There are many things I'd rather do than wait around in an airport for 4, 5, 12 hours with countless other weary travelers. It's as if someone handpicked the most irritable, irritating, inconsiderate people within a two hundred mile radius of your home airport and shoved them all into a confined space, making them vie for the attention of airline staff who'd rather gouge their own eyeballs out with a hot poker. Pray that you don't get seated next to the guy who hasn't touched a bar of soap in the last decade.
Let's say you've made it to your destination, whether it be across town or across the country. Everything is great for the first fifteen minutes or so. Idle small talk, asking how your sister's dancing job is going (to pay for college, of course), gossiping about Aunt May and her new "pool boy," wondering if Uncle Carl will make it once he gets out of rehab - third time's a charm, right? Great! Family time! Until you realize there's a reason why you only see these people once a year (or maybe twice, depending on the general health of your family). Beer, wine, booze - hey, why not? Nothing says togetherness like getting drunk beyond comprehension with your "closest relatives" whom you couldn't stand to be around (for more than fifteen minutes) sober. Someone has to grease those inheritance wheels! It'll all pay off in 20 or so years, right?
Who needs any of that? Not you!
Things you'll need before beginning your journey:
1) Complete disdain for everything and everyone
2) A microwaveable meal (preferably some kind of turkey dinner)
3) No self respect
Step 1: Alienate Everyone Around You
And I don't mean being a mere annoyance. They have to absolutely loathe being around you. When you approach people, they don't open their arms to engage in a warm embrace... they cock their fists to punch you in the kidney. If they could tolerate you enough to befriend you on Facebook, they wouldn't write "Happy Birthday" on your birthday; they'd just leave a string of expletives.
There are many ways to accomplish this and to detail every one of them would take an infinite amount of time and space, so I'll just provide some examples.
Children? Offer them candy that turns out to be raisins.
Asthmatic? Blow cigarette smoke in their face.
Crunchy granola-eating liberal? Tell them how much you wish Bush could have stayed in office indefinitely.
Recovering alcoholic? Offer a glass of water... that's actually vodka.
If you've already made the mistake of committing the night to your family, it's usually pretty easy to get out of spending the next 3-4 hours with them; if your parents are on the brink of divorce, ask your dad where those receipts for "Entertainment Services" came from. Hide the Doritos, Mountain Dew, and Xbox from your 42 year old live-at-home brother.
Nothing is off limits! You want everyone. To. Hate. You.
Step 2: Find a Bar
Walk aimlessly looking for the familiar and comforting din of a bar. A neon "OPEN" sign in the window accompanied by those of Bud Light and your local sports teams is usually good indicator of whether or not a bar is open. Take a seat at the bar - you probably won't have much competition for the bartender's attention.
Remember that microwaveable meal mentioned in the introduction? This is when you put it somewhere on your person. Hopefully you had the wherewithal to wear a jacket. They usually have a few pockets - make it fit. I don't care how big the meal is, make the damned thing fit somewhere. No self-respecting person would walk into a bar carrying a frozen dinner, would they? Oh, wait...
Step 3: Start Drinking!
Just order shots. Open a tab and/or put a credit card down (if the bar accepts credit cards) because you'll need it later; in a short hour or so, you'll be six-ways-to-Sunday drunk and unable to process the idea of paying for all of that booze. Another option is to kindly ask the bartender how much an entire bottle of their finest plastic bottle gin costs. Maybe you'll get lucky and get a volume discount!
Step 4: Pull Out Your Microwaveable Meal
Pull the frozen dinner out of your jacket pocket and ignore anything the bartender might have to say, good or bad. Read the instructions... and proceed to ignore them. We don't need any instructions*! We do what we want!
*Aside from those on Instructables, of course.
Step 5: Heat and Eat
You won't be needing any of that nonsense.
Nothing says sad and alone like using your body heat to warm up a frozen dinner. Hold it close, because aside from the feeling of drunkenness, you have nothing else to keep you company tonight.
The trouble with trying to emulate the wattage of a microwave with your body is that it's... well, impossible. You're going to eat that partially (read: almost entirely) frozen meal. And like it.
Step 6: Keep Drinking!
Keep drinking. Yes, that's it. The soothing sting of booze down your gullet. Remember how you left your credit card with the bartender? Not to fret, all your booze is paid for! Don't forget to pick it up tomorrow morning, because at some point you're going to get thrown out of the bar.
If everything goes right, you will end up face down in the remnants of your sad semi-frozen turkey dinner, what little dignity you had left melting away like the mashed potatoes.
Step 7: No, But Really...
I've spent the holidays alone. As an adult. Even though I wanted to - I didn't want to be around anyone and I didn't want my personal problems bringing anyone else down - it still kinda sucked. Thankfully, I had friends and family who understood my desire to be alone and it was comforting knowing that they were there for me, even if not physically. I had that to be thankful for as I hung out in my apartment alone - sitting on my couch playing Call of Duty - intermittently eating leftovers from a work potluck earlier that week. When it comes to online multiplayer videogames, most people immediately picture some brat yelling homophobic slurs and profanities through his headset... but someone sincerely said "Merry Christmas, everyone."
Maybe it's not by choice. Maybe you can't take time off work, you can't afford to travel across the country, your friends and family have scattered all over the country and it's physically impossible for you to be with them during the holidays. Maybe, like I did, you just want to have some time to yourself.
There are plenty of creative ways to find a way to be around someone or a group of people who are in a similar situation. It helps to be proactive - you have options! What about work - my other job (at Northstar California) due to the nature of the business, hosts a dinner for employees who can't make it home for Thanksgiving. Through online communities like Yelp and Meetup (and countless others), you can find others in your area who are spending Thanksgiving alone and have opened up their homes or arranged a group dinner at a restaurant. Religious institutions often host community dinners as well; if you don't want to feel like a mooch, donating or volunteering to help are options. If group dining isn't your thing - as cliché as it is - many people volunteer or help serve others who are less fortunate (be advised: community pantries and soup kitchens often experience a surge in volunteers during the holidays). Even the simple act of reaching out to someone, whether it be friends or family or a total stranger, might be appreciated.
This probably sounds a little naïve, but I think that people are generally good and even if you're alone, you don't have to feel alone. Even if they don't know you, someone cares for your well being.
Happy Thanksgiving and happy holidays.