It’s almost Thanksgiving! A wonderful day dedicated to eating delicious food surrounded by loved ones. Even if you don’t celebrate with family, you surely have some sort of tradition every fourth Thursday of November. What tends to be up for grabs is the days that come after Thanksgiving. Sure you can lounge around in front of the TV or fight crowds at Black Friday sales, but there must be better ways to spend your precious time. We only get so many four-day weekends in a year.
Here are some ways to spend Thanksgiving weekend that don’t involve a remote or hustling through shopping crowds.
1. Check out parades or fairs in your local area. Some cities have Friday parades and kick off the Christmas season with holiday fairs the day after Thanksgiving. Just search “things to do in [City] Thanksgiving weekend.” Macy’s holds a holiday parade in Seattle the day after Thanksgiving and many cities have holiday fairs in full swing.
2. Go outside. If the weather is nice head outdoors for a hike, a stroll in a park, or walk along a pretty city route. I may have stolen this idea from great companies like REI and Subaru who promote outdoor time during the Thanksgiving weekend, but hey, it’s a great idea for a reason.
3. Visit old friends. If you travel home for Thanksgiving, make it a point to get together with old friends. If you live in the same town you grew up in, reach out and say hello to people you lost touch with. Annual meet-ups could become your new tradition.
4. Head into the kitchen to make something time-consuming. Homemade turkey stock, a complicated creme brûlée, your grandma’s famous apple pie from scratch, you know, all those wonderful foods you’d love to cook, but never seem to have the time to actually make. Well here’s the gift of time! Plus if you go the turkey stock route you already have the carcass to get started. Not into complicated dishes? How about getting creative with leftovers? Spend time figuring out new ways to put together leftovers, you can even make it a competition with your family members for best tasting recreated leftovers dish.
5. Linger over a long lunch with loved ones and lazily plan the afternoon. One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving is the Friday afterwards. My family sets out all the leftovers. We just relax, eat, and enjoy each other’s company. No one is worried about the turkey burning, no one is trying to clean dishes, or getting tired from being up all day. Some years we’ve visited a museum or taken a walk afterwards, but that all depends on our collective moods. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but when we’re all spread across the globe, simply sitting together is the holiday we’re looking forward to the most.
6. Catch up on your reading or hobbies. There’s nothing like a lazy afternoon reading a great book or finishing that wooden chair you’re been working on for a year.
7. Clean your house. It’s not really fun, but you’ll be glad you deep-cleaned and decluttered before the busy-ness of the holidays sets in. You can even tackle a different area of the house on each of the three days of the weekend. That way you can clean for a few hours, then go out and have some fun.
8. Take a road trip. Pack up the family and head to a nearby city within a five hour drive. This will allow you to see someplace a bit too far for a two-day trip, but not so far that you feel like you spent the whole weekend driving.
9. Treat yourself to a spa day. You don’t have to go to a fancy spa, just create a home version. Stock up on good products and treat yourself to a bubble bath, at-home facial, and scrub. Practice some make-up or hair styles you’ve been wanting to try. Take the time to do your nails, you know, without having to skip the top coat or worry your toes aren’t completely dry enough to put shoes on because you’re running late. While you’re at it, enjoy a slice of leftover Thanksgiving pie in your fluffy bathrobe.
10. Volunteer. Devote your time to a cause you believe in, whether that be an animal shelter, a food kitchen, or building homes. If your schedule allows, try to make your volunteer time a weekly or monthly affair.
Thanksgiving isn’t just about the food, it’s about spending your free time fruitfully. How will you spend your Thanksgiving weekend?