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5 Things to Do on Thanksgiving Besides Eat Turkey

I go nuts for holiday collections. Candles, makeup, clothes … you name it. I love it, if it’s a holiday thing. Pants that I formerly would have thought were hideous (and would definitely not look good on me), now hold a strange attraction when paired with rich reds and greens and sparkly jewelry.

In honor of my love of holiday collections, I thought I would provide a blog series of helpful hints for singles to survive and thrive through this season. I may talk about how to make the most of holiday parties or survive the family dinner table conversation. I might give ideas on choosing gifts, replacing loneliness with joy, or serving others this Christmas.

Now, for you purists who can’t believe I’m talking about Christmas before Thanksgiving has even arrived (confession: I’ve been listening to Christmas music since October), I’ll start with something for you. Here are five things you can do on Thanksgiving besides eat turkey. (Oh, and please share your own ideas in the comments section!)

1. Do a Turkey Trot. Almost every medium-sized city has one. A Turkey Trot is usually a 3-mile race that you can walk or run on Thanksgiving morning. This is a good idea for several reasons: a) It gets your day started with endorphins, which equal happy feelings; b) You can meet and congregate with others in your community; c) You can burn off some calories that you will later replace with turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie.

family cooking2. Try a new recipe. So every family has its Thanksgiving food favorites. My mom makes homemade cornbread stuffing (plain and with oysters) that is a delectable family recipe. But along with the old standbys, try something new this year. Try the fancy cooking show vegetable dish or make the Not-Your-Grandma’s Apple Pie you saw on Pinterest.

3. Give thanks. I know this sounds obvious, but I’ve had a few Thanksgivings where we watched the football game (or parade), prayed for the meal and ate without stopping to offer true thanksgiving. Sometime during the meal, go around the table and have each person share something he or she is thankful for. Also, consider writing your own list before the day is over. Put it in your Bible and refer back to it when you need a reason to be grateful.

4. Be with people. Just do it! I only spent one Thanksgiving with my family back in Washington after I moved to Colorado, but I always made sure I spent the day with people. If you don’t have an invite, see if you can host a get-together. Invite other singles or people without places to go. Even better, volunteer to serve Thanksgiving dinner at a rescue mission or nursing home. Holidays are meant to be shared. When I was single, I was not above inviting myself over to someone else’s Thanksgiving celebration — and I have many happy memories as a result. (On a side note: One year, I splurged and bought a plane ticket home for Thanksgiving and surprised my parents. That year my dad said, “No matter what it takes, we’ll get you home for Thanksgiving as long as you are single.” The next Thanksgiving I was married. Good one, Dad!)

5. Decorate for Christmas. This one is for those of you like me who have been sneaking the Christmas music for months. Once Thanksgiving is over, the weekend is a great time to go pick out a tree, put up some decorations, and, yes, play Christmas music. Our town has a tree lighting at a historic hotel, which is a fun event to attend to ring in the Christmas season. The days between Thanksgiving and Christmas always seem to go by fast, so decorate early to savor the season.

Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving traditions or activities?

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About the Author

Suzanne Gosselin
Suzanne Hadley Gosselin

Suzanne Hadley Gosselin is a freelance writer and editor. She graduated from Multnomah University with a degree in journalism and biblical theology. She lives in California with her husband, Kevin, and her four young children: Josiah, Sadie, Amelia and Jackson. When she’s not hanging out with her kids, Suzanne loves a good cup of coffee, conversation with friends, musical theater and a trip to the beautiful California coast.

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