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How to Celebrate Thanksgiving Day Solo

By November 22, 2020June 8th, 202414 Comments

People ask, “what are you doing for Thanksgiving?”. This can be an awkward question to answer. No one wants to answer, “Nothing”. During this very strange time when we are all being told to isolate and maintain social distance it may be difficult for someone who lives alone to figure out how to celebrate the day.

If this is you, I have some ideas to share.

Think outside the box

If you have family or friends who are family within easy driving distance find out if there is a way for you to be respectfully together to celebrate the day. There may be a park, or they may have an outside area at their home where you could get together and celebrate.

You would bring your own meal, folding chair, and everyone would wear their masks except when eating.

Take a hike

Is there a hike, a trail, or a park you’ve wanted to explore? Pack a picnic, include plenty of water, and make a day of it. Cue up a couple of great podcasts, wear your hiking boots, and have an adventure. If you have a dog, bring him/her along. They will also love the adventure! This is could be a wonderful way to celebrate the day, provided the weather cooperates.

Be sure to let someone know where you are going, just in case.

Indulge in fitness

Maybe you’ve been interested in getting back in shape. Why not start on Thanksgiving Day? Some fitness studios or gyms offer special classes on Thanksgiving Day. Bodyfitz in Sandy Springs has a class offered by the owner and personal trainer, Dan Fitzsimons. The idea is that people take a class and burn off lots of calories so that they can eat their fill at dinner. Maybe there is a class like that near where you live.

What about Thanksgiving Dinner?

How do you celebrate with a special Thanksgiving Dinner when you live alone and are following the Covid guidelines by staying separated?  Of course, you know you can order a meal from a restaurant. One of my favorite restaurants in Sandy Springs, Breadwinner Café and Bakery, has a special Thanksgiving Menu from which to order. They are making all the familiar sides and offering them in a variety of portion sizes. You can buy lots so you have leftovers, or you can get just enough for you. They even have roasted turkey by the pound. Make way for turkey sandwiches!

Check out Breadwinner if you are in the Atlanta area. If you’re not, there is probably a restaurant in your town that is doing something similar.


Connect with your family and friends in advance and schedule time to talk to them face-to-face on Thanksgiving Day. This way you can celebrate with them virtually. One of my friends, with whom I have spent many a Thanksgiving Day, sent out an invitation to play a game on Zoom at 3pm on Thanksgiving. We always play a game when we are together, so this invitation came as no surprise.

Be creative and think outside the box. Find something special that you’ve wanted to do and plan to do it – if possible. Connect with family and friends. Have a delicious meal and celebrate. Above all remember what the day is about. It’s a time to remember all the things, big and small, for which we are thankful.

Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize in Atlanta, Georgia. Diane specializes in residential and home-office organizing and working with people affected by ADHD, hoarding challenges, and chronic disorganization. Please contact Diane for a free 30-minute phone consultation. 


  • My family has a zoom call planned. Even though most of us live in the same area, my mom is 88 and I have several college kids who are coming home for the holiday. We are all happy staying safe in our own homes, but zoom has been a wonderful way to stay connected. I’d like to keep a zoom call as a tradition in the future, even when we can gather together.

  • Thanksgiving day won’t be the same for
    Most of us. Perhaps a little less stressful, but also as festive.
    I’m going to miss having my daughters ( my son lives with us. ) So, I sent each of them Thanksgiving dinner to arrive on Thursday. It made me feel better.
    Just as you suggested, my family is going to have a Zoom cook off on Thanksgiving day. For those of us that cook, that should be fun!

  • Melanie says:

    Great suggestions, Diane! This is such a special time of year for me and my family. I’ve been pretty devastated to be separated from everyone but we’re taking steps to make the season joyous. We are forgoing cooking Thanksgiving and ordered a traditional meal from on epf our favorite catering companies. We feel good about supporting a small, local business. We also plan on doing A LOT of zooming. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!!

  • Julie Bestry says:

    I feel like you wrote this post for me–I’m going to need some of these suggestions to make the holiday work this year.

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday; for 25+ years, it’s been a guaranteed opportunity for my mom, sister, and myself to get to the same place and make an event of the entire week: shopping (for Thanksgiving and for retail therapy), sightseeing (even if the sights are the exist we’re supposed to take as we pass it…repeatedly), and the day itself. We watch the parade, we watch the dog show, and I watch my mom and sister cook, because I’m useless in the kitchen. (My jobs are to lift heavy things and solve tech problems.) This year, we’ll all be in our respective cities, eating alone (though possibly via Zoom). Depending on the weather, I may drive down to Atlanta and sit in my car in my sister’s driveway for a while as she sits in her car, and we chat by phone while seeing one another in 3D.

  • When you feel a little down, exercise is a great pick me up. Take a walk or a ride on Thanksgiving day is a wonderful option.

  • Sara Skillen says:

    It’s a different sort of year, for sure, and these are great ideas. I was reminded by a friend of the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, where they set up a ping pong table outside. That could be a fun theme, too!

  • Seana Turner says:

    Zoom and similar platforms have been a lifesaver for me and my family. I say go ahead and just put the computer right at their place at the table (as long as you can see each other). I agree that cooking a big meal for one or two people is hard to do, so how wonderful that vendors like Breadwinner are catering to this need. It not only helps the individual who doesn’t want to cook, but also benefits by the community by keeping a local restaurant in business!

  • I love all of your suggestions! Especially this year, we won’t celebrate Thanksgiving as it has been in past years. You’ve come up with so many beautiful ways to honor the day and self. And for those that will be isolating on Thanksgiving, the out of the box ideas you shared are terrific. For those that don’t like to cook, what a great idea to order food from a local place. Steve and I are having a virtual Thanksgiving with our kids and their partners. We’re each sharing a recipe that we’ll all cook and then add other items to our menus. Then we’ll sit down together and eat via Zoom with our “shared” recipes, eat, talk, and connect in this different way. We’re all finding new ways to celebrate in this time of a pandemic. Enjoy your Thanksgiving and playing the game with your friends. That sounds like so much fun!

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