Celebrating Thanksgiving When You Don't Celebrate the Holiday

For many families, Thanksgiving is a time to come together and share a meal. But what if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving?

From your RAFT Counseling Team in Parker, CO

For many families, Thanksgiving is a time to come together and share a meal. But what if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving? Whether you don't celebrate the holiday because of views around history, religion or politics, or because you simply don't like turkey, here are some tips for how to handle Thanksgiving with family.

Changing Your Mindset

The first step is to change your mindset. Instead of viewing the holiday dinner and conversation as a battle, try to see it as an opportunity to share your story and connect with your family members. Sharing your views about the history of the holiday, or other pieces that don’t line up, can be empowering.

Others might be welcoming of hearing your experience and views! But it’s also important to remember that you can't control what other people say or do. The only thing you can control is your own words and actions. Talk to your family ahead of time. Remember that you're talking to people who may not be familiar with the concepts you're discussing. Focus on sharing your experiences in a way that is relatable and easy to understand. You can explain why you don't celebrate the holiday and let them know that you would still grateful for their company.

Adjust Your Expectations

Just as you can't control what other people say, you also can't control how they react to what you say. Some family members may be supportive and understanding. Others may be critical or even dismissive. It's important to be prepared for all types of reactions so that you can maintain your composure during the conversations that might come up.

Enjoy the Parts that Do Line Up

Are there parts about a holiday that you do still enjoy? Bring a dish to share. Join the ridiculous game of family charades. Maybe even throw a football around. Just because you're not celebrating Thanksgiving doesn't mean you can't enjoy a traditional meal and quality time with your friends and family. Find other things to do. Not everyone enjoys sitting around the table and eating all day. If that's not your thing, suggest going for a walk or playing games together. This can be a great way to bond with your family that puts the focus back on connecting with your loved ones. This way, you can still enjoy the food and company, even if you don’t celebrate the holiday itself.

The holidays are a time for families to come together, but they can also be a time of stress and anxiety, especially when holidays and traditional family gatherings don’t line up with your values, beliefs, or experiences. By following these tips, you'll be better equipped to handle tough conversations with grace and poise this holiday season. Celebrating with family doesn't have to be complicated—even if you don't celebrate the holiday yourself. By talking to your family ahead of time and finding other ways to connect, you can make the day special without participating in the holiday itself.
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