It is said that 112 million people will travel for Thanksgiving Day in 2022. A week of frivolity surrounded by family, loved ones, and warm, Instagrammable home-cooked meals. 46 million turkeys are consumed, with 88% of Americans admitting to eating some form of traditional turkey dinner each year.
While we love the traditional framework of it all – and certainly won’t be skipping the homemade cranberry sauce anytime soon – sometimes the best part about tradition is creating your own. If you are looking to switch up your plans for the coming celebrations, here are a few fun ideas to consider.
1. Host a Brunch
If you are already involved in a traditional holiday meal but are wanting to host a Friendsgiving or Thanksgiving meal of your own, then you may want to opt for brunch. After all, who doesn’t love a good brunch? Let inexpensive baked items like pancakes, waffles, and casseroles take center stage. Bring in a variety of juices and berries for mimosas, cook up a few batches of breakfast sausage and bacon, and set out your items for a caffeine bar.
2. Indulge in a DIY Wine (or Seltzer) Tasting
Want to host, but not really into the whole cooking thing? Let your friends and family know to bring their favorite snack, cracker, cheese, or otherwise, as well as their most indulgent wine, hard seltzer, or mocktail option. If you’re feeling especially festive, you could purchase festive glassware for everyone to enjoy their tastings in as well as to take home as a souvenir.
3. Get Moving With Your Family (Or Solo)
While most Thanksgiving celebrations are centered around eating and conversation, there is an element that is typically missing: physical movement. Why not integrate a team 5k, morning walk, afternoon stroll (to keep your digestive system moving properly after a big meal), or incorporate outdoor activities?
In addition to walking, lawn and tailgating games like cornhole, football, and sack races are widely enjoyed when the weather allows. Regardless, it’s time to get outside and do something new while we prepare for the (even more) frigid temperatures of the winter season.
4. Enjoy Some Craft Time
Crafting can get messy, so we can see why people might not want to incorporate it into their holiday traditions. But craft time can be enjoyed with the young ones, or with a glass of wine during “adult time.” Some of our favorite Thanksgiving crafts involve preparing for upcoming holidays, such as DIY advent calendars, tree ornaments, dreidels, and wreaths that can help everyone get into the holiday spirit.
5. Fall Into a New Book
Looking to keep your brain sharp or learn something new during your time off for the holiday?
If you are interested in learning the true history of the land we are celebrating, while also supporting indigenous peoples, there are a handful of books I would recommend. Written by Indigenous feminists and allies, Making Space for Indigenous Feminism addresses the real, gendered violence that is experienced by female and LGBTQA+ members of indigenous communities. It is a modern book that touches on important, systemic issues with gut-wrenching essays and analyses.
P. S. Streng recently released a history book titled Native American Resilience: A Story of Racism, Genocide and Survival. This book delves into the rich history of Native Americans without whitewashing their truths. Streng wrote it over three decades of in-depth research and in cooperation with several tribal leaders. All proceeds are donated directly to the American Indian College Fund.
6. Spread the Love
As much as we all love great Thanksgiving leftovers, it can be a little monotonous to eat the same meal for a week after guests disperse. Know someone who can’t be home for the holidays, or who may be stuck at a work shift? Make a little care basket for them to enjoy in their own time! Single servings of some of your leftovers left on their front porch will give a whole new meaning to the word “thankful.”