10 From GEM:
10 Unique Thanksgiving Traditions
Quick, what’s your favorite part of Thanksgiving? While some people would say they look forward to the food, there are plenty of people who look forward to the traditions and rituals that they have developed over time. This makes sense because we share traditions with people and Thanksgiving is the great holiday for getting together with friends and family. Even if you have some tried-and-true traditions, there are plenty of alternative things you can do to celebrate. Read on for 10 unique Thanksgiving traditions you can start this year.
1. DON’T COOK
Who says you have to cook? If you don’t have the time, skill, or desire to tackle Thanksgiving dinner, go out to eat. There are probably several restaurants in your area that are open on the holiday. The ones that are open will typically have a moderately priced Thanksgiving feast. Maybe this is the perfect day to have a cultural experience and try something exotic like Mongolian food.
Many people have to work on the holidays or don’t have a family to celebrate with. If that’s the case for your friends, who are really family, do something on Thanksgiving Day or the weekend that’s low-key and allows them to join in the fun. One idea is to hold a tree trimming party for Christmas. Bring out some crafts and have everybody make an ornament. Exchange dollar store gifts or gag gifts. Pull names for secret Santa.
3. HOST AN AWARDS CEREMONY
Everybody has a unique talent or quirk that should be celebrated. After all the dishes are cleared away, hold an awards ceremony to honor the personalities you love. You could go for standard categories like Most Talented or you could go for something different like Most Likely To Sell Snow To Eskimos. The funnier the better. And give an award to everybody who’s present.
4. CREATE A THEME
Tired of the usual turkey and dressing? Have a different theme for each Thanksgiving. You could have a luau, casino night, masquerade party, a beauty pageant. The sky is the limit here. Since you’re staying away from the usual, don’t forget to serve food that follows the theme.
5. CREATE A
Thanksgiving is a natural time of year to express gratitude for all our gifts in life. Buy (or make) a beautiful journal and have everybody in the family write a few lines about what they’re grateful for this year. Pull the journal out each year and add to it. It will be fun to see what people wrote in years past and to see how each family member has changed. It’s a great way to create memories that can be passed down.
Read more: Black…. Thursday Night? WTH?
6. WRITE THANK-YOU NOTES
Speaking of expressing gratitude, take some time to have everybody at your dinner write thank you notes to people in their lives for whom they are grateful. Provide some nice stationery and stamps and let people have at it. It’s a nice way for people to reflect on the ways they are grateful for certain people in their lives and actually let them know it. How many times have you thought about writing a note to someone, but didn’t make time to do it? Here’s your chance.
7. GET OUTDOORS!
It might be a little unorthodox to go outside on Thanksgiving, especially considering the chilly weather in most of the country. But, if you’re looking to do something different, why not? Go out for a hike in the morning. Participate in a Turkey Trot. Play some kind of ball game after dinner. Have a bonfire or pull out the fire pit. See if a zoo in your area is open on the holiday. This will be one of the last times you’ll be able to enjoy the crisp air of fall.
Read more: Ask Rene: How Do I Handle A Holiday Horror?
8. HOLD A
Hold your own competition with friends and family. You can go outside to play football or soccer, but if the weather is unpleasant, stay inside. Play charades, 20 questions, family trivia, or card games. Whatever game your family is in to, hold a tournament to determine the champion for the year…or until the next holiday.
Read more: CHRISTMAS TREE CHAOS
9. DO SOMETHING MEANINGFUL
FOR SOMEONE ELSE
Well, doing for others isn’t exactly non-traditional, but you can put a twist on the usual. One lovely idea that we recently heard about is a family who puts together bags with essential items for homeless people in their community. They load up one-gallon freezer bags with items like lip balm, travel-size toiletries, feminine products, razors, socks, bandages, granola bars or other packaged food, moist wipes, and a small amount of money. They also leave notes of encouragement. They do this year-round, but more so during the holidays.
Read more: RENE ON TV: ‘OFF CAMERA’ CRAZINESS
10. JUST SAY NO TO TRADITION
If traditions and rituals aren’t for you, make a tradition of not having traditions. There’s no law that says you have to do the same things year after year. If you prefer not to do anything at all or you just want to see where the road takes you, well, then, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t follow your own path.
So, how about you? Do you do any unique Thanksgiving traditions? Are you starting a new tradition this year? Share your ideas below.
More From GEM:
Alexis Trass Walker lives in Gary, Indiana, with her husband and four children. She is a writer, a work at home mother, and a new business owner. Read more about Alexis on her blog www.lilliebelle.org, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter @LillieBelle5.