Thanksgiving is one of the most popular holidays in the United States. Why shouldn’t it be? What’s not to enjoy about a day off from work dedicated to making and eating a wonderful meal, getting family and friends together, and expressing gratitude?
Every year on the fourth Thursday in November, Americans assemble to consume an amazing 46 million turkeys. There was no turkey, however, for the first Thanksgiving, which took place in the autumn of 1621.
For three days, 50 Pilgrims and 90 Wampanoag Indians feasted on bountiful meat and fish, as well as freshly cultivated fruits and vegetables. There was no pumpkin pie or cranberry relish as we know it, but there were probably plenty of other things to eat.
Thanksgiving would take another 200 years to become a national holiday. In reality, the holiday would not exist if it weren’t for a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale, who also wrote: “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”
Over the course of 17 years, she addressed a series of letters to President Abraham Lincoln, eventually persuading him to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday in 1863.
Many Thanksgiving Day customs have developed over time. We’ve compiled a list of ten fun activities to do this Thanksgiving to help you have the best holiday ever!
1. Make it a Potluck
Even for the most seasoned home cook, the prospect of preparing a full Thanksgiving meal can be intimidating.
If the whole family is coming over this year, make your Thanksgiving meal a potluck to share the burden of cooking for a large group.
Delegating responsibilities and planning ahead of time makes cooking for a large group much easier. Give your auntie a time to shine if she makes the best-mashed potatoes in the world, your sister makes insanely fantastic corn, and your mother is the queen of pumpkin pie.
Everyone gets a part of the limelight when their meals are liked when everyone gets to cook the dish they are greatest at! It’s also a fantastic time to pass down family recipes and trade secrets.
Why not purchase a tiny notebook or some recipe cards and begin compiling your collection?
If you’re hosting a smaller gathering but are in charge of the entire meal, keep in mind that most Thanksgiving dishes (particularly desserts and side dishes) may be made ahead of time.
It’s far easier to reheat than to try to create everything from scratch in one sitting.
Also, most stores will sell pre-made side dishes – taking it easy is perfectly OK, and we won’t judge.
2. Get Active
Thanksgiving may be known as the “food holiday,” but gobbling till you’re sick of it might leave you exhausted and uneasy.
Instead, take an energetic walk after lunch to blow away the cobwebs! Depending on where you live, the end of November may be frigid and snowy, or it may be the last gasp for the fall foliage’s golden hues.
Put on your boots, heavy sweaters, and scarves regardless of the temperature. It will help you fight sluggishness after a big dinner, burn off some of the kids’ energy, create memories with family members, and prepare you for that extra slice of pie in the middle of the afternoon.
If you’re feeling more daring, take a look at this list of Turkey Trots and organized runs taking place near you. Thanksgiving Day is a terrific excuse to improve your health and fitness while also raising money for charity around the United States.
There are events to accommodate every level of fitness – as well as unique kids races – whether you’re a pro runner or have never raced before. Find a run near you and work off that Thanksgiving feast!
3. Get Crafting
Thanksgiving is a terrific time to get creative with glue sticks, pencils, papers, and paints. If you have a large family to host, get-togethers can be difficult, but youngsters will enjoy crafts together, and it will allow you to focus on cooking and having fun. Here are some suggestions for things you can build or do:
- Pine cones, feathers, and handprints cut from red, orange, and yellow cards can be used to make turkeys.
- On a walk, collect some leaves to make a wreath, or use them as stencils with paint.
- Make some pilgrim hats and decorate them.
- Make a “pin the tail on the Turkey” game that everyone can play after dinner.
- After all, the holiday season is just around the corner, so get some Christmas crafts and let the youngsters make their own ornaments.
4. Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
In 1924, the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade took place in New York City, with 400 employees marching from Convent Avenue to 145th Street. There were no large balloons, but the Central Park Zoo’s real animals were present!
The parade has developed into a massive spectacle, with marching bands, floats, entertainers, and massive balloons parading for two and a half miles through Manhattan’s closed streets.
The Parade heralds the start of the Christmas season and is one of the first opportunities to see Santa Claus.
Gather with your family on Thanksgiving morning, no matter how far away you are from New York, to hear the music and see the amazing balloons.
The Nutcracker, Charlie Brown, The Grinch and his dog Max, Elf on the Shelf, Olaf from Frozen, and the Nutcracker will all be featured in this year’s parade. It’s the ideal setting for your Thanksgiving breakfast!
5. Watch Football
Of course, Thanksgiving Day wouldn’t be complete without engaging in another popular American pastime: football viewing!
Three fantastic games are on the 2019 NFL schedule: Bears vs. Lions, Bills vs. Cowboys, and Saints vs. Falcons.
Bring your family and friends together, pop some popcorn, and settle in for one of these games. Even if you aren’t a big football fan, odds are that someone in your family is.
Play some football games, place bets on who will win, take turns explaining the rules, and simply have a good time. The ultimate, low-effort remedy to the inevitable food coma is watching football!
6. Have a Family Photoshoot
Thanksgiving signals the start of the holiday season, and if you have everyone around, why not take advantage of the occasion to take some family photos for your Christmas card?
You don’t need to pay a pro; simply go outside and utilize the timer on your camera or phone (though you might want to invest in a portable tripod first!).
Invite everyone in your family to wear matching outfits, or opt for funny holiday sweaters or a fancy dress theme.
The most essential thing is that everyone has a good time together – though it also provides you an excuse to walk outside and get some fresh air to avoid a food coma!
Taking photos together is a great way to involve everyone, build memories, and get ahead of the game for Christmas presents and cards. Framed photos make great gifts for grandparents.
7. Dig Out Your Christmas Decorations
Why not spend Thanksgiving day getting ready to decorate this weekend, when we’re thinking about Christmas being just around the corner?
So that you’re ready for the upcoming holiday season, get those boxes of ornaments and special seasonal decor out of the attic.
The majority of people have ornaments that they have accumulated throughout the course of their lives. Make the most of the time when your entire family is together to chat about your favorite Christmas customs, prized ornaments, and childhood memories.
Sharing good experiences with your older guests is a terrific approach to get them into the Thanksgiving spirit. Ask them to bring a few photos if they are able, so they may share their tales with everyone.
In addition to the aforementioned Thanksgiving activities, you could establish a new tradition this year by letting each child make their own ornament to display on the tree.
Fillable baubles, ribbons, gems, stickers, and other ornament supplies may be found at most decent craft stores for a reasonable price. Everyone will enjoy making something for their own tree, and it will also provide them with a gift to take home.
Is there an elderly person who will be alone for the holidays in your neighborhood? Bring them a Thanksgiving meal and remain for a half hour to visit with them. This can help you get rid of some of those leftovers while also brightening your day.
If you’ve recently moved to a new region, Meals on Wheels can help you connect with an elderly person who needs your assistance.
Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for what we have, but it’s also a terrific time to get active in your community and make a difference in the lives of others.
9. Create a Black Friday List
You’re not a football fan? Spend the afternoon of Thanksgiving Day arranging the Black Friday deals you want to get! The day following Thanksgiving has traditionally been the first day of Christmas shopping for many Americans.
Since 1952, this has been the busiest day of the year for most stores. Fortunately, you don’t have to stand in long lines if you don’t want to. The majority of items can now be delivered directly to your door.
Make the most of a few peaceful hours on Thanksgiving Day to devise a strategy. Are there any specific items you’d like to purchase on Black Friday?
Is there something significant you’ve been putting off buying in the hopes of finding a great deal?
Is it possible for Santa to save 50% on the asking price for the most wanted toy for the kids this Christmas?!
Instead of buying anything just because it’s on sale, try to remember to buy what you want and need this Black Friday.
Favorite or add to cart the goods you want most at Amazon, Walmart, Toys R Us, Nordstrom, Target, Sears, or Home Depot. Black Friday offers are already listed on sites like Amazon, so you can get a fair idea of what’s available.
When the sales begin, you’ll be in an ideal position to obtain the best prices on the items you really want or to find a suitable substitute if the item you really want doesn’t have a significant discount. It is your future self who will
10. Give Thanks
Last but not least, remember to express gratitude on Thanksgiving! Gratitude is not only important for our mental and physical well-being, but it is also at the heart of this holiday.
It’s critical to pause and reflect on all of the good and great things that have occurred in our lives, as well as to express gratitude to those who have made them possible.
Give everyone at the table, from the oldest to the youngest, the opportunity to share something they’re grateful for before the meal.
Remind children of the significance and importance of gratitude in our lives by explaining why Thanksgiving exists (and that it isn’t simply an excuse to eat turkey!). This is quite similar to volunteering, which can be very beneficial.