Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.William Arthur Ward
When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of gatherings of past years—both large and small—and all of the wonderful memories of kinship, sharing, cooking together, laughing, and caring for each other. As I grow older, the moments and holidays of togetherness mean the most to me. Being with cherished friends, celebrating friends and family no longer with us, and sharing all the things for which we are grateful — these are the reasons Thanksgiving is my most favorite of holidays.
Thanksgiving is likely to look different for most of us this year—just as Halloween did and how Christmas and New Year’s may as well. Typically, we would all gather around with our families, or have an extended Friendsgiving, eat too much delicious food, play backyard football, start on the Christmas decorations and pile onto the couch to sleep off the food coma. But this year the majority of us will be eating in much smaller groups, watching football on TV, or even taking a post-turkey nap…alone.
Although the pandemic may prevent you from being with your extended family, traveling, or enjoying usual traditions, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate Thanksgiving with a grateful heart.
Get creative and find new ways to make the most of this holiday, one that we all deeply need to enjoy and celebrate after a challenging year!
Thanksgiving Activities for the Family
Go Gourd Crazy
Who says pumpkins are just for Halloween? To spruce up the Thanksgiving cheer in your home and keep the little ones busy, decorate a few pumpkins and gourds with paint, markers, feathers, or anything else that feels festive. Or, let your pumpkin showcase all the things your family is grateful for, like these pumpkins from Amy Latta!
Wouldn’t it be nice to spread a little bit of your family’s gratitude throughout the neighborhood? Get several mini pumpkins and make a gratitude gift. Write one thing you love about each neighbor or something pleasant you wish for them (like joy, peace, or a full belly) and tie your message to the pumpkin’s stem. Place it near their mailbox or at their front door for a special Thanksgiving surprise.
Host a Family Bake-Off!
One of the best Thanksgiving traditions is to cook and bake, and thankfully nothing about that has changed this year! Pie is a Thanksgiving staple, so why not use this time to challenge your family to a pie bake-off? Each family member can choose a different pie or dessert to make for Thanksgiving. Then everyone can taste test to vote on the winner! Who wouldn’t want to get in on a contest like that? Pumpkin and pecan are great, but perhaps you’ll find a new favorite Thanksgiving pie?
Take a Gratitude Walk
The beautiful thing about Thanksgiving is that it gives us a dedicated time to sit back and really think about all that we have. To celebrate the gifts you’ve been given, take the family out on a Thanksgiving walk after your feast and enjoy your time together. While we may not be able to go far, even a stroll around the neighborhood can be a fun adventure when you learn to appreciate all the simple joys it offers.
Thanksgiving Activities for Friends & Co-Workers
Missing Friendsgiving this year? Or even that office Thanksgiving pot-luck and sharing with your co-workers in person? Not to worry. Friendship and camaraderie is all about being there for one another near and far. So, let’s make this year a socially distanced Friendsgiving to remember!
Set the Virtual Dinner Table
This year, many of us may be cooking up dinner for one. But that doesn’t mean we have to celebrate alone! Technology has been the saving grace of this pandemic in helping us stay connected. Instead of your usual Friendsgiving, plan a virtual get-together in which you can still “see” each other and toast to friendship! Here are a few ideas:
- Classic Virtual Friendsgiving dinner party
- Pre-Dinner cocktail hour
- Cook together (this is especially fun if you all cook the same dish!)
- Post-dinner trivia game
- Friendsgiving Drinks & Desserts
- Send a Sweet Something
If you can’t enjoy a slice of pie together, why not send a bit of something sweet to those friends or coworkers you are especially grateful for? Hazelton’s makes amazing seasonal gift baskets that would make anyone thankful for a friend like you! Or, search Etsy for a local handmade gift that not only brightens your friend’s day, but helps a small business owner continue their craft.
Start a Gratitude Group Chat
In honor of the holiday, start a group chat with your co-workers and/or personal friends where everyone is encouraged to send in what they are grateful for. List something you love about each person in the chat. Or ask everyone to post one thing per day that they are feeling thankful for. But remember—just gratitude in this chat! Keep it going throughout the year. It will serve as a go-to reference for good memories, joy, cheer, and positivity when you need a boost.
Host a Recipe Contest
Even though you cannot get together with co-workers for the office potluck, you can still have some fun and share your favorite dish. Everyone in your immediate group cooks their favorite dish. Then on a remote call, show each other your dishes, and tell one another why it’s your favorite or why it represents Thanksgiving to you. Then everyone posts their recipes for the group to see and continue sharing. There doesn’t need to be a winner. Thanksgiving is all about the sharing!
A Very Thankful Thanksgiving
This year has been full of unexpected and often unwanted changes. But despite the challenges of this year, we have survived, and we are moving forward.
And, we all have something to be grateful for—no matter our circumstances —whether it’s your health, your family, your work, your home, or simply the breath that keeps you going every day. As for me, I am thankful for YOU! Being able to connect with readers and share through this blog is one of my greatest pleasures. I wouldn’t be able to do it without you. Thank you for being here!
Have a very happy, very thankful Thanksgiving!