Turkey Twist: Making Thanksgiving Your Own
The Thanksgiving holiday is as unique as the people who observe it. Some enjoy the tried-and-true tradition of a turkey-centric feast with family. Others can’t make it home due to work obligations, or they no longer have living family members. And some simply opt out of the event altogether for reasons ranging from personal preference to seasonal burnout. But what if you enjoy celebrating, but just feel the itch to change things up a bit? The good news is, there are plenty of ways to get creative with customs and commemorate T-day in a way that’s uniquely you.
Here are just a few ideas to spark your imagination:
Thanksgiving is a day for expressing gratitude for what you have. So, why not help others who maybe don’t have quite as much? Stock up on extra groceries while you shop and donate to a food bank or make up food baskets to deliver to seniors. Deliver home-baked thank you treats to those who work on the holiday (police officers, animal shelter staff, etc.). Not sure where you’re most needed? Sites like VolunteerMatch.org offer hundreds of volunteer opportunities throughout the US, and work to help match you with a cause you feel connected with.
Big reunions can be fun, but the travel time and expense involved with gathering everyone together can be daunting. Hosting a virtual gathering on social media is an easy and enjoyable way to meet up with friends and family you don’t often see. And the same tools that help you connect at work can help bring your guests together for a holiday party. Platforms like Skype, Google Hangouts or WebEx can be used to easily get everyone on-screen for your virtual celebration. Kick things off with a fun “year in review” video filled with photos and landmark occasions (weddings, births, pet adoptions, etc.). Take time afterward to let those who feel inspired weigh in on what they’re thankful for in their lives.
Potlucks are an awesome way to opt out of slaving in the kitchen and sit back and enjoy the meal along with your guests. But why not kick it up a notch by asking people to bring unique dishes from around the world? Add some international background music and decorate with multinational items (world flags, etc.) to add a rich cultural flavor to the event.
Run for It
Before you lift a fork or flip on the football game, consider participating in a local “Turkey Trot” race on Thanksgiving Day. Most of them raise money for various charities, and some involve costumed flair (ever try running in a Pilgrim outfit?) and even give out turkeys or pies to the top finishers. Extra bonus: you can enjoy your dinner even more knowing you’ve squeezed a little healthy movement into your day before indulging.
Pack a Picnic
Put together a picnic lunch and visit a local park, beach or other favorite outside locale for the day. If a bird-free Thanksgiving is a deal-breaker, make up some turkey sandwiches. Otherwise, just make a portable meal of all your favorite foods and spend the day in nature having fun and giving thanks for your friends and family.