5 things to do on Thanksgiving if gathering with your family is not an option this year

OPINION: Not everyone is able to spend Thanksgiving with blood relations, so here is a list of alternatives that can still make your turkey day pleasant.

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Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

Like it does yearly on the fourth Thursday of November, Thanksgiving is this week. In addition to being the harbinger of nonstop Christmas music from now through Dec. 25, it’s a holiday when many people get together with their families and share a huge meal that leaves everyone unbuttoning their pants because that fifth plate of food took them over the edge. 

For some people, however, spending Thanksgiving with family is not an option. Their family may live in another city or state, or they may be estranged from them, or perhaps they no longer have any close family that is still living. This can be a hard holiday to face for people in those situations, and in thinking of them, we offer a list of alternative ways to spend this Thursday.

1. Friendsgiving

When being with your blood relations is not an option, why not spend the day with your chosen family? 

Friends are extra special for everyone because they are the family we choose. Spending Thanksgiving with them can turn into a great time if planned correctly. 

Why not have a potluck-style dinner where everyone brings their favorite signature dish. Have some board games, dominoes, and playing cards around so if the mood strikes, you can have a little “wholesome” fun. 

If you really want to get crazy, check out YouTube’s vast selection of karaoke songs, and let each person take a turn belting out their favorite. There’s nothing like watching your friend discover misheard lyrics as they are in the middle of singing their jam

Have lots of friends? You can also look online for event space rental in Utica and other areas.

Or you could go with a potluck dinner and then choose a movie that everyone wants to watch. 

The point is, there is no shortage of activities you can come up with when spending time with your friends, because they aren’t your parents or your grandparents, and will more than likely be down for a round or two of Cards Against Humanity. 

2. Cook a delicious meal for one

If your preference for the holiday is some quality alone time, consider preparing a delicious meal for yourself. Think of how many “seconds” you can have without getting evil stares from your greedy auntie who is just mad that will be one less to go plate for her. 

Might I suggest cooking a whole chicken in lieu of a turkey? It would leave you just enough leftovers to be satisfied and not enough to be annoyed. You could whip up a sweet potato souffle, some cornbread dressing, a green vegetable and a small dish of macaroni and cheese. Buy a pie and a bottle of bubbles, and “it’s a celebration, bitches!

3. Go out to eat at a restaurant then enjoy a movie

If cooking is not your thing, or you don’t feel like being bothered with the hassle of it, plenty of restaurants offer a Thanksgiving menu. And one of my favorite activities on Thanksgiving — whether I eat with family or not — is going to the movies. 

So think about this: Go eat at a restaurant within your desired price range and then treat yourself to a date at the cinema. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is currently in theaters, as you know, so if you haven’t had a chance to see it yet, let Thanksgiving be that day. 

If you’ve already seen it, trust — there are plenty of other options available. The point is, going to the movies is a nice experience on Thanksgiving. There will be some people there, but it’s not too overwhelming, and you may still be able to get a seat that allows you to social distance (because if you are like me, I want to put some space between me and gen pop). 

4. Order in and binge streaming content

If you would rather stay in the house and let someone else do the cooking, then the food delivery apps have got you covered. Browse the available restaurants early enough on Thursday so that you don’t get caught slipping or left hanging when it comes time to have something for your evening meal. Some of the apps even offer the option to schedule your delivery for around a specific time, so plan ahead and save yourself the headache.

Now, if you are like me, you likely have multiple queues of unwatched material across the various streaming platforms. Put on your comfiest pajamas, pour yourself a glass of your beverage of choice, and sprawl out on the couch eating your food, watching television and living your best life, honestly. 

5. Whatever the hell you want to do

At the end of the day, Thursday is whatever you want to make of it, so if you decide to forego any type of celebration or acknowledgment of the day at all, please feel free to do whatever the hell it is you want to do. Clean out your closet. Reorganize your shoes. Do some laundry. 

Or just sleep all day. 

You owe the day to no one other than yourself. 

As for me, I will be going to the movies earlier in the day, and then joining friends for an evening meal. 

Whatever you choose to do, have a happy Thanksgiving.

Monique Judge thegrio.com

Monique Judge is a storyteller, content creator and writer living in Los Angeles. She is a word nerd who is a fan of the Oxford comma, spends way too much time on Twitter, and has more graphic t-shirts than you. Follow her on Twitter @thejournalista or check her out at moniquejudge.com.

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