Oftentimes in our busy culture, we forget to take advantage of the holiday season God has blessed us with. For college students, it’s easy to get caught up in activities on campus or maybe the lack of funds to celebrate properly. For out-of-state family, it’s hard to even want to celebrate when you can’t do so with family. Maybe your family just doesn’t have that big of a tradition for Thanksgiving and it’s hard to get in the mood.
I think you get the drift of just how hard it can be to celebrate an “ideal” Thanksgiving. Here’s the thing, however. In a time where creativity is celebrated, there are tons of ideas out there to create your “perfect” thanksgiving whether it’s one on a budget or even a holiday where your tradition looks slightly different than the norm! Here are 10 ways to celebrate Thanksgiving, choosing the spirit of joy over the things you do have rather than focusing on the things you don’t.
Build-A-Meal Thanksgiving Feast
It’s alive! It’s alive I tell you! Okay, so maybe your Thanksgiving meal isn’t a lightning rod of creation such as Victor Frankenstein’s but hey, it’s yours. A lot of times, people get wrapped up in the idea that you MUST have a turkey, with all the sidings, for Thanksgiving. That can’t be furtherest from the truth. When I wasn’t able to make it home for Thanksgiving due to work obligations, I got real creative. One year I made a lovely roast, baked in gravy with veggies included. Another year, my family had a hen and I’ve known plenty who go the fish route.
Get creative, have fun and experiment. So what if you’re dining room table or kitchen counter doesn’t look like that picture you see. It’s yours!
Make A Wall of Thanks
Listen, it’s hard to always remember to be thankful but God has given us plenty to be thankful for. Building a wall of thanks is something that gets the creative juices flowing and allows everyone over to express Thanksgiving. So, designate a wall in the house (preferably where everyone can partake) and get to being thankful. Buy inexpensive sticky notes, maybe designate a color to each family member or just buy a jumbo pack, and get to thanking. No names are needed, just write what you’re thankful for and stick it on the wall. At the end of the day, you’ll be surprised at what you see.
Serve Someone Else
On a day of thanks, it’s sometimes difficult to remember that others may not have the things you take for granted. Go out in the community and see how you can better serve others. Google local homeless shelters or other efforts and dive into something meaningful. Showcase the same love that Jesus Christ showed. Maybe get a friend to join or take the family!
Wait, That’s Not Turkey
Okay, I’m a competitive person so this one is right up my alley. How about starting a competition where everyone invited has to take a different approach to making a common dish? Maybe making a molten volcano of mashed potatoes with gravy lava? Or, how about creating a turkey out of something? Get it done! The winner can get a $15 dollar gift card and the spotlight to give an acceptance speech!
Ever wonder what to do when you have so many family members over and everyone needs to do, well here you go! Throw a Thanksgiving Day parade that will make Macy’s jealous OR conduct your own Thanksgiving Day play. It’s a win-win for everyone. It allows the kids to have fun and enjoy something memorable while the adults get to have laughs for days.
Pass on Thanksgiving
Take time to maybe sit and talk with someone who needs uplifting this holiday season. Know a friend who maybe can’t be with family or has no one to celebrate with? Invite them over. Donate a gift card to a family that’s struggling. Leave gas money on a college student’s windshield. You get the idea, get creative, but pass on a reason to be thankful for those who need it.
The First Annual Turkey Bowl
Ah, the sports fan in me loves this idea. How about instead of watching football, you gather the family and friends, strangers alike and start a community touch-football game every Thanksgiving! You could make a trophy that the winning team or family takes home every year and everyone could chip in for refreshments. It’ll be a great way to work off that belly full of stuffing as well!
The Actual Game
Okay, for all of the sports fans alike, it’s safe to say a lot of people will watch the actual football and basketball games taking place. They may be blowouts or just sucky in general but their games on and people will watch! So how about instead of locking in the room and watching it solo, invite everyone in and bond; tell stories of the glory days of when you played sports or maybe introduce the little ones to the world of sports.
The Thanksgiving Crawl
This is a really big idea that’ll be perfect for churches. So here’s the idea. Pick members out of the church that have been truly blessed by God this year. Maybe they’ve welcomed a new child into this world or maybe God has just put the spirit of joy within them. Build a “treasure” map of blessings and have groups visit each one, allowing those members to express how God has blessed them and spreading stories of just how great God is. At the end, maybe culminate it with a group activity that allows everyone to share testimonies or just some activity, in general, that brings everyone together.
Create A Thanksgiving Book
How about building a journal or memory book with family? Document all of the things that have happened over the year that you’re thankful for? Include pictures or maybe create a video journal. But the most important thing is to list everything God has done and all the prayers he’s answered.
Bonus: Ditch the Electronics, Pull Out The Games!
Make everyone place their cell phones in a bowl or maybe put them on silent while everyone gets their game on! Maybe pull out the board games of old or the interactive video games of new? Either way, allow everyone the time to connect with people in the room instead of sinking into digital mayhem. First person to touch the phone has to face the penalty! You decide.
Bonus: Pull Out The Christmas Tree!
As part of our family tradition, the day after Thanksgiving is preparation for Christmas! The tree is pulled out and decorations are planned. You don’t have to follow that model but maybe you can start planning how you’ll reign supreme with the holiday decorations this year!