One of the most isolating experiences of my adult life was the Thanksgiving I spent by myself while living in a crappy Maryland suburb that I hated. My boyfriend at the time had gone home for Thanksgiving, but I was forced to stay behind in order to write a very important story about Black Friday lines that would invariably accumulate at the local Best Buy. (Every crappy Maryland suburb has a Best Buy, and it's always the pièce de résistance of the town, along with the perennially cherished Buffalo Wild Wings.)

I told myself that it would be fine, that I would go about my day as though it were any other day, but it wasn't. Nothing was open, and, having to work later, I was denied even the opportunity to wrap myself around a celebratory jug of wapatui to help pass the time. I ended up balled on the floor at the base of my couch (why?) watching Training Day on TNT. I watched it four times. "This car is not from the motor pool," I still catch myself muttering under my breath from time to time.

I've lived on the East Coast for nearly a decade, but my entire family is back in California where I grew up. Going back for some holidays is feasible, but time and money and circumstance have led me to spend many of them here, usually in the company of similarly waifish friends. Still, each year like clockwork I'm gripped by a frisson of panic—this, this will be the year that I again find myself with nowhere to go and nothing to do. Am I alone in this? Let's be honest with ourselves and go with "no!"

Make A Plan With Friends In Advance

Once you've peeled off what's left of your Halloween costumes, it's time to start polling your friends about what they'll be doing for Thanksgiving. Regardless of whether these plans come to fruition, you know at least you'll have comrades in arms with whom to drunkenly toss takeout chicken into the Gowanus or write a two-act play about rubella. Last year, an intended quiet evening of chilling became a large impromptu dinner party, which culminated in all in attendance donning costumes around 5 a.m. and whirling around to Captain Beefheart. It was fantastic, in case it's unclear whether that qualifies as "fun."

Make A Plan For Yourself In Advance

Perhaps you're not an overemotional little simp who needs constant reminders that they're not just unloved molecules floating around in the unfeeling vastness of space. Well aren't you special. Also, why are you reading this? Go eat some soup or read the Economist or whatever it is that well-adjusted people do. EVERYONE ELSE: Look, we have the luxury of living in New York and not suburban Maryland (praise be), so you're already pretty well situated to go about your business if opting out of celebrations is what you are choosing to do. But be warned: If you think Thanksgiving is a convenient day off during which you can pick up your dry cleaning or pocket tchotchkes from the MOMA gift shop, wrong. That shit will most likely be closed, because not everyone is as good at renouncing corporatism as you. If you're sufficiently steely-nerved that you can set aside the day to organize your closet or finally unclog your sink while everyone else is off celebrating family and loved ones, all the power to you. But I'd recommend researching in advance something fun to do—deal with that pesky mealworm infestation on a less fraught day.

The Holidays Are Really Only Just A Couple Of Days

If you're a certain type of person, the holidays are liable to trigger all sorts of existential angst, regardless of whether you're sleeping alone on a busted box spring or snuggled in the blankets of your untouched childhood bedroom while your parents croon lovingly at each other from their his-and-hers Barcaloungers. They're the benchmark by which that bully society forces you to evaluate your life: What were you doing last year, and was it better? Who are these people that you're spending this holiday with, and why?

If you are predisposed to being bummed by holidays, it's handy to keep in mind that you don't have to do shit. The onslaught of manufactured cheer with which you've been bombarded may take some doing to tune out, since a lot of people get very rich by aggressively preying on your nostalgia to peddle their SodaStreams or meat thermometers or whatever. It's up to you to look brands and corporations in the eye and refuse to let them reduce you to feeling bad because some over-gelled suit has landed on the exact algorithm designed to press the "schmaltz" button that everyone has tucked somewhere beneath their thoracic vertebrae. Headphones will help.

Wear Some Zubaz

If your closest friends/family/bartenders can't handle you in your large patterned pants, they don't really love you and you're better off alone. This is a good time to find out, so you can be sure to have bought a new family by the time the holidays roll around next year.

Happy Holidays!