in a party of two) than in the bosom of a family, here are my recommendations for creating your own Thanksgiving tradition:
- Go out to eat. Plenty of restaurants offer special Thanksgiving menus, complete with all the trimmings. Make reservations at a romantic restaurant (request a table by the window), don your Thanksgiving finery, and revel in being served rather than sweating over a stove or washing sinkloads of dishes this holiday.
Leave the country. All USA citizens have to do is look north to Canada or south to Mexico to avoid the holiday altogether. While Thanksgiving is a holiday in Canada, it comes weeks before the one in the USA. And it's not a holiday at all in Mexico. So either pack a warm coat or a bathing suit, and cross the border into It's-Not-Thanksgiving-Here Land.
Have a movie marathon. Unless you're football fanatics or find the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade of interest, you won't find much to watch on TV. If you don't already have a DVD player and belong to Netflix, what are you waiting for? Start preparing for the day and reserve your copy of Pieces of April early. (If you really want to treat yourselves, spring for a new HDTV.)
Host an "orphans" Thanksgiving. Still feel the need to sacrifice a turkey? Open your home to friends and co-workers who won't be with their families this year. Cast a wide net, sending out word that friends of friends are welcome, too.
Glom onto another family's Thanksgiving. They say you can pick your friends but not your family. Let close friends know you wouldn't mind an invitation if there's room at their table. If you're invited, be sure to bring a dish that contributes to the festivities. If you don't cook, bring a store-bought delicacy. A bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau (compare prices) or box of designer chocolates make welcome gifts.
Volunteer. There are many needy people eager for a warm meal and a friendly smile. If you want to get back more than you give, contact your local municipality for information on where volunteers are needed this Thanksgiving to prepare and serve meals to those less fortunate.