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By mid-October, most college students are eagerly anticipating Thanksgiving and the week-long break from classes that comes with it. Not only does it offer a much-needed reprieve from the stress of balancing academics, extracurriculars, and an active social life, but it’s also supposed to provide students with the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving with their loved ones. But what if you aren’t spending Thanksgiving with your family? Whether you live too far away to justify going home or you simply have other plans, it can be difficult to celebrate such an intimate holiday with the people closest to you. Luckily, you’re not alone: here are a few tips and tricks to survive Thanksgiving without your family, as daunting as the idea may be.


Surround yourself with people.

It’s one thing to not see your family on Thanksgiving, but it’s another to be completely alone. No matter what your circumstance is, go out of your way to be around other people in a similar boat; whether you know them well or not, you’ll at least be able to bond over your respective situations, and you could even make a new friend. A girl in one of my classes last year couldn’t go home for Thanksgiving, and she was really upset about it; turns out, another girl on her floor was also staying on campus. They both ended up hanging out the whole week, and are still friends a year later.


Crash a close friend’s Thanksgiving.

If your roommate or another close friend is celebrating Thanksgiving with their family, see if it’s possible for you to join them. Chances are, a good friend will invite you before you even have to ask! Just be careful not to cross any lines; Thanksgiving is a family holiday, so you don’t want to invite yourself, but politely explaining your situation to your friend certainly can’t hurt. It might be weird to have Thanksgiving dinner with somebody else’s family, but it can also be really fun to celebrate with a friend.


Host a “Friendsgiving.”

If you’re going home for break but still aren’t spending Thanksgiving with your family, consider hosting a “Friendsgiving.” Invite any friends you know who also don’t have plans, or see if your friends can stop by before or after any prior engagements they may have. If you can cook, enlist a friend to help you make all of the Thanksgiving staples — turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pie — or simply order Thanksgiving dinner from a caterer or restaurant. Serve champagne in real glasses, or even make fall-themed cocktails. Hosting your own Thanksgiving celebration will make you feel super mature and accomplished — it’s hard work, but fun!


No matter what, make sure you eat some turkey.

Worst comes to absolute worst, Thanksgiving food is comfort food at its best. So get your hands on some turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie and let the comfort food, well, comfort you.

Isabel Beck is a sophomore at Syracuse University. She is majoring in Writing and Rhetoric and hopes to one day work with the likes of Grace Coddington and Anna Wintour at Vogue.  She shamelessly keeps up with the Kardashians and is a self-diagnosed shopaholic.  To learn more about Isabel, you can check out her blog or follow her on Instagram @isabel_beck
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