What it is Like Not Going Home for Thanksgiving for the First Time

Maddie Bataille


November 24, 2021

There comes a time in everyone's life where they don't spend thanksgiving with their own family for the first time. Not a lot of people talk about what that's like.

Personally, my family has never had big celebrations for thanksgiving. Sometimes we don't celebrate on Thursday but rather on other days we are all around. For us it is more about spending close familial time together.

Still, the pressure to come home during the holiday weekend is high. Ideally, I would like to go home to spend time with my family. However this year I decided to stay in my college town instead of travelling.

I have faced a lot of feelings of guilt around this subject. Like I owe it to my parents and siblings to come home for a visit. However, the decision to not come home was based on the idea of taking care of myself. I felt like by doing this I was being selfish, but when it comes down to it, you do not owe travelling during a high stress time to anyone.

For me I have already started to be enthralled with the endless projects for finals and the stress of wrapping up the semester. On top of that I had pressure from my job to take a shift during the holiday weekend. Adding having to drive four hours each way plus holiday traffic, traveling home for the holiday sounded more like a chore than a break.

I was faced with the dilemma of pleasing my family, or managing my own stress levels. But after a talk with my parents I got the support I needed that it is okay to choose myself over them. I am grateful for that.

But now what? I was worrying about spending the holiday alone. Here are some tips to combat that feeling.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask to spend Thanksgiving with someone else.

Luckily, my roommate was kind enough to offer to spend Thanksgiving with her family in the area. I imagine if you tell anyone you’re staying around for Thanksgiving, they will extend an invite to you. However, if you don’t get an invite, ask around about friends' plans. At the very least you will have a friendsgiving to go to.

  1. Offer to host a friendsgiving.

If no one else invites you to a Thanksgiving, get a group of friends to host your own feast. You can spend the day cooking together and watching movies.

  1. If you are truly spending the weekend all alone, take it as a time to rest.

A four day weekend to yourself can seem scary due to facing the loneliness, but with some reframing you can take it as an opportunity to learn a new recipe you want to, or get caught up on cleaning, etc.

There are so many things to do with your long weekend if you are spending it alone, from having an art night to a long day hike. However, if you decide to not do anything with the weekend and instead do school work, or lay in bed watching Youtube or binge watching your favorite tv show, maybe that is just what you need to do with your extra time off.

It is okay to do what you want to do, and not please others, it is your time off and you can choose how you want to spend it.

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With immense gratitude, the Promly Team.

Maddie Bataille

Maddie is a junior at The University of Rhode Island and she is studying Journalism and Spanish with a minor focus in Gender and Women's Studies. She is from Long Valley, NJ. She is passionate about social issues such as discussion in gender, feminism, race and LGBTQIA rights. She focuses on well being in many different areas of her life from physical to mental. She loves to do yoga and meditation to keep herself grounded. She enjoys being creative in her free time, including painting or journaling.