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As we get older, sometimes it can get a little hard to spend the holidays with family. We’re off living our best lives: away in college, traveling with friends, or just swamped at work (but you don’t complain though because you’re hungry to be the boss someday J).
Or sometimes our family members live in another country/state or our loved ones have passed away so the holidays are kind of displaced right now (trust me…it doesn’t get easier, you just get stronger sis).
Whatever your reason, I got you. It’s still hard not seeing my mom on the holidays and honestly some family members too but I’ve learned to adjust – you will adjust. Not having much family can definitely have you feeling left out or longing for a big family but you can still make the best of it!
I know I still struggle with not being able to see my mom make me my own personal ham (because I’m a little primadonna and would not stand for turkey haha) or bake me my favorite pie but it doesn’t have to be all sad.
Be thankful for you! For how far you’ve come and for making it through this tough as nails year like a true BAD A**!
You can still have a great Thanksgiving by creating new traditions that make you feel whole and help you appreciate everything that you are and everything that you have (because you deserve ALL of the things):
Facetime Long-Distance Loved Ones
A phone call is better than a text but go the extra mile and facetime your long-distance loved ones! It goes a long way and is a simple, sentimental way to say I’m thinking about you today.
If you’re not usually a Facetimer, it’ll be a pleasant surprise that your family will REALLY appreciate. It’ll make them feel special that you thought to Facetime because they miss you (and you miss them, too).
Exchange Cards (Or Send a Treat Basket)
To add a cherry on top of a Facetime, send them a heartfelt holiday card or a festive treat basket. I’ve received one and I can say from experience that receiving a basket stacked to the brim with all of your favorite snacks is literally like Christmas (I’m a foodie and a glutton for chocolate so food=forever mood)!
You can thank me later because absolutely EVERYONE will appreciate this! It’ll immediately put a smile on their faces and they’ll be DTF for that basket (aka down to feast lol).
There are plenty of companies that specialize in making holiday baskets in different sizes (and may also let you choose which snacks you want in the basket) so you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to show how thankful you are for your people.
Holiday Basket Companies I’ve Tried: Harry & David (gourmet and really adds that something special) and 1-800-Baskets (it’s a sister company to 1-800-flowers so very affordable and beautiful baskets).
Volunteer at a Local Soup Kitchen
In college, I volunteered at a local soup kitchen and it was honestly one of the most rewarding and enlightening experiences I’ve ever had.
Many people (including some of my friends who volunteered with me) are under the impression that only homeless people go to the soup kitchens. LIES!!
Most of the people that I served for Thanksgiving (and a few times after that) were normal, hardworking people that just didn’t have the spare funds for a Thanksgiving dinner. They live check-to-check and are just trying to survive each week.
Talking to the amazing people I met and gaining insight into all of their unique situations made me gain a whole new respect for them and it made me take notes! Never be too proud to ask for help and the little things count, so be appreciative of every moment and opportunity presented to me.
Share positivity with other people, make someone’s day, and brighten someone’s life even if it just means volunteering for a couple of hours (you never know, someone could unexpectedly brighten your day also). Take a chance and volunteer, you will NEVER regret it and if you really open your heart and mind, you will not be the same person after (in a great way).
You can also volunteer by delivering meals directly to family, online opportunities to donate food, and search for local food banks near you here.
Animal Shelters Need You, Too
Volunteering at animal shelters near you is just as rewarding as volunteering at a soup kitchen and they’re always looking for volunteers all year round!
Animal shelters need people to help keep the facilities and animal quarters clean as well as feed the animals, walk them, play with them, and basically be surrogate companions for them because they need love!
Animals = therapy so you get to cuddle with a little cutie and instantly feel better about being away from family (and they feel better, too). Hey, you may even end up adopting a little buddy and have the best companion for everyday and every holiday after (knock out two birds with one stone)!
Host a Friendsgiving (Or Attend One)
What’s the next best thing when you can’t be with family? Spending time with our friends that are just like family!
Start gathering some fall décor, craft a signature punch, and send out invites to your closest friends to host this year’s Friendsgiving! Spending time with friends is a great way to focus on the people in front of you and not the people you couldn’t be with this year.
If you’re not one for hosting, then hit up some of your friends and see who’s up for hosting a Friendsgiving! Some Friendsgivings are hosted the day before Thanksgiving but you may find a few others not spending the holidays with their families either and may be down to grub Thanksgiving day (so at least you don’t have to be home alone).
Make Fave Dishes From Mom
One of the best ways to remember family when they’re far away is to bring home to you!
Make your favorite dishes that you remember having for the Thanksgiving. Ask your mom, your grandma, your aunts, and maybe even a couple of uncles and cousins for the family recipes.
If you can’t get the exact recipe or thought it may be missing something, then create your own spin on it! It can be a great start to a new fan favorite at the next get-together (this year I’m taking my first crack at candied yams…wish your girl luck!).
Last but definitely NOT least, is to remember to thank yourself!
You’re hardworking, balancing out work and life and trying to adult as best you can. Cut yourself some slack and make Thanksgiving a SELF CARE DAY(make it an annual tradition to remember to love yourself)!
Surprisingly, you’ll find that a lot of places are open on Thanksgiving day (and some have discounts) so schedule that well-deserved facial and massage at the spa, get your nails done, meditate, paint, or do whatever it is that makes you feel happy and makes your heart full!
What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes? How do you stay connected with family when you can’t be with them for the holidays? I’d love to hear your thoughts, let me know in the comments!