It’s Entirely Okay If You Don’t Go Home For Thanksgiving This Year

not going home for thanksgiving

Libby Ryan

The holidays come in a rush, with a whirlwind of travel expectations in addition to the gifts you have to buy. As soon as Halloween passes, you’re in the countdown to Thanksgiving, which quickly leads to the winter succession of celebrations. It’s a quick wind-up from binging on candy to traveling home twice in two months.

Unless you don’t.

There are so many reasons why it’s completely, absolutely okay not to make it home for Thanksgiving. It doesn’t mean you’re avoiding your family (and it’s also alright if you are). It doesn’t make you a holiday-hating grump (but if turkey isn’t your thing, that’s cool, too). It does mean you have other stuff going on, whether it’s a tight budget, a full travel schedule or other people to celebrate with.

Personally, I love my family and I don’t really care for turkey dinners, but this will be the third Thanksgiving since I moved away from my Midwestern home state that I’ll be missing the holiday. And if you’ve got any of the three rationals I use in my no RSVP up your sleeve, you can feel just as confident in choosing to skip your parents’ potatoes, turkey and pie.

If you can’t afford it…

During my first year living in New York City, I was scraping together rent every month. There was no way I could spring for a flight across the country. And my fellow intern and assistant friends were dealing with the same problem.

Holiday travel is expensive, sometimes terrifyingly so when you realize it’s two inflated priced tickets in two months. That can pinch your wallet further than is possible if you’re at the beginning of your career working with an entry-level salary. If your budget is a little tight, it’s okay if you have to opt out. It’s completely valid to choose groceries, rent or even a necessary new pair of boots.

For those eager to see their families but wary of paying exorbitant holiday travel prices, we suggest going home another time of year. If your family is really set on it, you could even bake a pumpkin pie in March when travel deals are a little kinder on your wallet.

not going home for thanksgiving

Libby Ryan

If you want to use those vacation days…

In July, I found the perfect flight deal — $500 roundtrip to Thailand. The only catch? The flight leaves the Saturday before Thanksgiving. So I called my family and told them that I’d bring them some souvenirs from Bangkok for Christmas but I’d miss this year’s Turkey Day.

Let’s be real: Vacation days are at a premium. So the Thursday and Friday around Thanksgiving (and sometimes an extra half day on Wednesday) are prime real estate for a trip over the long weekend. We get it if you want to venture out into the world for those five days. Bonus points if you get the fam to come along for the ride!

If you’ve made your own traditions…

The word “Friendsgiving” seems to have percolated up through the Twitterverse and other spheres of the internet around 2007, right when the first millennials were hitting their mid-twenties. And we, as a generation, have adopted the idea of eating turkey, potatoes and pie with our friends — our chosen family. Once Pinterest came around, we were sold on the idea of DIYing our own Thanksgivings in small apartments, sometimes without an actual dinner table.

No matter if you adore your family’s inside jokes or if you’re trying your hardest to avoid your racist, sexist Uncle Arnold’s commentary over sweet potatoes, it’s alright if you want to spend Thanksgiving with your friends instead. And for those of you who celebrate Friendsgiving the weekend before with the squad and find yourself riding solo on the third Thursday in November, make yourself a nice turkey, brie and apple grilled cheese, pour yourself a glass of spiked cider and queue up a nice binge-watch on Netflix.


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