Thanksgiving is a great time for traditions involving food, family and friends. Let’s look at some fun new traditions to try this Thanksgiving.
Turkey with all of the trimmings is traditional at Thanksgiving, but there’s no reason that you can’t mix it up by trying new cuisine. Unless your crew has their hearts set on the traditional bird, why not go for something fun like Italian, French, Chinese or Thai food? You can cook your own or, with a little planning, try out a new restaurant and leave the clean-up to the professionals.
This option can also be fun if you're having a smaller-than-usual Thanksgiving dinner. If you typically travel to a big feast but will be staying home this year, you can go low-maintenance and broaden your horizons at the same time by trying new cuisine. Make sure to check out the local options in advance and think about what you'll wear. Jeans and a nice women’s sweater will take you to most places, but upscale restaurants still have dress codes. Call and ask specifically what hours they'll be open on Thanksgiving and if you need reservations. Thanksgiving Day is one of those holidays when many businesses are closed or have modified hours.
Most of us have a feast on Thanksgiving Day, which makes hiking the perfect complement. It feels good to burn some calories before Thanksgiving dinner or perhaps stretch your legs with a short hike before dessert.
With a bit of planning, hiking can be a fun activity for all ages. Hiking is just walking somewhere pretty. Are there parks or trails nearby that you haven’t tried or haven’t taken the whole crew to visit? Get everyone’s input on if and how far they would be interested in hiking. Then make sure that everyone brings their tennis shoes or hiking boots, a fleece jacket and a backpack with items like additional outerwear and a water bottle.
There are plenty of volunteer opportunities available around Thanksgiving. Many organizations involved in helping those suffering from food insecurity or homelessness have projects taking place around the holidays. Everything from packing meals to serving meals to shopping for holiday gifts for an assigned family can be found. Both faith-based and community-based organizations are sure to need a hand. Check the internet for options or ask your friends for ideas.
If you will be participating directly by packing food or home goods, be sure to find out any rules that apply to volunteers like age limits or required clothing. If you're packing food, for example, most organizations don’t allow you to wear jewelry while packing (it can come off and fall into things) and hair nets are often required. Usually, jeans, a women’s T-shirt, and closed-toed shoes will be fine, but if you volunteer in a warehouse setting, a fleece jacket might be a great addition to this outfit. If the stress of the holidays starts to get to you, there’s nothing quite like volunteering to help you shake off the blues and feel productive and grateful for all of your blessings.
If your family loves to read, consider a Thanksgiving book swap. You’ll want to coordinate this by age, but it’s a free and fun activity for the whole crew. Ask everyone to bring a favorite book that they would like to share with the group. For little ones who aren’t reading yet, make sure that someone brings a fun book to read to them. Even those of us who love e-books probably have a spare paperback sitting on a shelf that would make a good donation.
After Thanksgiving dinner is a great time for the book swap. Especially after pie, when everyone is likely to be winding down and an activity that involves sitting and visiting will be welcome. Grab a fleece throw or two and gather in a circle around the fire for the book swap. Those who want to indulge will have a ready-made quiet activity of reading their new book that evening.
Hosting a Friendsgiving is a popular new Thanksgiving tradition that can be done on Thanksgiving Day itself or any other day that week. The concept is simple. Instead of inviting the traditional family and having a turkey feast, you break out the Thanksgiving décor and either cook or order in food for your friends. A Friendsgiving potluck dinner can be a fun and easy way to go.
The key to a great Friendsgiving is to keep it simple. Get in touch with people a few weeks in advance to invite them, if possible, but a last-minute Friendsgiving invitation is likely to be welcomed by most of your friends. Light some candles, break bread together and enjoy the companionship.
Have a great Thanksgiving enjoying your new traditions!