5 Family-friendly Ideas for Thanksgiving Day

I seriously feel bad for Thanksgiving.

I mean, every year we’re driven to leap into Christmas (or whatever your celebration!) and bypass Turkey day. It’s almost as if we will eventually dismiss the Holiday all together. In recent years, I’ve tried to give Thanksgiving its due recognition, but I’m ashamed to admit I’m guilty of pulling out the Christmas gear in the second week of November. Alfie the Elf on the Shelf has already graced us with his presence. The tree is up, Santa’s face is plastered everywhere, the stockings are hung tenderly with care… you get it. Because it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the magic of the holiday season, I’ve provided 5 Family-friendly ideas for Thanksgiving Day that’ll  allow you to fully acknowledge Turkey day, and perhaps begin a new tradition with the ones you love.

1.   Volunteer

What could be more appropriate on a day designated for giving than to volunteer and give back to the community. I like this idea because you can put in a few hours of the day volunteering for an organization you’re compelled to get involved with and still have time to feast and drink as you desire. If you’re looking for local charities and non-profits this is a great resource. A couple of tips:

  • Choose a cause you’re passionate about
  • Find an opportunity that matches your skills, interest and schedule

Volunteering can also be as simple as visiting a nearby senior center or donating goods to a local food bank. Usually in need of assistance, hospitals offer a variety of volunteer opportunities suitable for all ages. I hope to incorporate this idea into our future Thanksgiving plans when my boys get older. It always feels good to pay your good fortune forward.

2.   Turkey Trot

Want to go for seconds and thirds guilt free this Thanksgiving? The average American will consume 3,000 calories on Turkey day (and honestly you should because, duh, it’s Thanksgiving!). An awesome way to kick off the day and burn some pre-meal calories is to run a turkey trot! My husband and I did this a few years ago and I have to say, indulging was that much sweeter after a solid 10k. You can find fun races in your area using this convenient tool. Turkey trots range in size from a just a few runners to thousands. The organizations hosting the event usually use the entrance fee to fund local charities and in some races the 1st place prize is a frozen turkey! Dust off those running shoes and get trotting!

3.   Celebrate Native American Culture

If you’ve never been, I highly recommend a day trip to the National Museum of the American Indian! I find it immensely important to educate myself and my family on Indigenous People and their many contributions to  modern day society. You can find Native influence in our arts, agriculture, and even modern medicine. Make it a quest to discover local tribes or plan a trip to a reservation. Try a Native recipe. Watch a movie starring Native actors. Here is a great list of children’s books to help explain a history that is often depicted inaccurately in school teachings and otherwise.

4. Get Away

And I don’t mean to your Great Aunt Linda’s house to have an uncomfortable political discussion at Thanksgiving dinner that ends in hurt feelings and family in-fighting! It is 100% okay to ditch the gatherings and do your own thing. Maybe you need a getaway. You’ve likely been rewarded extended time off for the holiday, so why not use that time to explore? Head to NYC for the annual parade or pick a city you’ve never visited. Not into the crowds? Numerous secluded resorts countrywide offer Thanksgiving deals to travelers who, like you, need an alternative. Plenty of awesome destinations and fresh ideas offered up right here. I’d also advise bringing a friend or two to make it a Friendsgiving trip!

 5.   Game Time

Some of my favorite memories from childhood Thanksgivings is playing football with my cousins and family after our feast. It became such a tradition that a trophy was made for the winning team each year. So fun! Whatever game you play, because it certainly doesn’t matter, make it light and fun and try and get everyone involved! Play a board game, create a scavenger hunt, or enjoy a round of cards. Pro tip: Put the electronics down and get back to the basics!

I hope you’ve been inspired by an idea or two and decide to include it in your Turkey day festivities. We wish you a Happy (and safe if you’ll be on the road) Thanksgiving.

If you enjoyed this article be sure to check out The Grateful Tree.

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