Thanksgiving is an ideal time to reflect on what we are grateful for in our lives. It is also a time to recognize that, for many people, this time of year evokes difficult memories and is a time when being with family is not as joyful as it might be for others.
Knowing that with every life there is a unique history, we would like to offer 10 ways to observe Thanksgiving that can be enjoyed by anyone.
Before we dive in, however, we’d like to take a moment to thank you, our gym members, blog readers, and social media followers, for your continued support. We appreciate your trust in our team, your commitment to health and fitness, and the feedback you share to help us give our best!
Thanksgiving ideas to Revive Your Celebrations
Invite a Friend or Family Member Who Might Be Alone for Thanksgiving
Even if your invitation is declined, everyone likes to feel included. Try broadening your invitation list this year and spread some feelings of warmth and welcome!
Try Something Other Than Turkey
Every Thanksgiving, approximately 46 million turkeys are eaten! Save some turkeys from the dinnerplate and try alternative meat or plant-based choices.
You can easily make a main course out of fish, chicken, pot roast, and other meats, or take the vegetarian or vegan route and use hearty ingredients like mushrooms, squash, potatoes, cheese, and cauliflower to craft some delicious courses.
Try Hosting a Friendsgiving
This seems to become more and more of a common practice with every passing year. Friendsgiving is essentially a Thanksgiving dinner that brings together your friends, their friends, and new people who become friends, over good food and great conversation.
With larger events, try asking your guests to contribute to the table by hosting a potluck-style event. This also encourage a diverse dinner spread because everyone’s cooking styles, food choices, and palates are unique!
Spontaneous Exercise Challenge
- Agree on the selection of a word like “Turkey,” “Cranberries,” “Thanksgiving,” or “Gravy”
- Have each person pick a number between 1 and 5
- Have each person pick a basic exercise like push-ups, jumping jacks, or squats
Any time someone says the word you chose in step 1, everyone in the room has to do their selected number of their selected exercise. The number and exercise will stay the same throughout the evening, and you’ll have fun trying to find your way around these common Thanksgiving words!
Plan a Pre-Event Gathering to Help Disperse the Workload
Plan a simple Pre-Thanksgiving gathering with your intended guests before your actual holiday feast. If you are able, walking to the store can help you steer clear of holiday traffic and impossible parking situations. Everyone can carry an item and even help you with some early preparations like decorating or cooking before the main event.
Serve the Less Fortunate
Whether you’re getting together with others or planning to enjoy some time solo, serving others is a great way to participate in the Thanksgiving celebrations.
All you need to do is a quick internet search to find places in your area where you can volunteer. Don’t stop at serving food, however. If you can, sit and talk with the individuals and families who arrive to be served. Hear their stories, treat them like human beings, make eye contact and remember their faces. These small gestures can make a world of difference.
Even your hosts want to enjoy the gathering of their friends and family. You can help make sure that no one is left in the kitchen while everyone else enjoys the festivities by offering your help at least once or twice.
If you are the host, try setting the table the night before. Lay out the plates, cups, napkins, and silverware, and any other items that don’t need to be refrigerated. This can help make your event day run more smoothly and with less last-minute scrambling.
Agree to Leave Debatable Topics at the Door
Some gatherings are particularly difficult because of discussions that become debates and debates that become arguments.
Agree with your guests, prior to your event, that debatable topics should be set aside for the duration of your gathering.
Start a New Tradition
There are tons of simple but memorable things you can do to start a new tradition. It can be something like watching a certain movie, playing a game everyone loves, or creating a handmade addition for your cornucopia and adding a new one each year. This one is especially fun for new families or couples who want to commemorate each year of holidays in a special way.
If you want to go a little further, try signing up for a Post-Thanksgiving Turkey Trot! You can find events in your area, here.
Get Creative with Your Leftovers
In the United States, Thanksgiving will be celebrated on Thursday, November 28th. Canada celebrates early in comparison, and observed this holiday on Monday, October 14th. In either case, leftovers are a certainty with any feast.
Whether you’ve frozen your leftovers from the 14th or are expecting more than you can manage tomorrow evening, you can get creative with your leftovers and enjoy them in inventive ways. Check out these turkey ideas to put a fun and flavorful twist on your post-event meals.
For some delicious salad dressing recipes from our registered dietitian, read her post on Homemade Salad Dressings 101. Or, listen to our podcast to hear about how to navigate the path between Fitness and Food This Holiday Season. To access our monthly blog post highlights, subscribe to our newsletter today!