Stuck in a holiday rut? Try out these different Thanksgiving traditions to bring back the holiday joy.
Everybody loves Thanksgiving because you get to eat wonderful food, get some time off work, and see your family. Unfortunately, people can put a lot of pressure on themselves to create a perfect holiday experience that includes all the holiday foods and activities. You can get so wrapped up in doing all the things that you forget that the whole point is to enjoy time with our loved ones, not make the perfect tablescape! If you’re feeling the Thanksgiving crunch, let it go. There are a ton of ways to celebrate Thanksgiving, and you don’t have to do what everybody else is doing.
Let’s look at some unusual Thanksgiving traditions that can help you discover the joy of the holidays all over again.
5 Uncommon Thanksgiving Traditions
Have a Thanksgiving breakfast.
Some people are on that no breakfast, no lunch train to save room for all the turkey and stuffing and then some people are traveling all morning to get somewhere. However, an awesome tradition to start would be a nice indulgent pre-thanksgiving dinner breakfast or lunch. You are going to have turkey, stuffing, and mac and cheese for at least three days after the main event, so there is absolutely no reason why an indulgent breakfast can’t also be on the menu. Sit down Thanksgiving morning and have something nice like waffles, scrambled eggs, and more before the crazy day begins. If you’re traveling, stop at a local diner with the family and get a bite to eat. Thanksgiving breakfast will make sure you don’t get hangry around your relatives too!
Take some personal time.
This can be done the day of, or the day before or after, but you have to take some personal time so you don’t lose your mind. Family time is stressful, especially if you live alone or have a huge family. It can be impossible to sneak away on the day of, but taking the Wednesday before or the Friday afterwards completely for yourself and your immediate family can be a great tradition to start. It can be as simple as taking a relaxing bubble bath before you start your busy holiday. You can also make the Wednesday before a “staycation” kind of day if kids are involved. If you relax on the day before, you also have time to start some recipes like cookies without feeling rushed.
Make a toast.
Before we eat on Thanksgiving Day, my whole extended family on my father’s side (which is over thirty people) will go around and say one Bible verse — kids included. It has been a tradition ever since I can remember. I also remember being so excited to memorize my own and say one that my mother didn’t have to nudge me to say or repeat someone else’s. Starting any sort of religious prayer or sharing time is a perfect tradition to start. If your family is not religious or you have family members that aren’t, then allowing everyone to make a toast or have a few moments to speak can be the perfect alternative. Going around the room and having everyone say what they’re thankful for is a great tradition.
Take a walk after dinner.
Is anyone ready for dessert right after the big meal? Nope. Is dessert always ready right after dinner? Nope. You can buy yourself some time, though. A good new tradition to start is talking a nature walk after you eat. A nice evening walk can be just the thing to help everyone make room for dessert. It also gets everyone out and socializing with relatives they may not have seen in months or even years. This may not be the most practical in places where snow completely covers the ground, but you can prepare some hot chocolate or spiced apple cider in a slow cooker and give everybody a cup before your walk. In warmer environments, you can just go and walk off some of those calories!
Have a Friends Thanksgiving (AKA Leftover Friday).
This is my favorite tradition, and it’s great for people that don’t live really close to family or don’t have an immediate family of their own just yet. Friends Thanksgiving is when you can get together with all the people who you would call to bail you out of jail if you couldn’t reach your parents or sibling. Friends Thanksgiving also gives you a chance to include friends that may not be able to go home for the holiday without having to invite them to see your crazy family. The best is when you can do this on the Friday after the holiday. We call it “Leftover Friday” because you can make it a potluck and have everybody bring their leftovers.
If you have some fun family traditions you do every year, by all means, keep doing them! But that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate some new activities during your holiday to make the day go more smoothly and just be more enjoyable. Try out some of these unusual Thanksgiving traditions and relearn why you loved the holidays as a kid.