Holidays are a tricky time of the year that almost always require a battle plan. It wasn't always that way. As a young kid during the holidays, you just kinda showed up and people would say nice things they noticed about you, then you would stuff your face and then shrink away to play video games in your bedroom. This tactic served me really well for years. Then ... college happened.
College gave me a slew of problems when it came to holidays like Thanksgiving. Do you stay on campus with other kids who didn't go home and wallow in self pity? Do you go home and try to see your family and friends, obviously upsetting one of the two by not spending enough time with them? Or do you pray that this is the year the government gets rid of holidays all together?
When you graduate from college, the final phase of Thanksgiving kicks in. You no longer live on campus, so you are either living at home or moved away. I was one of the kids who moved away, first to Boston and then Los Angeles. In both cities I experienced what I like to call The Floater Thanksgiving. You don't go home, mostly because plane tickets are hella expensive, and instead you float around waiting for someone to invite you to their family dinner. So what now? The following are the emotional stages of not going home for Thanksgiving (and how to cope):
Is it Thanksgiving already? Your mother's fridge is 3,000 miles away, so the frozen turkey reminder you are used to seeing isn't there. (I swear, the only reason I knew holidays were coming up was my mother's cooking.)
Is this what the holidays feel like for all people? Am I going to die alone? Where are the mashed potatoes?!
3. Reassurance That Everything Will Be OK
Just because you are not going home doesn't mean anything bad is going to happen! You will be fine!
You will need to explain your plan to family and friends back home. This way they cannot get mad at you. You will also need a plan for yourself, because holidays are tough, and they're even tougher if you let yourself spend them alone.
5. Calling All Friends
Is there anyone around your area that you can call a friend, that is willing to have a Floating Friendsgiving with you this year? Start dialing. Aside from wanting the company, cooking food and doing holiday prep alone can get really financially hard. So get a buddy to split that gravy!
It will start to feel daunting and overwhelming. Just breathe. Everything is going to be fine. And besides, holidays come every year. If you screw it up this time, just learn and try something else next year!
To all your friends who are spending the holidays fighting off questions about why they are still single, your complaints will start to sound like bragging. Oh, you don't have to fly out to your hometown to tell everyone you lost your job? Wow. TOUGH. So be kind to your friends and tone down the complaint/brag.
8. Cooking The Meal
Your friends and you will eventually agree upon which person is cooking what. You will have to be a good judge of character when trusting certain people will vital tasks. Don't let Gretchen cook the turkey if she once set off the fire alarm in her bajillion floor building.
9. Divide and Conquer
Chores will also have to be tallied up. Don't forget that just because you cooked something it excuses you from cleaning up. If anyone is cooking at my place, you better believe they will do a dish or two.
10. The Meal
You will chow down on the bounty that is Friendsgiving. Pace yourself. (JK, go ham. Or ... go turkey? Trust your gut.)
11. Compliment Each Other
What is the point of working together if they don't tell you your mashed potatoes are the bomb?
12. Take A Lot Of Pictures
This event needs to be remembered. You are an adult who is cooking a holiday meal! Memories will be made, and you will want to remember the details.
13. Left Over Heaven
Because, inevitably, you and your friends overachieved your way into left-over heaven, you will have a ton of food left over. Donate the food, or split it up evenly. Either way, don't be a Ross about it.
I hope this Friendsgiving is great for you. I hope no one burns anything and the turkey is delicious and that you get a lot of likes on Instagram.
Images: Giphy; NBC