Just before Thanksgiving, NPR posted a question on its website asking people to weigh in about spending holidays alone. Are they doing so themselves and why?

NPR got a flood of answers. From my perch as a practitioner and scholar of single life, what I found most intriguing was the range of responses. My guess is that if NPR had posed this question three or four decades ago, the reactions would have been overwhelmingly negative – people appalled at the idea of spending a holiday alone, or pitying those who do. People who were planning to be alone perhaps would have been reluctant to say so.

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Alone for the Holidays – the Issue Everyone Wants to Discuss

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  1. I have to say, I’m a little uncomfortable with a singles site talking about spending the holidays alone. I worry that it plays into the stereotype that single people are lonely and “don’t have anyone”. I think it’s a valid option but in this context I wonder about what conclusions readers will draw from it.

    I do understand the need for solitude. I did spend Thanksgiving in the traditional way with extended family at a cousin’s house. But I also left an hour early so I could stop by a forest preserve near my cousin’s so I could walk for an hour in peace. It was surprising how many other people were doing the same.

  2. If you choose to be alone, that is fine but I am alone, not from choice, but from my husband, mother and sister dying. They were the people I would spend my holidays with. I always looked forward to the holidays and seeing family but now there is hardly any family left. Yes, you can do things to keep busy. I have probably read 200 books, you can work, take a walk or visit a friend. It is easy to wish for solitude on a holiday when you know that the people you love are still alive because you always believe you have tomorrow but sometimes tomorrow doesn’t come and all you are left with is memories and a ache in your heart.

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