Thanksgiving for Two: How to Make It Special

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Thanksgiving for Two: How to Make It Special

Most people envision the Thanksgiving holiday as one when multiple generations of a family gather round the table. It is a day filled with food and conversation. Well, in today’s world that vision is not always possible. Families now live further apart. Some people have to work on the holiday. Travel costs simply don’t make it possible. Maybe you just choose not to be with your family for one reason or another. There can be many factors that play in to why you may be having a Thanksgiving for two.

Instead of being sad about this “different” Thanksgiving, let’s embrace some ways that you can make it special. We have been celebrating this holiday as a duo for the past several years. Both of us are from small families and for various reasons there is not a family gathering to attend. That does not mean that it is a sad day. It is just a different day than most people conjure in their heads as to what the holiday is supposed to be like.

So whether you are childfree like us, empty nesters, or some other scenario know that Thanksgiving for two can be a lovely day. I am going to share some ways that we have spent the holiday in the past or things that we have considered doing for the day.

You can read more about Why We Chose a Childfree Lifestyle here and The Pros and Cons of a Childfree Lifestyle here.

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You Don’t Have to Cook or Eat the “Traditional” Meal

Don’t get me wrong. I love to prep for and cook a special holiday meal. No doubt about it. However, the traditional turkey dinner is not practical for two people. One, it is a lot of work. Two, there is just way too much food for two people. Plan and have something that you enjoy that isn’t too much work.

If you want to experience the traditional Thanksgiving for two meal, then I would suggest making a turkey breast. Not too many leftovers and you can get creative and even cook it in the air fryer these days. It is also easy to just order and pick up sides from the grocery store. Their servings can usually accommodate 4-6 people so you are not overloaded with leftovers that you may end up throwing out.

Our Favorite Things to Eat

Honestly, we have come to enjoy the tradition of getting up to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and having a lovely breakfast. It is just nice to sit around in our loungewear/pajamas and have a relaxing morning.

Dinner reservations in the late afternoon are planned well in advance. I have learned the hard way. If you want to go to a specific restaurant, then I would recommend making reservations at least three weeks prior to the holiday. There are many more people that go out for this holiday than you realize. Most restaurants will have the option of the traditional Thanksgiving meal and their normal offerings.

Our favorite thing to request in a table or booth for two in the bar area. The main dining rooms are usually filled with large parties so the bar area is just cozier. Trust me, there are usually lots of parties of two in the bar area for holidays.

Spend Time Outside in Nature

After all, Thanksgiving is a holiday about things that we are grateful for. If you live in a climate where you can spend the day outdoors, then take advantage of the time to do so. Most likely parks and hiking trails won’t be crowded.

Another option is a good 5k or fun run. If you are an avid runner, then go for a longer race.


A great way to spend part of your day. Being grateful for all that you have and giving to others. There are so many places that can use some extra hands on a holiday. Homeless shelters, children’s charities, senior living centers are just a few options. Check with local churches as well. Many times they will have lists of places that need volunteers.


It is a long holiday weekend after all. Why not take a five or six day trip and not have to take many PTO days if you are in the corporate world. Just make sure you drive or fly on days when the roads are not so crowded.

Traveling on Thanksgiving day is actually much less crowded than prior to the big day. Waiting for a few days after the holiday weekend to come home usually works like a charm.

Your Thanksgiving for Two Celebration

Thanksgiving is truly a holiday about the things we are grateful for. Gratitude is something that shouldn’t be reserved for just this day. Having a special person in our lives that we celebrate this holiday and every day with is something that we should not take for granted. Making this holiday special for just the two of you is just as important as if you were gathering with all of your extended family.

So don’t dread this holiday if it is the first time that you are spending as a duo. Make it a special day in your own way and savor the time together. One day you will look back and enjoy the memories of your special holidays together.


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  1. jodie filogomo says:

    We always love cooking a whole turkey just so we can freeze some and have a ton of leftovers!!
    But we don’t do all the sides!
    I love the idea of volunteering too!

    1. That’s a great way to have easy dinners for two in December for sure. Just have to plan how you want to use ALL of those leftovers. All of the sides are just too much work for a few people. Have to narrow it down for sure.

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