Thanksgiving is all about traditions, whether you picked them up from family members or from the American view of Thanksgiving in general. No matter where you got your traditions, there’s nothing in the Thanksgiving rulebook that says you can’t change them or even make new ones. If you’re tired of doing the same thing every year, here are a few alternative ideas to consider.
Decorate the Kitchen
Since Halloween and Christmas are the major decorating holidays during this time of year, Thanksgiving doesn’t always get the attention with decorating it deserves. Make a new tradition and decorate your kitchen Thanksgiving-style. Pull out leaves, pumpkins, cornucopias, and any other fall-themed items you can think of. If you need additional inspiration, check out these fun tips for each area of your kitchen.
This is also a great opportunity to do crafts with your kids. Work with them to make a turkey out of blocks and giant popsicle sticks. The decorations in your kitchen will make Thanksgiving dinner even better!
Alternate Food Ideas
Thanksgiving is famous for turkey, but you can use any kind of meat you like for your main meal. Consider these main-meat alternatives:
Seafood (shrimp, oysters, halibut, etc.)
Beef (prime rib, burgers, steak, etc.)
Each of these delicious meats will make a hearty Thanksgiving meal your guests won’t soon forget. For different sides, consider these options:
Homemade Sweet Potato Chips
Turkey Pot Stickers
Fresh Apple Salad
Biscuits and Gravy
Though these are some delicious ideas, you will want to go with recipes that sound easy and delicious to you. So, pick your family’s favorite foods and put them together on the Thanksgiving table, regardless of whether they are a Thanksgiving tradition or not.
Get Out of the House
There’s nothing that says you have to stay indoors during your Thanksgiving feast. In fact, the very first Thanksgiving was held outdoors! If the weather is particularly good in your area, serve Thanksgiving dinner as a picnic at a park or in your backyard.
If you don’t want to cook at all, go to a restaurant. A homestyle buffet would be the perfect option, as they are likely to have all of the dishes you crave on Thanksgiving day.
After dinner, why not take the family to a movie? The movies are generally pretty sparsely populated on Thanksgiving since most people choose to enjoy the holiday in their homes. You shouldn’t have any problem fitting all of your guests into the same theater.
Try New Activities
Many people find that after dinner (and often during) the day is spent watching football or playing card games. To switch it up, offer new activities. If your avid football fans disagree, schedule activities around the game they want to watch or ask them to record the game and watch it after the activities are done. Some fun ideas include taking a family walk, doing Thanksgiving crafts, saying what you’re thankful for, or playing Thanksgiving Jeopardy.
Take a Walk Down Memory Lane
Since Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, take time to remember the things you are grateful for. Each of your guests can share stories about ancestors or events that make them particularly grateful today. This is a wonderful chance to bond over childhood stories or learn about ancestors you didn’t know about before. Invite your guests to come prepared with such stories so that no one will feel left out or pressured on the spot.
Take a Thanksgiving Vacation
Although home for the holidays is a timeless treat, it doesn’t mean you have to be home for every holiday. Make this Thanksgiving a getaway vacation for the whole family. Everyone has somewhere they’ve always wanted to visit and this could be your perfect chance since most everybody will have the time off work and will be planning to be together anyways. Go on a trip to Disneyworld, travel to Europe, go on a road trip, or visit the beach. You can have a delightful Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant and your trip will give you even more to be thankful for.
Unfortunately, not everyone has family and a home to go to for Thanksgiving dinner. If you want to start a fantastic tradition all about giving back with gratitude, offer your services to those who really need it. If you know a family might be struggling to put food on the table, you can invite them to your dinner or drop food on their doorstep. Take a couple of hours of the day to volunteer at a local soup kitchen. If you put your mind to it, you can think of hundreds of ways to give back on Thanksgiving day, and you and your family will have even more to be grateful for.
Take the best of your family Thanksgiving traditions and add some new traditions to the mix this year.