Thanksgiving Ideas that Go Beyond the Dinner Table
Posted on November 24 2020
Normally, the question, "what are you doing this Thanksgiving?" is a pretty simple one. Any given November, our family either hops in the car for a road trip to grandmas or spends a few days prepping a turkey dinner at home. This year, with so many other factors to consider besides which side dish goes best with butternut squash, celebrating Thanksgiving feels confusing, and at times, downright overwhelming! If you're scratching your head at the thought of planning your holiday festivities, today on Zeena Uncovered we're here to inspire with a few creative ideas for having a meaningful, memorable Thanksgiving at home.
#1 - Go Virtual
Since we'll be planning things a little differently this Thanksgiving, we've come up with a few innovative options that will keep your holiday plans alive and kicking! Gathering around the table with family and friends isn’t necessarily going to work for everyone, so why not go virtual? Taking your Thanksgiving online is an easy way to make everyone feel included, no matter where they are. Start a Zoom call before dinner to see all of the special someone’s in your life without hosting a large, crowded gathering. You could also make smaller, more individual calls throughout the day so that everyone can feel heard.
#2 - Limit the Guest List to Your Own Household
Whether you have a big family or a small one, it’s hard to turn people away from a home-cooked meal, especially when sharing your dinner table is so essential to Thanksgiving tradition! If you're gung-ho about hosting an in-person dinner, then keep the guest list to a bare minimum. Make sure your household understands not to invite any surprise ‘plus-ones’ and be honest if you’re concerned about elderly relatives stopping by for a visit. Those up-in-age may be slightly more at risk for getting sick, so be considerate and give them the social distancing they need. The key is helping everyone feel as comfortable as possibly while leaving enough space to stay safe.
#3 - Get Outdoors
Staying safe this holiday season may call for a little fresh air. If that means taking your family gathering outdoors, the November chill is worth the risk! Weather permitting, free-flowing oxygen helps to reduce the concentration of moisture droplets floating around us. Even with face masks, regular hand washing and sanitized surfaces, good circulation greatly reduces the risk of infection from airborne illnesses. Keep guests comfortable by renting a tent, providing a fire pit, or using outdoor heaters. If you live in colder areas, bundle up with electric blankets and cozy throws. Who knows, you might start a new holiday tradition!
#4 - Go Beyond Dinner
What does Thanksgiving mean to you? As you begin planning, consider the other meanings of this day of gratitude. Aside from a delicious meal, Thanksgiving is a time to remember the blessings in our lives. Sometimes, it’s the little things that make all the difference. Here are a few non-dinner ideas to help you celebrate:
- Start a gratitude journal. This could be a personal journal or a scrapbook project shared by your entire family. Each person writes down what they are grateful for. After dinner, read the messages out loud.
- Send videos to loved ones. Dress up in your holiday finest and record special videos for family and friends. Make it fun with a backdrop, music or special effects!
- Write letters or decorate greeting cards for long distance relatives. Everyone loves a heartwarming card. Whether you purchase a card or decorate a few with the little ones (glitter included), taking the time to send one by mail is a sentimental way to show you care.
- Start a food drive in your neighborhood. Print flyers or post on social media a few days in advance of your collection date. Starting a food drive could really benefit a local food bank or shelter, so be sure to contact your donation center of choice to see what they need most.
- Donate your time by volunteering. If there is a community center or shelter in your area, they may be organizing a drive-by food distribution event. Volunteer your time to help operations run smoothly and enjoy all the warm n' fuzzy feelings of doing something good.
- Distribute gift baskets to families you know. Fill holiday baskets with baked goods, hot chocolate, small gifts or personal notes. This is a great way to visit people you know while social distancing.
- Start a giving circle. Similar to how 'secret Santa' works, when each person gives a gift to another, the giving circle will eventually come back to you! Take your time making each present really shine. Do a little research to find out more about your person and enjoy opening each small gift over a virtual call.
No matter how you celebrate, Thanksgiving this year has the potential to be exceptionally unique...as long as we make the most of the time we spend together. How will you be celebrating this year? Share your ideas in the comments below. See you next time!