Out of all the holidays, Thanksgiving is probably my favorite.
While a lot of it has to do with my love of cooking and preparing food in general, the main reason is it gives me a chance to connect with friends and family. However, I also know all too well the pressures that can come with it—namely, the stress of traveling, the pressure of presenting the “perfect” meal and even putting up with people we may not want to be around.
(This happens a lot because we feel obligated to invite certain individuals because they are family and/or it could be having to put up with someone because they are the spouse or partner of a loved one.)
One of the most memorable Thanksgivings I ever spent was many years ago where I spent the day all by myself. While I didn’t initially plan to spend it alone, I eventually warmed up to the idea and even politely turned down invitations from well-meaning friends who didn’t want me to be alone on the big day.
The truth is, it was one of the best Thanksgivings I ever spent. I woke up in time to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, wore my PJs until noon, and celebrated with my dinner of turkey legs and mashed potatoes in my living room while watching a horror movie marathon.
My motto was: It’s my day. I can do what I want.
While I can’t see myself repeating that experience in the near future-namely because I have a family which includes young children—I am still grateful for it and wouldn’t rule it out some day when I am a lot older.
However, even if I never have another one like it again, the whole experience taught me something important: that there is nothing sad, wrong, pathetic or spending Thanksgiving (or any other holiday) alone.
While some may be reading this and saying to themselves that this is hardly groundbreaking, the truth is, we as a society are conditioned to believe that people who spent Thanksgiving alone are in need of pity and being alone on that day is the worst thing that can happen. (It’s even been used as a plot device for several TV shows and movies.)
I even know people who grudgingly accept invitations when they really don’t want to because they don’t want to be “that guy” or “that girl” who spends the day alone.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be around people on Thanksgiving and people who give out invitations are (usually) doing so out of pure kindness. However, there is also nothing wrong with being alone on that day.
We don’t even have to attempt to justify our reasoning. Still, for those that feel a need for one, perhaps it could be to be thankful for the gift of just being able to take time for ourselves by ourselves.
Sometimes, there is no greater gift to ourselves than that.
It is also something we can truly be thankful along with all the other blessings in our lives.
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Author: Kimberly Lo
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
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