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Spending Thanksgiving alone.

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For the first time ever, I will be alone for Thanksgiving. I'm sure there are others here who are alone. What do you do? I don't want to prepare a big feast, but don't want to do nothing either.

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  1. I've done it twice as my man's job sometimes took him to Malaysia for long stints. I would find a restaurant that was open and that had bar seating, dress nicely and just go out. If you're comfortable dining out alone, it's a pretty good option.
    Whatever you decide, I hope you have a nice Thanksgiving.

    1. There's nothing wrong with indulging yourself with a special meal. I've spent several T-days by myself, and I made myself good food and read the day away. The food doesn't have to be holiday-related either--whatever's your favorite. Solitude on a holiday can be very cool.

      12 Replies
      1. re: MandalayVA

        One year when i was alone I served at the local food pantry's meal. I really liked it.

        1. re: magiesmom

          I've done that too and they always appreciate the help!

          1. re: MandalayVA

            What a nice idea!!! then go home and treat yourself to a nice meal and a great book :)

          2. re: magiesmom

            If your local shelter is inundated with volunteers (many are this time of year) also look for a Thanksgiving Day 5K run-lots of shelters do fundraiser 5Ks. A nice long morning run, then go home for a long bath and a big meal sounds like the perfect day to me!

            1. re: iambecky

              I agree. Many shelters are inundated with people with the best of intentions. But it's still a great way to make a connection with people who need help in your community. At the place I worked in DC, we took no volunteers ( thanks , lady who brought over all the spoiled shit from your fridge)but in Charleston, anybody who shows up is put to work. It's different.

              1. re: Sue in Mt P

                in DC I tried to volunteer outside of the holiday season at a local kitchen and all I got was "ummm we've got hands, we need shelf-stable food or money"

                so to the OP while it's late for this year, the need is year-round.

                1. re: hill food

                  Truly, it is. I worked in a DC shelter for years. And we needed people to help all the time. Families would knock on the door with their children and we turned them back home. You can't just show up.

                  1. re: Sue in Mt P

                    how heartreaking, but every effort counts.

                2. re: Sue in Mt P

                  I'll be doing the So Others Might Eat Turkey Trot in DC this year for Thanksgiving: http://www.some.org/events_trot_main.... I've seen so many news reports about shelters running out of food, every bit of fundraising will help.

                  1. re: iambecky

                    It's too late for this year, but I've volunteered for this is in the past: www.feedingnyc.org We pack boxes of ingredients for Thanksgiving dinners and bring them to families in need.

                    1. re: funniduck

                      Cheers to all of you! When I have done such things I have felt sort of guilty how good it made me feel (and a little heart-broken)

                  2. re: Sue in Mt P

                    For those in th DC area who want to volunteer time, check out Karma Kitchen..
                    http://www.karmakitchen.org/index.php

            2. Years ago, I started doing that which led to a total social work career, but I digress.

              Fix your favorite dish, kick back with a good book, and relax. Make a list of things for which you are thankful and review it during the day.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Sue in Mt P

                sue, i'll bet you know my niece-in-law if you were in social work in the charleston area!

                ~~~~~~
                when i've been alone on thanksgiving, i dressed up and treated myself to a nice meal. i have also volunteered for the needy.

              2. Make the best of it. Roast yourself a Cornish game hen, and make yourself a nice baked potato, and a salad. Try making a dish that reminds you of home but a small version. The day before go pick up a nice slice of dessert from a bakery. Get some movies, and good books, and popcorn. Helping serve meals at a local church will chase away any loneliness, while you become more more thankful.

                4 Replies
                1. re: mara44

                  These are some excellent ideas! I almost feel as though I'll have Chowhound company for Thanksgiving. Thanks all!

                  1. re: marymac

                    i'll be with you in spirit as i, too, am flying solo this year. feels a bit strange because i'm used to hosting T-day dinner and doing all the work myself to feed a crowd, but i'm really looking forward to spending a quiet, relaxed day at home alone watching football and reading, since i got shut out of volunteering at the local mission.

                    i'm planning to roast a small turkey breast and some brussels sprouts for dinner, and i'll likely make a pumpkin custard with maple whipped cream for dessert. i'll whip up some cranberry sauce earlier in the week, and if i'm really motivated i may bake a dish of my stuffing casserole.

                    do what feels right to you - cook if you want to, go out or order in if you don't. most of all, just *relax* and don't stress about it...and realize that though you may be spending the day by yourself, as long as you're a member of this CH community you're not *alone* ;)

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      Another option is to invite someone to your home for Thanksgiving. Check with a local church or service organization or military base to see if they have people they can match with you.

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                        Great suggestions for anyone who is up to it. It's especially meaningful for young military. It's often their first holiday away from family, and while all military mess halls have great meals on Thanksgiving, it just doesn't compare to a home cooked meal with a tablecloth and new friends who care. I've done it in the past and recieved some wonderful thank you letters from moms who were happy their kid had had a good holiday. It's fun...!

                2. Not sure if you're a football fan, but many places are sure to be open with the games on. Regardless, if you don't mind going out to eat, I'm sure you can find a place having Thanksgiving dinner special. If you have your mind set on dining in and making yourself something special. May I suggest making a duck, squab or cornish game hen? Or take the easy way out and hit up the supermarket for a rotisserie chicken the day before. Make some potatoes, some stuffing and some green beans and don't forget the pie. I've done it before, due to being sick and friends brought me a plate when they were done. it was great...pretend you'r sick!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: jhopp217

                    Good idea! I'm not much for going out alone, but thought a cornish hen and sides would be nice.

                    1. re: marymac

                      I love a good cornish hen (turkey for one?) and always make enough mashed potatoes to have potato cakes the next day. Sometimes I cheat, and make the mashed ahead of time, don't eat them, and skip right to the potato cakes.

                      And definitely as someone on this thread mentioned, do the 3 Cs--China, cloth napkins and crystal.

                      Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

                      Warm Regards,

                  2. Hey Mary -- some of my favorite T-days have actually been spent by myself. But don't limit yourself to Turkey or traditional foods, unless you feel you'll really miss them. One year I got a lobster and cooked it and ate it up with a nice bottle of good white wine and some dayboat scallops to start. One year I made a porchetta with gorgeous root veg to go with. I usually get a movie, or hunker down with food tv. It's the one day you know people wont be bugging you and you can do what you like.

                    Enjoy!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: yumyum

                      I've done stuff like that too. After spending all day elbow deep in turkey and dressing at the shelter, sometimes I wanted something else. So pick your favorite reward-yourself meal, in or out and enjoy. I'll be online if you get lonesome, lol! Granted, I'll be on Seabrook Island for part of the day, but the weather looks like it will be stormy, so snuggling in with my pets and my Mac will be part of my day.

                      1. re: Sue in Mt P

                        I'll be around as well. It's just the 2 of us this year, and I'm not that much of a football fan. So after the duck meal has been eaten and my clean up is done, it's the computer for me!

                        1. re: alliegator

                          We'll have fun!

                    2. The first time I spent Thanksgiving alone, I had grilled cheese & tomato soup (kind of like Marcella's tomato/onion/butter sauce). I was very thankful. The alternative was to go with my then-boyfriend to his grandmother's house, only he was too "in" to allow that to happen, which was fine with me. I don't crave negative attention, which was the only way it could have gone.

                      Spending the day alone for the first time in my life freed me from the idea that one _has_ to get together with people one may or may not like, to eat the same meal everyone else in America is eating.

                      Ever since, sometimes I get together with people, sometimes I don't. I'm having dinner with a friend this Tkgs who loves to make a big deal out of every holiday. His husband and his husband's friends are doing all the cooking. All I have to do is bring a peppermint chocolate ganache tart for dessert, which I'm buying at a friend's bakery (Dozen Bake Shop, for those who live in Pittsburgh, PA). A number of years, I've volunteered at soup kitchens.

                      I anticipate a low-stress event this year. There'll be cranberries, stuffing, and mashed potatoes before dessert, so it won't completely suck, foodwise. I can't get over the feeling, however, that I'd rather just stay home and have grilled cheese and tomato soup.

                      13 Replies
                      1. re: Jay F

                        You guys are the greatest, thanks so much! My husband died last year and my kids are going to their dad's so I was feeling kind of down. But I feel I have friends here.

                        1. re: marymac

                          Oh, dear. I am a therapist. That's huge. Lean on me whenever.

                          1. re: Sue in Mt P

                            Thanks, Sue!

                          2. re: marymac

                            And I am NOT a therapist, but always happy to have a chat. Please check in on Thanksgiving and let us know how your day has been. You'll be in my thoughts :)

                            1. re: alliegator

                              I'm going to suggest Ina's turkey roulade. It is absolutely delicious and you won't have a whole turkey to deal with. You get turkey and stuffing in every bite. Make a delicious cranberry chutney. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...

                              Whatever you cook, please serve it on your china with a cloth napkin and a crystal glass. You deserve to pamper yourself. Best wishes to you on Thanksgiving.

                              1. re: alliegator

                                I know, because of TV we have a bad rep. I promise, I'm one of the good ones. I got iinto this business so I could help my friends. And I do.

                              2. re: marymac

                                Well, you do have friends here. I most likely won't be available on Thanksgiving Day, since I won't be home, but I'll look for your continued posting in this thread this week and next.

                                1. re: marymac

                                  Mary; I'm so, so sorry for your loss. I understand what you are going through, having lost my mother this year. The holidays will never be the same. But I'm determined to carry on some of my old traditions and create new ones, ones that "I" want.

                                  Know you are not alone this Thanksgiving. I'll think of you. :-)

                                  1. re: Peachie

                                    Thanks, Peachie. My husband died 2 days after Christmas.

                                  2. re: marymac

                                    Oh i'm so sorry to hear that! I'll check in here on Thxgiving too, whatever you decide to do!

                                    1. re: marymac

                                      Mary,
                                      I'm so sorry for your loss. The holidays are especially hard. And yes, you have friends here!
                                      Grief is like an illness. I feel for you. Today was very hard for me as well. My 51 year old fiance died last December 13 after fighting lung cancer for a year. On Thanksgiving last year, I was out of town when my fiance's son called to tell me that his dad was in ICU. It was the beginning of the end.

                                      Today, I was at my sister's. My only child, a 21 year old son, spent some of the day with us and a lot of it with his Dad. At the end of the day he left to go midnight madness shopping. He will be staying with his dad. I feel horrible pain and very alone. My sister was annoyed with me and said "count your blessings." I do count my blessings. What an insensitive thing to say. When grief overwhelms you there is no bargaining with it. You can't reason it away. Just lean into it and let it happen. It will pass. You will feel better. If you were here and awake right now, I'd invite you over for a nightcap and some dessert! We have way too much food here. Just telling you I understand your pain and loneliness.

                                      1. re: Willa

                                        Hi Willa, I'm so sorry for your loss and I'm sorry your sister was insensitive. Sometimes, I think people are so inept at dealing with their own discomfort they behave in the worst way possible.

                                        A nightcap and dessert sounds fabulous. I'm up (for no reason in particular) eating a quesadilla and watching an episode of CSI on TIVO.

                                        What's for dessert?

                                        ~TDQ

                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          TDQ,

                                          Thank you so much for your nice note! I know my sister didn't mean to be cruel and she is my twin -- I love her to pieces. We only had two major fights today preparing the feast.

                                          Now, for dessert. Noah, my son, made a pumpkin bread pudding with creme anglais and caramel apple sauce. It was just amazing. He made the pumpkin bread, the pumpkin custard, omg the pudding just melts in your mouth and with the creme anglais and caramel it is ethereal. We also have my black bottom Vahlrona chocolate pie and a ricotta cheesecake that I made last night. The cheesecake is not very good, lol! The chocolate pie is sinful and usually the star of the dessert table but my son took top honors for his pumpkin bread pudding.

                                          I was thrilled late tonight when Noah texted me just as I was feeling the lowest, right after I wrote my note here, and told me he wanted to stop by again. It was late but I was up as I usually am. We had a nice couple of hours at the end of Thanksgiving -- just mother/son time. And I am thankful for that!
                                          I'm also thankful for caring people I don't know at all who jump in with kind words and support.
                                          For your nightcap? You name it -- we have a nice selection. Hey, that reminds me! We never got to the dessert wine! Guess we were a little saturated. That would explain the tears as we sang along with Nat King Cole's "O Tannenbaum" while washing the dishes. LOL.
                                          I need to call it a night.
                                          Susan

                                  3. I did it last year and it was actually a really nice day. I get a turkey T-day "bonus" from my work, so I did that and a little bit of potatoes and gravy and dressing and pie (lucky I like leftovers!), and watched the Mythbusters marathon all day and listened to Christmas music and decorated my house... it was nice! :)

                                    1. You're welcome at our house. Where are you located?

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: missybean

                                        Thanks, sweetie. I live in St. Charles, MO. I'll be ok, but I will check in on T-Day and let you sll know how I'm doing.

                                        1. re: marymac

                                          Well, you are a little far (I'm in NJ) but you are truly more than welcome. Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday. We'll probably start planning for next year before we finish this year's dinner.

                                          Enjoy your day.

                                      2. Marvmac, I seem to spend quite a few New Year's alone for a number of reasons and I love making something new and special and serving it with a little bottle of bubbly. I read or watch a movie or 2 and make my resolutions. Last year I made Blanquette de Veau and it was awesome.
                                        There are many places where you can order sides and dessert and make your own poultry. Just remember to do what you want and to treat yourself well. You deserve it!

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: NE_Elaine

                                          I think the idea of making something "new" is excellent. Let us know what you decide and how you are doing.

                                          1. re: NE_Elaine

                                            I'll be alone this Thanksgiving for the first time, too, and I love the idea of bubbly. Thanks for the idea!

                                            1. re: guilty

                                              I am glad you like it. If you have a wine stopper that fits tightly, you can even use what may be left over for a mimosa the next day.

                                              1. re: NE_Elaine

                                                You're so right. You've made my Thanksgiving and my Thanksgiving +1 better already.

                                          2. Are you a football fan? I would be so tempted to do day up for myself like a Super Bowl party. I only make the turkey because my family loves it, and I really don't care for it all that much. If it were up to me, I would eat hot wings and stuffed potato skins and veggie dips etc. Just an idea. If you are not into this, I understand.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: RGC1982

                                              With you 100%. I spent Thanksgiving day alone last year - I was headed to Vegas with friends on Friday and felt like I needed some alone time before that - and I had been to two pre-Thanksgiving dinners already, so I had no desire for more turkey, stuffing and pie. So I watched football (the early game while still in bed), ate chips, pizza, salad and cookies, went for a walk eventually, and had a wonderful time. Planning a repeat for this year.

                                              1. re: cookie monster

                                                I did that many, many times when I was single.....

                                            2. I haven't done Thanksgiving alone, but I have had that experience with many other holidays.

                                              As many others have suggested, I turn it into a total pamper day. I plan something delicious, nice wine, pickup up a special dessert. A trip to the library the day before so I have a stack of books to browse. When I had a fireplace I would build a fire and snuggle in, covered with kitties!

                                              I like it so much that this is actually my preferred way to spend New Years day!

                                              Be kind to your self and make the day special!

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: meatn3

                                                Thanks, everyone. I've stocked up on library books . I'll go to the store next week and see what tickles my taste buds. It's supposed tp turn cold here Thanksgiving day so I might be glad to stay in. I'll keep in touch.

                                                1. re: meatn3

                                                  That's the way I spent more than a few holidays when I was single. And (this is just between you and me and a million C-Hounds, don't spread it around) after 15 years of being married I wouldn't mind spending a couple of holidays just like it again. The luxury of solitude, a bubble bath, a stack of murder mysteries and not having to account for your time and activities to any one -- aaaaahhhhh!!!!

                                                  1. re: mandycat

                                                    and really trashy TV shows (not smut, just really dumb ones)

                                                2. It' not so bad. REALLY! I will be spending Thanksgiving alone this year. The first year since I've lived in Plano that my son and his family won't be joining me (divorce and time commitments for his work), so... I see NO reason not to have Thanksgiving dinner! But I will have it (the first time) on Wednesday and share it with my housekeepper so she can have Thursday off to spend with her family. It will be turkey, dressing, my traditional sweet potato souffle (and I'll be making one to send home with her for her to share with her husband and three teenage boys), and I'll be making a LOT of home made TV dinners to store in the freezer for any future time I feel like turkey and dressing with all of the trimmings in the future. Thanksgiving Day will be wonderful leftovers, watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade full bore instead of just short peeks wile I'm working in the kitchen. A lovely nap, a good book if I want it, and good company right here on Chowhound should I feel the need. Happy Thanksgiving, marymac. Sometimes a complete holiday to yourself alone is a great luxury. I hope you enjoy yours.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                    Sounds lovely, Caroline. Hope you have a wonderful holiday. Same to marymac. Relax and enjoy!

                                                  2. I've done it a few times and enjoyed it...Maybe too much! I'm single and my family is an 8 hour drive. Since I do the drive at Christmas, I stay here. Um truth...I've actually lied to friends so I can spend it alone. The stress is gone. I'm a hiker so it's nice to spend the day hiking or if bad weather curled up by the fire with old black and white movies! I'll cook a turkey breast, mashed potatoes with real cream and danish butter, raw cranberry salad with fresh orange, whole foods fresh sage stuffing, and a tartlette. I also splurge on a nice bottle of wine. I'll be lurking around here for part of Thanksgiving Day if the weather is as bad as they are predicting..Can't wait to hear what you decide!

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: rHairing

                                                      This closely mirrors my holidays. My boyfriend and I don't live near family, and have worked either food service or retail during this time, which means we either travel, or work, or split up if schedules don't mesh (the boyfriend has a daughter to travel to, and I can't always go with).

                                                      I like my time alone, and always felt a little odd that I *enjoyed* the holidays that I spent alone. I cook for myself, and have books and movies and candles on hand. I always put up my (artificial) Christmas tree on the night before Thanksgiving, and find that makes me all the more content in my own home. As rHairing has already made me anticipate, black and white movies, with the lamps off, and the tree glowing in the corner, make me so content, I don't really miss having company beyond Katherine Hepburn, a nice wine, a few candles, and a thoughtful plate of food (I like finger food, in these circumstances).

                                                      But there was a time in my life that I did not feel this same ease. My parents had divorced, and my mother spent the holidays with the man who would later become her husband (her children were not invited), and my father didn't . . . host. I wish I could go back and let my young self know that this would become one of my favorite holidays, no matter if I had company or not. Because I made it meaningful, in the face of it feeling that *I* was not. Create something for yourself, marymac. Think of solo holidays as permission to be give yourself the things you don't, or can't, in the course of an ordinary day.

                                                      As others have said, contact me if you would like to chat (it's in my profile). I am sorry for your loss. My hopes are with you.

                                                      1. re: onceadaylily

                                                        "I *enjoyed* the holidays that I spent alone"

                                                        I believe we can often make ourselves less happy than we should have, but dwelling on the negative idea. I don't think it is really a sad thing to spend alone during holiday. For example, I visit my mom during non holidays. It makes the plane ticket cheaper and less crowded and chaos. Who to say I have to visit her during busy seasons, right?

                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                          Well said!. I go home every summer for my stepfather's birthday and then again for Christmas. I haven't been home for Thanksgiving in 10 years. I was home a lot this year due to my stepfather's health emergency. Thank God I can work from anywhere. Proud to say he's healthy and happy sportin' a cow valve:) The point is that some of our best quality time with family doesn't revolve around a holiday.

                                                      2. re: rHairing

                                                        Wow. I think we have started something new....permission to be happy or okay solo on a major holiday. Merymac,, make the day yours!

                                                      3. I spend most of my Thanksgiving alone. They are great. I watch TV, play video games. This year, I may go to Chinatown and get a roast duck. Ha.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                          I just got Folklore and a new Tomb Raider. I'm looking for sales on the duck.

                                                          1. re: onceadaylily

                                                            Duck is awesome. It has this weird twist for Thanksgiving. Hey, a lot of people eat fishes during Thanksgiving too, so a duck look more like a turkey. Actually, traditionally I had chicken because it is easier for me to make a chicken on my own. I heard great things about Folklore and Tomb Raider Guardian of Light. Hope you have fun. I got Resident Evil 5 for two weeks, but have not opened it yet. :)

                                                            1. re: onceadaylily

                                                              We just got a PS3 with the Move. Just in time to help burn off all the extra calories! I was looking at Folklore. Sounds interesting!

                                                            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                              I have family in Louisiana and my dad is all about the Turduckin. My stepmother, Susan can't stand it., I think I want to try it at some point but I think I won't like it as much as deep fried turkey. Besides, when I think of duck during the holidays, I think of one of the last scenes from A Christmas Story!

                                                              1. re: rHairing

                                                                "I think of duck during the holidays, I think of one of the last scenes from A Christmas Story"

                                                                But that is a great movie and that scene is so warm and sweet. A timeless movie. Maybe it is no "Citizen Kane", but it is more timeless than "Independence Day" :)

                                                            3. Spend the day baking cookies for soup kitchens. Try to find someone to play with. Good karma.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                Thank you my friends. I will report back.

                                                              2. I spent my first Thanksgiving alone with just my pooch last year; my three kids live in different states and had other plans. I was invited out to other families & friend locations but I decided to go ahead with my dinner just on a smaller scale because I must have leftovers from my turkey dinner so I cooked a 14 pound bird, stuffing, mashed & gravy, greens and dessert (later cut the bird in 1/2 for the freezer once cooked).

                                                                I watched tv, napped, ate, got on the computer & wrote recipes for my impending book and cuddled with my dog and in between, chatted on the phone and I didn't feel so bad because I knew other people were thinking of me so for that, and the fact that I had my dog (who's my baby), I had alot to be grateful for.

                                                                Look at this as an opportunity to treat yourself like a Queen for a day or a couple of days. If you like to travel & see new places, spend a couple days taking a quick trip someplace you have some interest in. Check into a nice hotel with room service & a jaccuzi and allow yourself to be pampered. Treat yourself to a movie then go out to a nice restaurant for a meal. Go shopping to get a jump start on Christmas gifts; in some cities, stores are open on Thanksgiving.

                                                                If you decide to stay home, splurge on the makings of a fabulous meal, whatever you feel like making. Set the tone for your meal. Use your best china, flatware, and glasses. Even if you don't drink alcohol, drink your soda out of a wine glass. Light some candles & play some mood stimulating music. In between, do some of the things you haven't had time to do: bake, sew, read, clean out your closet, put your feet up. Whatever you do, it will be okay and some of us will still be on Chow (I know I will for at least part of the day) so you'll have someone to "talk" to. Happy Thanksgiving

                                                                1. There's a Law and Order-a-thon on TNT on Thanksgiving Day! Now that's my idea of a good time.

                                                                  1. Don't stay home alone! It can be quite boring if not just damn depressing! Look into buffets in your area. They offer so many wonderful foods to try. As to dining alone, your idle time at the table would be at a minimum as there would be no wait for your server to take your order or your meal to be prepared. There may be other diners there in similar situations that you could join.

                                                                    I'd hurry though - reserves are going quickly.

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: blynk

                                                                      Wow. Your first sentence, "Don't stay home alone!" scares the hell out of me. I don't intend this to be at all confrontive, but as we grow up and have families we are sort of "brainwashed," you might say, into thnking we must be doing something bad or we must be a bad person if we are alone. If you have spent time improving yourself, getting to know people and helping them, then in those very acts you have developed into a person it is fun to know and who is comfortable to be with. It seems to me that if you are comfortable for others to be with, you should most certainly be comfortable to be alone with yourself. My best advice to anyone would be to do what seems like fun to you, but don't feel you cannot have a wonderful holiday by celebrating being you with no one else around. Enjoy yourself. Or enjoy your self. Whatever works for you.

                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                        I completely agree. I travel for work and like nothing better than to be in my home ( one of the reasons I work so hard. The other two have four legs each) with no responsibilities. Being here is not at all depressing, it's restorative for me.

                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                          No confrontation taken, but not everyone is equally as comfortable being by themselves on Thanksgiving for the first time. Clearly, the OP wouldn't have posted had the question had there not been an uneasiness.

                                                                          How each person deals w/"aloneness" is quite uniquely personal. If someone ever expresses a concern to me about "seasonal" aloneness or loneliness (whichever it may be), I will always and forever advise they have a game plan should being by themselves be more than bargained for --- you never know if that day (particularly the "season" in general) brings a memory of lost loved ones or if it's the first time ever away from Mom and Dad, etc. With all respect back to you, it seems you're off base with your judgment of others' self improvement needs. Happy Thanksgiving, with whomever you spend it! Don't be so scared of ideas foreign to you!!

                                                                          1. re: blynk

                                                                            Sweetheart, PLEASE read my post again. I said nothing judgmental about anyone's self improvement needs. I am 77 years old and will be spending my very first Thanksgiving alone EVER. The "self improvement" I was talking about is a natural process of aging, and that is what I was referring to. marymac was widowed two days after last Christmas. She is obviously a very loving mother and recognizes that her grown kids have a life of their own. When you get that far along in life and you have kids of that age, you cannot have reached that point in life without accomplishing a great deal of "self improvement" whether it was your intent or not. That is what I was referring to. I was NOT being judgmental. Please read my post again with this in mind. In a later post, she said she isn't very comfortable going out alone.

                                                                            Part of my "Home Alone" Thanksgiving day will be breaking out the picture albums, hard copy and electronic, and basking in the memories they shower upon me. And if I cry with joy or a sense of loss over some of them, both kinds of tears are to be cherished. At least at 77 I am still alive to bask in them! '-)

                                                                            You have a wonderful Thanksgiving too, blynk... And maybe we can pick a time for all of us Thanksgiving Loners to meet in a thread here on Chowhound, and maybe the mods will be busy enough not to delete it until a day or two later, and we can all chat and share each others day? Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it, and to t hose of you who don't, I send you a big cyber-slice of turkey and another of pumpkin pie!

                                                                        2. re: blynk

                                                                          I think this is really an introvert/extravert issue. Some of us love being home alone. I won't hesitate to cook myself a full meal, even if I'm the only one eating. I think for the OP, the issue is that she is recently widowed, and facing her first holiday season without her husband. That is hard for anyone, even those who ordinarily don't mind being alone.

                                                                          As Caroline1 wisely says, our culture socializes us to make us think that being alone is bad. It can be unpleasant when it's not our choice, sure, but it's not intrinsically bad.

                                                                        3. I've helped with the holiday meal at a local senior center since the early 80's, but as other posters have mentioned, such orgs are sometimes overwhelmed with people who want to volunteer on TDay and Xmas. You might ask if there's something you can do before (such as prep) or after (such as KP), if that's something you want to do. As a bonus, you might be able to score a carcass without having to roast a bird.

                                                                          As for food--make what you want. It doesn't have to be turkey. In fact, I generally heap my plate with all the go-withs and take only enough turkey to appear respectable. In past years, I've made stuffing with twice as much of the things I like (mushrooms, pecans) and none of the stuff I don't like (celery).

                                                                          I also second others' suggestions re: books and movies. I sometimes have what I call My Own Personal Film Festival by stringing together two or three movies, starting with an early discounted matinee and then progressing to other movies, or going home and popping in a DVD or two.

                                                                          1. A. You're not alone, not ever.
                                                                            B. I vote for: whatever you feel like eating. Lucky you, not bound to tradition! I mean, nobody ever REALLY wanted Auntie Googa's noodle suprise, right? It just had to be on the table!
                                                                            C. See if a local women's shelter needs any kind of help, monetarily or foodwise. Put the amount that you'd spend on a big family dinner towards that, or offer to deliver a couple of roasted turkeys or some gift-bags for the kids, or art supplies so the kids in shelter can make pretty placemats for everyone in care there. I've been on both ends of the spectrum: in care and giving care, and I can't tell you what it means to know that there are people out there who really, really give a shit.
                                                                            D. Warm clean sheets, an excellent book, and a glass of wine and slice of pie in bed.
                                                                            God bless you this year and every year, darling. Have a happy day!!

                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                            1. re: mamachef

                                                                              You guys are so sweet! I would love to volunteer but am handicapped (use a walker, I hope temporarily) so won't be lugging any turkeys this year. Just knowing you guys are here is helping so much. I think a cornish hen or duck would be good this year with some bubbly. Thank you all!

                                                                              1. re: marymac

                                                                                "cornish hen or duck "

                                                                                Have the one you normally eat the least.

                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                  That would be duck. I was thinking the same thing. I called my meat department and they have fresh ones. Yum!

                                                                                  1. re: marymac

                                                                                    Or if you are really lazy like me, then you can get one that is already made. I am planning to go to Chinatown and get one of those Chinese roasted ducks. Who know I may change my mind last minuate and get something else, but so far this is my plan:

                                                                                    http://i2.squidoocdn.com/resize/squid...

                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                      MMM. That is a great idea. No Chinatown in Charleston, but if there was one I'd go get me a hangin' duck.

                                                                                      marymac, I believe you're gonna have a great time.

                                                                                    2. re: marymac

                                                                                      Yum indeed! That sounds good!

                                                                                      1. re: Jen76

                                                                                        Thanks, everyone!

                                                                                        1. re: marymac

                                                                                          Hi Marymac. So sorry for your loss. It will be different this year, but you're not alone. You have children; they're just elsewhere for the day and I'm sure you'll be hearing from them with well wishes. As my mom once said many moons ago when I was away at college or after I first moved away for a new job and couldn't get back for Thanksgiving "it's just a meal".
                                                                                          I agree with Caroline, media and TV commercials brainwash us into believing it has to be a feast for 30 people. No way. I wonder how many of those will end with a family squabble at the dinner table. Ha!

                                                                                          Lots of anxiety leading up to Thanksgiving, but I bet once the day arrives you'll be fine no matter what you decide to do. Stuffed cornish hens sounds great to me right now as does a stress free relaxing day off! Enjoy Mary.

                                                                                2. re: mamachef

                                                                                  Mamachef, YOU ROCK! So not going to ask about the noodle surprise and I thank The Lord we never had the green bean casserole from Hell. For us it was Grandma's(God love her) cranberry Jello salad. Almost ruined my cranberry salad taste for life(won't discuss my hatred for bread pudding)...

                                                                                3. I've spent Thanksgiving alone quite a few times (one time stranded at DFW airport) so I know where you are coming from.

                                                                                  I think we should all cherish the spirit of Thanksgiving and not necessarily the specific day. In other words, we should always try and find time to get together with loved ones, family, friends, etc. to celebrate and be thankful for all that we have. What specific day we do that is immaterial.

                                                                                  Yes, most of the Western world will be celebrating this upcoming Thursday, but if circumstances dictate that you will be away from your friends and loved ones, fear not because Thanksgiving can be celebrated on any day of the year (and some would say, "should be celebrated everyday of the year"), and your spirit of thanks and celebration should not be dictated by numbers and place-markers on our Gregorian calendar.

                                                                                  So, in a long-winded way, that was me just saying, if you're alone this Thursday, no biggie. Should you choose to make a special meal for yourself, great. Should you choose to spend it like any other weekday night, great. But just because you are alone this Thursday, does not mean you do not get to celebrate Thanksgiving at any other time when you are with family and friends.

                                                                                  Cheers.

                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                    Stranded at DFW???? ALONE???? LOL! I don't think so, Sugar Plum. You just didn't know anybody! That's a whole different thing! '-)

                                                                                    For the record. been there, done that, except I did it in Philly's "new" airport Christmas 1960. I talked to EVERYBODY!

                                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                      Hey, by the end of the night, I got to know ALOT of people.

                                                                                      And riding those trams gets old really really really quick.

                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                        Well, count your lucky stars they had trams and you weren't wearing high heels! '-)

                                                                                    2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                      "Yes, most of the Western world will be celebrating this upcoming Thursday..."

                                                                                      Really? Who else besides the US celebrates Thanksgiving? I always thought it was just the US.

                                                                                      1. re: Lizard

                                                                                        Canada for sure

                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                          Canadian Thanksgiving's in... September or October though.

                                                                                          1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                            True, true.

                                                                                            1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                              I should have specified that I knew about Canada, but it was my understanding that their Thanksgiving didn't fall on 'this upcoming Thursday'.

                                                                                            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                              Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on a different date, this year it was 10/11/10.

                                                                                        2. Honestly, for me it's enough to just sleep in and basically consider myself on vacation.

                                                                                          1. I've been reading this thread for the last couple of days. Now I am feeling downright jealous. I think I'd rather stay home, read a book or watch a movie and roast a cornish hen. Instead, Wednesday night I'll be making pies and cakes (I'm assigned desserts . . .again). Then Thursday driving 2 hours to my sister's, where it will be very loud and crowded. I'll eat too much and not enjoy enough wine, because I then have to drive two hours home.

                                                                                            Maybe next year I'll come down with something on Thanksgiving ;)

                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: gaffk

                                                                                              Years ago my ex and I were so weary of dysfunctional family events that we told everyone we were going out of town for Thanksgiving. Instead we went to an amazing buffet at a very nice hotel in our hometown and had a fabulous time!

                                                                                              1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                As a mental health professional I can say way to set a healthy boundary!

                                                                                                1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                  My family is not really disfunctional; just loud. So you're saying it's OK to leave town? (I'll admit, we went to the Hershey Hotel for Christmas a few years ago;)

                                                                                                  I really just want to stay home in quiet. Read a book, drink wine, have a game hen, not drive.

                                                                                                  1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                    Go for it!

                                                                                                    We were young and too wimpy to just tell the families what our plan was - saying we were going out of town removed the questions and anger that would have resulted from being honest about our plans.

                                                                                                    Many years later, people who know me well accept my periods of being in "hermit-mode". They don't always get it, but they understand that I need it and that it has nothing to do with my feelings for them.

                                                                                                    1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                      Thanks. I think I'll send the desserts and stay home for Thanksgiving. (I feel a fever coming on ;)

                                                                                                      Unfortunately it's my year to do Christmas.

                                                                                                      I would so love to invoke "hermit-mode."

                                                                                                    2. re: gaffk

                                                                                                      This thread has me craving a cornish hen right now.

                                                                                                      1. re: Island

                                                                                                        My oldest sister and my dad died within twelve months of each other. And my family is still loud. I'm really craving a quiet cornsh game hen. And a day of peace.

                                                                                                  2. re: gaffk

                                                                                                    I'm going to my sister's in-laws.At least this year it's only two hours, not three. Then when I get home I'm going to buy a turkey on clearance and have Thanksgiving for some friends the way I like it.

                                                                                                  3. I am a 45 year old single guy, and my closest family is 600+ miles away, which in a way is good for me at this time - long story. I have spent it with friends in the past, and it was OK. I am not a big holiday person, as I find them somewhat depressing. Everything is geared towards couples, etc, and I have been the perpetual bachelor. Love has been an unlucky game for me : (

                                                                                                    Last year ,and this year are different. I got onto an activities website called Meetup.com-it isn't a dating site. One of the hiking group members holds an "orphans" dinner for Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Last year we had around 45-50 people at each event. He cooks the main (turkey, and ham) we all bring a side, and a bottle of what we like to drink.

                                                                                                    I find these dinners very enjoyable, as I have met some new friends and have some great conversations throughout the night. It also gives me a chance to show off my mad cooking skills. My scratch pumpkin pies have converted non pumpkin pie eaters.

                                                                                                    If you are wondering about the pies I think it is just that so many people have gotten used to the puree pie fillings. I use standard Jack-O -Lantern pumpkins, cooked down ,and just mashed with a potato masher. The Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk recipe with some added spices, and a water whip pie crust. These pies actually have some texture to them, and are not overly sweet. The crust is one my Mom always made. The flour is added to shortening that has been whipped with boiling water to the consistency of whipped cream. Comes out really good.

                                                                                                    Anyway you might want to check out www.meetup.com it is free to join, and in the Las Vegas area there are over 800 different Meetup groups from cooking to unicycles. It is a worldwide site.

                                                                                                    Whatever you do, enjoy!

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                                                                                      Thanks for the info - I'll be passing it on to a friend who lives in the Vegas area.

                                                                                                    2. Thanks so much everyone for your posts! I was feeling very down when I realized I would be going solo this Thanksgiving for the first time, but I suppose it's all how you look at it. You've made my day!

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: Sleepy Slug

                                                                                                        Have a Happy Thanksgiving, SS. Do what you love!

                                                                                                      2. Ok, I've done this before, depending on what you think will make you feel better, either volunteer somewhere or make it a total pamper yourself day. And it's not better to volunteer just because it sounds more ultruistic. If it will make you sadder and feel more alone, then don't do that. Only do it if you think it will really uplift you, because charity done without joy isn't really giving much. It's perfectly ok to take a day and celebrate yourself, especially if that will make you happy, because the happiness will spill over to others anyway and better when you feel good. If you like to cook, cook your absolutely favorite comfort food. If you don't, then buy your favorite comfort food (in moderation), get a book you really want to read, watch the movie, do an at home spa day, whatever pampering is to you.

                                                                                                        But then, going forward, try to avoid this in the future. A holiday alone every so often happens, but if it is a regular occurence, then start trying to connect with others who are similarly situated and create an extended family of friends who need you as much as you need them. Creating Extended Families is possible and necessary for the long term. Wishing you happiness. - Holi

                                                                                                        1. hi marymac, sorry for your loss.
                                                                                                          i have skimmed this whole thread so i apologize if this has been said already but you mentioned your kids going to their dads for the t-day.
                                                                                                          do they normally stay with you? how about you just do a thanksgiving your way a few days before/after the actual t-day that way you get the best of both worlds...a fam t-day and a day to yourself?

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: pie22

                                                                                                            Thanks, pie22, my kids just offered to take me out the day after, so I will be seeing them. On Thanksgiving I will treat myself to something good.

                                                                                                          2. I usually go fishing or hiking. The trails are remarkably empty on Thanksgiving day.

                                                                                                            Sometimes a church will be serving a big Thanksgiving dinner for the elderly and shut-ins. You can drop in anonymously if it is a big enough church.

                                                                                                            1. Marymac, I too, am sorry for your loss. You seem to have gotten some really nice support and suggestions in the past few days. Glad to know you'll have some buds online. Glad to hear your kids are taking you out on Friday.

                                                                                                              I have a thought. -
                                                                                                              I know this isn't for everyone, and probably not for you - at least not this year - because of your temporary handicap. But what about volunteering at a local animal shelter over the holiday. Taking a shelter dog out of his cage and getting him into the fresh air for a walk is a great experience. They get so excited when they see the leash. You know it's just about the best thing that's happened to them in a good long while. If dogs aren't your thing they usually have a cat room. Any attention these guys get is a gift.

                                                                                                              You will need to register in advance, or at least call to find out what that shelter's procedures are. Happy Thanksgiving!

                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Whinerdiner

                                                                                                                What a nice idea ! I am going to post this suggestion at another group that I belong to.Although it may be too late for this to be doable this Thanksgiving, it may be something to consider next year. Also, it may just put "a bug in someone's ear" and folks may consider doing it any day of the year when they have some free time.

                                                                                                                Thanks, Whinerdiner. Robin

                                                                                                                1. re: Robinez

                                                                                                                  That is nice. I have an employer who actively encourages 40 hrs a year (on its dime) to volunteerism. Never thought of this, but I'd love to walk a dog or pet a cat and have matching money go there.

                                                                                                                  Thanks Whinerdiner.

                                                                                                                  Happy Thanksgiving to all. Let's all remember why we give thanks.

                                                                                                                  1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                    what a cool employer. and another year-round possibility.

                                                                                                              2. A local Indian restaurant is doing a special menu with turkey substituted for chicken in a number of classic Indian dishes, and I'm really curious, so this year I'll go out for dinner. Otherwise, when I'm not with family on the day, I make something I really like and tradition be damned. Last year it was chicken and sausage jambalaya - didn't think to use turkey.

                                                                                                                1. Marymac, and anyone else on their own, I wish you a great holiday. I enjoy a holiday alone. I indulge myself and reflect on the good things in my life. I have my melancholy too but I'm all about picking up and dusting off.

                                                                                                                  My routine:

                                                                                                                  cook:
                                                                                                                  small turkey (leftovers!)
                                                                                                                  select sides (only MY favorites)
                                                                                                                  pumpkin pie (I get best slice)
                                                                                                                  nice red wine

                                                                                                                  loud music from neglected CDs
                                                                                                                  bits of parade on TV

                                                                                                                  home mani, pedi, facial; Yeti-leg hair removal if needed

                                                                                                                  light internet surfing and shopping (shopping stops after 2nd glass wine)

                                                                                                                  brisk walk in late a.m. or early afternoon (steal neighbor's pumpkins if put out for trash)

                                                                                                                  Watch Cowboys lose. Again.

                                                                                                                  turkey sandwich with gravy shooter

                                                                                                                  marathon of 2-4 rented horror movies

                                                                                                                  sleep on sofa with all lights blazing and curtains pulled tight against zombies

                                                                                                                  May not be the best schedule for everyone, but always works for me. :)

                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                                                                    Love your humor! But you've scared the hell out of me! What part of north Texas do you live in? I live in Plano, and no one has ever warned me about ZOMBIES....!!!

                                                                                                                    But I do check my creek regularly for 'gators. '-)

                                                                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                      Ok, I should clarify: no more zombies per capita in Arlington than in Plano, just that after four horror films, there SEEM to be more out there.

                                                                                                                      I'm still pushing for the singalong/dancealong with long-unused CDs (and if marymac is of an appropriate age) some fun 70s disco, plus the "Alice's Restaurant" refrain.

                                                                                                                      And the mani/pedi. :)

                                                                                                                      1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                                                                        treated coworker and myself to mani/pedi with margaritas last night after work!!! Really needed it.

                                                                                                                      2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                        Ha!

                                                                                                                        I only have one horror movie to watch; hopefully there will be something on TV . . .

                                                                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                          "I live in Plano, and no one has ever warned me about ZOMBIES....!!!"

                                                                                                                          There's an app for that! ;)

                                                                                                                          1. re: Jen76

                                                                                                                            OMG, Zombie GPS! Now how do we get the little trackers on them?

                                                                                                                            WHO will bell the cat?

                                                                                                                      3. Here's what I'm doing for Thanksgiving "alone" -- drinking, watching NFL, drinking more, watchting more NFL -- pass out :))

                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: golfer2001

                                                                                                                          So how will you know who won? Oh, and are you one of my ex-husbands? '-)

                                                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                            HA! I bought a Perdue fresh turkey breast. I'll have lots of leftovers for sandwiches and stuff.

                                                                                                                            1. re: marymac

                                                                                                                              I''m way ahead of you, marymac! Had my "main Thanksgiving meal" at 1:00 today to share with my housekeeper, then she can spend tomorrow with her family. The great and glorious thing about it is that tomorrow I get Turkey SANDWICHES with mayonnaise and jellied cranberry sauce on white bread with dressing and gravy on the side AND watch the parade...! I think it will be the first time I will be able to watch the whole parade start to finish since my first child was born 42 years ago! Whether I will remains to be seen but sometimes just knowing you can is the important part. Enjoy your turkey breast!

                                                                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                Sounds like a plan, Caroline! I will be spending Thanksgiving alone, but have invites for the rest of the weekend.

                                                                                                                                1. re: marymac

                                                                                                                                  Mary- Have a blessedly quiet Thanksgiving and enjoy dinner with your children on Friday. And know you have a slew of CHers thinking about you.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: marymac

                                                                                                                                    Well, Mary, I am totally amazed to say my plans are shot! Today around noon while I was still ricing potatoes and carving the turkey, my son called to wish me happy Thanksgiving a day in advance, said he'll be spending tomorrow with his mixed doubles tennis partner or up in the mountains with his sister. We had a nice chat and I was so happy he had called.

                                                                                                                                    Tonight about 7, there was a knock at the front door. Most people use the bell, but this was a very persistent knock. I couldn't imagine who it could be. And that is exactly right. I could not imagine! It was John, my son, who was on his way here (it's a 600 mile drive from El Paso) when he told me the lies about tomorrow with his tennis partner or his sister!

                                                                                                                                    What an incredible Thanksgiving. May all of you have as a joyous Thanksgiving. Especially you, Mary. You're a very special person. Happy Thanksgiving.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                      You guys are the greatest!! Thanks so much!

                                                                                                                          2. Marymac, I am so sorry for your loss. Know I'll be on my computer tomorrow as well as a bunch of other chowhounders so you certainly aren't alone.

                                                                                                                            I've endured a bunch of really horrible Thanksgivings with other people, so being alone isn't so bad.

                                                                                                                            This year, for example, I thought I'd have to endure a horrible day with the boyfriend's parents, but now he's an ex so I'm free from that. I thought I'd "splurge" and eat out at a restaurant here in Fort Worth, but then was going to host a family at my home but they can't make it, so another change of plans.

                                                                                                                            So now at 9:45PM on "Turkey-eve", this is my plan for tomorrow:

                                                                                                                            8AM: cheer on a friend of mine who is showing a horse in the NCHA Futurity
                                                                                                                            10AM: do a 5 mile run in this unseasonably warm weather
                                                                                                                            12 Noon: start cooking my Thanksgiving Day meal:

                                                                                                                            Deboned turkey thigh stuffed with herb stuffing
                                                                                                                            whipped chipotle sweet potatoes
                                                                                                                            roasted veggies
                                                                                                                            tossed salad

                                                                                                                            I'll still have a bunch of leftovers, but I think it will be a good meal.

                                                                                                                            1. Alot of times I have found foreign exchange students would love a place to go for Thanksgiving, or college students too broke to fly home for the holidays, do you live near a college? You could maybe invite them?

                                                                                                                              1. Happy Thanksgiving!

                                                                                                                                1. "Alone." In good company. Devil's Dictionary. A. Bierce.

                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: beevod

                                                                                                                                    Like

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                      +1

                                                                                                                                    2. re: beevod

                                                                                                                                      Devil's Dictionary is one of the most wickedly funny books ever printed.

                                                                                                                                    3. Happy Thanksgiving! Gobble gobble

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Jen76

                                                                                                                                        Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Having all of you kind and generous souls helping me throughout the year is just one thing I'm thankful for.

                                                                                                                                      2. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

                                                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Island

                                                                                                                                          Happy Thanksgiving to you, Island, and everyone else here, and especially to marymac.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                                                                            Many thanks, backi at ya'!

                                                                                                                                          2. re: Island

                                                                                                                                            Happy Thanksgiving!!! Spending Thanksgiving alone doesn't mean you have to be lonely, and with all of you fellow Chowhounds how could anyone here be lonely.

                                                                                                                                            To all of you solo diners, I hope your meal turns out wonderful. My eyes were bigger than my stomach, but I think this is the best Thanksgiving I've had in ages.

                                                                                                                                            This morning it was 70, and now it is in the 30's, gotta love Texas! I'm looking out of my living room window and the trees are definitely autumn colors. I overlook a creek and this is the perfect Thanksgiving Day picture.

                                                                                                                                            Splurged at Central Market this morning. Got some cheese and an olive tapenade along with a baguette to munch on while cooking. Watched "Miracle on 34th Street" while dinner was in the oven. Of course had to open a bottle of wine.

                                                                                                                                            The turkey thigh turned out great, and the crispy skin really reminded me of czech roasted duck. The stuffing could have been more exciting it still was good.

                                                                                                                                            Marymac, how was your day?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Barbara76137

                                                                                                                                              My turkey is almost done. I'm glad I stayed in because we are having some dicey weather out there. My kids did call. I'll see them this weekend. My nephew invited me to his house on Sunday. You guys have really helped soothe the rough spots. Thanks so much!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: marymac

                                                                                                                                                I've brought all of my herbs in from my balcony because of the freeze tonight, but enjoyed wearing my new winter jacket when I went shopping this morning.

                                                                                                                                                I called my parents and they are cooking a turkey breast, just the two of them, and all of the trimmings. They are used to big holiday meals but the turkey breast will be just fine for them. My father is in ill health but my mom is really a trooper.

                                                                                                                                                Marymac, can you post some pictures of your feast???? I'm sure it is delicious!! lots of {{hugs}} to you!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: marymac

                                                                                                                                                  MaryMac: did I read right you're in the STL area? I'm a few hours SW of there and yes the weather sucked today.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                    Yes, hill food. I live in St. Charles. It was a nasty day.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: marymac

                                                                                                                                                      well hey now you'll be out and about with your kids in cold but decent weather!

                                                                                                                                            2. Marymac you are not the only one alone. First time in my life I am completely alone today also. It would be too much of a pity party to tell you the reasons why but I am. I wish you to not be lonely. I am hoping my son and his GF will be here by Saturday and even if we can't find a turkey, we will be together! I have the makings for side dishes just no turkey, I hope there will be a fresh one that they can buy on Saturday so we can make it before they leave on Sunday. Virtual hug to you from me.

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: elainelena

                                                                                                                                                as I said in a previous post, a big difference between alone and lonely. Turkey is just another bird, and you can substitute chicken, duck, goose, cornish hen, or anything else for turkey. Actually, I think a lot of people desire the sides over the bird.

                                                                                                                                              2. I ended up deciding to stay home anyway! (Bit of a dodgy-sounding cough -- nothing major, just didn't want everyone to think I was Typhoid Mary or anything.) Made my own turkey, a little pan of dressing, and cranberry sherbet, and watched Love Actually and Patrick Stewart's version of A Christmas Carol. About to start digging in the closet for the Christmas decorations.

                                                                                                                                                Best part: standing over the screamin' hot turkey and picking off all the crispiest bits of skin. It's my daggone bird and I'll do what I want! :)

                                                                                                                                                Hope everyone's day was lovely and full of delicious food and good company -- even if that company was your own! :)

                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                                                  Love that skin and it's all mine! And I have to eat all. It's not good cold.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                                                    House is clean, so I'm planning on decorating inside & out this weekend. Skin was also good here!!! Had to fight my cat for it.

                                                                                                                                                  2. hope all my fellow lone Hounds are having as relaxing and delicious a day as i am. it was a glorious, crisp & sunny SoCal morning, and i was very thankful to live in a climate where i can go running in shorts at the end of November so i took advantage of it ;) enjoyed some quality time in front of the TV and in the kitchen, and i'm going to curl up with a book for a while...it's only 5:00 here and i'll eat at normal dinner time.

                                                                                                                                                    the turkey breast turned out moist & flavorful and is now resting on the counter, brussels sprouts are going in the oven in a while, stuffing casserole is cooling on the stove (and may be the best i've ever made!), and i outdid myself on the cranberries. whipped up the pumpkin custard for dessert which just needs to bake while i enjoy the main course.

                                                                                                                                                    i made far too much of everything, so i'll be inviting friends over for leftovers this weekend!

                                                                                                                                                    as i tuck into my meal i'll be giving many thanks for this wonderful community and the insight, wisdom, and support of my fellow Chowhounds.

                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                      Amen to that.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                        a fellow runner as well as a chowhound!!! here in TX it went from 70 to 30's today! Thank goodness I'm a morning person.

                                                                                                                                                        I'm having seconds of my Thanksgiving meal as I'm writing this.

                                                                                                                                                      2. Alone at home for the first thanksgiving since my hubby died. It's a fine clear day in Central California, so I puttered this morning, then went out to the sand dunes near Santa Maria to Oso Flaco (Skinny Bear) Lake, and walked across the lake on the boardwalk, out through the dunes and to the sea. It was wonderful, lots of families and couples out for a stroll along the shore. Many of LGB's (little grey birds) at the lake and in the coastal scrub. It had always been a holiday tradition for hubby and I to go to Osos Flaco--felt odd going by myself, but OK.

                                                                                                                                                        Came home, down loaded photos, and started the BBQ. Coals ready, I put on two extra-fat King Salmon steaks, 1/2 of one for me now, rest for later--maybe freeze it. (I bought a 7 pounder at Morro Bay yesterday). Salmon is cooking slowly along with the last of my yellow bells which I pulled from the garden in anticipation of last night's freeze. Sauteed some mushrooms in butter with garlic to put over the steamed broccoli.

                                                                                                                                                        Trader Joe's pumpkin pie and vanilla ice cream will be dessert about 8 (I didn't know you had to defrost the pie before baking. SURprise! glad I didn't have company.

                                                                                                                                                        Not a bad 'home alone' Thanksgiving at all. Lots to reflect on for thankfulness. My best to you Mary, it gets easier bit by bit.

                                                                                                                                                        edit: ***burp*** salmon was swoon-worthy; we'll see about TJ's pie :-)

                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: toodie jane

                                                                                                                                                          This thread has turned into one of my favorite Chowhound threads of all time. For many reasons.

                                                                                                                                                          Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

                                                                                                                                                          Take care, Robin

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: toodie jane

                                                                                                                                                            TJ: I had wondered how your DH was. Sorry to hear about his passing, but glad your T'day went well. I enjoy reading your posts because I have family in Salinas, Santa Maria, and Santa Barbara and often heed your tips.

                                                                                                                                                            Take care, S

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: toodie jane

                                                                                                                                                              oh toodie, i'm so sorry to hear about your DH. it feels like we've had far too many painful losses in the CH community this year.

                                                                                                                                                              glad to hear the salmon turned out so well. i hope the pie & ice cream were delicious!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                thanks guys, this forum has helped me thorugh some rough times, and I do appreciate you all so very much!

                                                                                                                                                                tj

                                                                                                                                                            2. marymac, glad you enjoyed your turkey, and glad your children will be with you soon. we lost our mom a few weeks ago, so today was very weird and strange, not a holiday at all. but i spent the day with my father and we had a nice time. i am so sorry for your loss, and to all others who have gone through the same, and can only hope time makes things better, as people say. enjoy your leftovers, and your family this weekend!

                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                maria, i'm so sorry for your loss. today must have been extremely difficult for you & your Dad - i'm glad you at least had each other to lean on.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                  thank you ghg, we do have each other (and my sister, who had to go to her partner's family dinner today) and very thankful for that. hope yours was wonderful!

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                  To Mary Mac, and Maria, and all my fellow CH-ers:
                                                                                                                                                                  I hope your holiday was peaceful and lovely and bright-feeling. I have such empathy for the painful losses some of us have had to endure this very strange holiday season.
                                                                                                                                                                  I hope we all had a great and thankful day. I know I was thinking about a lot of y'all and wishing good hopes on you.
                                                                                                                                                                  I am SO avoiding the mall today.

                                                                                                                                                                3. This thread has turned into one of my favorite Chowhound threads of all time. For many reasons.

                                                                                                                                                                  Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

                                                                                                                                                                  Take care, Robin

                                                                                                                                                                  1. So, marymac, what did your menu consist of to go with your turkey? I certainly hope you had a very peaceful day. I thought of you and all the alone CH's several times today. I hope it was wonderful. DH and I met MIL at a restaurant for dinner. I also packed a cooler full of one-dish meals to send home with her since we had Turkey last week. A couple of fully loaded turkey dinners, some Chicken Enchilada's, Chicken Enchilada Suizas and some lasagna (she doesn't use anything but her stove top and microwave any more) as I worry about her diet. Next time she get's pot roast!

                                                                                                                                                                    Hope all you wonderful CH's had a terrific and safe day.

                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                                                                      My meal was simple. Turkey, dressing and a vegetable. There are so many lovely people on this forum.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: marymac

                                                                                                                                                                        Well Done!!!:)

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: marymac

                                                                                                                                                                          Hi, Marymac. It sounds as if you're having a decent weekend. I thought of you last night.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                            I too thought of you. And hope you have a lovely meal with your children today.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. I pent most of the day by myself... but still cooked dinner... it always lifts my spirit when I cook!!!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. I have slightly mixed feelings, maybe a small tinge of guilt, about not being alone for Thanksgiving as I expected, but what an amazing and wonderful surprise when my son showed up Wednesday night. Total and utter amazement on my part! But still a bit of guilt about copping out on the rest of you. My plan was to come check in regularly throughout the day, maybe a witty (or halfway anyway) comment about the Macy's parade. I saw absolutely NONE of the parade! Don't even know whether Santa Claus showed up at the end.

                                                                                                                                                                          It is so good to check in now and find that you all had comfortable and delicious Thanksgivings. My Thanksgiving dinnerS this year were unique. I cooked on Wednesday and shared the full spread with my housekeeper, and I learned something. Because I had minor surgery on my right hand only a day before, she had to do all of the actual cooking while I very closely supervised. So while I did taste to check seasonings and such, my face was not over the stove the whole time, and I did NOT suffer sensory burnout when we sat down to eat as I have for many many years past. But she did. She just pecked at her food. And for the first time since I was maybe twelve, I ate like there was no tomorrow! EVERYTHING tasted FANTASTIC! We did turkey, dressing, gravy, riced potatoes (they absorb more gravy!), sweet potato souffle with walnuts, lavendered Brussels sprouts, buttered peas, and cranberry relish. I cannot believe it but I ate two of everything!

                                                                                                                                                                          Thanksgiving day, I was fully prepared to warm up all of the leftovers for John and me, but he said, "No, Mom, this is one Thanksgiving you're not going to cook!" So off we went for a joy ride. He knows I absolutely hate city driving. He also knows that I avoid it like the plague. He drove me all over town so I could see things first hand. I will say this. Thanksgiving day is the ideal day for that sort of thing. Hardly any traffic! If it was like that all the time, I'd go downtown more!

                                                                                                                                                                          And then we went looking for a place to eat. I had no idea that many restaurants close on Thanksgiving. After nearly a half hour of driving, it boiled down to TGI Friday's or McDonald's. We did not go to McDonald's! I had their broccoli cheese soup and salmon with a fruit salsa and mandarin sections with basmati rice. It was quite good, though the salmon was a bit overcooked. John had some sort of breasts of chicken that looked grossly overdone just looking at them, but bless his heart, he's newly divorced and at least fifteen years out from regular mom-cooked meals, so he eats anything. But for restaurant food on Thanksgiving with wonderful company, it was a lovely meal!

                                                                                                                                                                          And some really good news came this morning. I weigh myself once a week. I'm dieting. I figured I had to have added at least a couple of pounds with the second helpings on Wednesday and all of the feasting for at least two full days. I love my bathroom scale! It says I lost three pounds this past week! Pass the stuffing!

                                                                                                                                                                          Hugs to all of you and so glad your days were good! Hooray for Chowhounds!

                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                            that was a great report caroline! <ps, send that bathroom scale over to me, willya?>

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks, but either you won't want the bathroom scale or you won't want my memory. When I weigh myself, I write it down in an inconspicuous corner of my calendar. I didn't lose three pounds. I GAINED one...! But I guess that's better than thinking I'd lost one only to find out I'd gained three. If anyone ever develops a successful metabolic transplant, I have several friends and a daughter who will be in deep trouble! And I'll be forever thin with no effort! '-)

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                loved every part of your story (what a great son!), and especially the end kicker about your scale trials and tribulations! thanks for posting it. i want the magic scale that always reduces after weekends and holidays, and doesn't correct itself until you've actually had time to lose what you didn't know you'd gained!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                  scales are for bakers and butchers... the rest of us mehhh