5 Unusual Ways to Spend Thanksgiving-MainPhoto

5 Unusual Ways to Spend Thanksgiving-MainPhoto

Thanksgiving is all about family and togetherness. But let’s face, a turkey-and-all-the-fixins’ feast year in, year out can get a little tiresome. So here are our ideas for five unusual ways to spend Thanksgiving.

  1. Leave the country. On two of the best Thanksgivings I ever spent, I was far from home—once in Italy with a dear friend and once on a plane bound for France with my parents. International airfare is often lower for those willing to travel on Thanksgiving Day. When you get to your destination, even if there’s not a turkey in sight, you can still enjoy a festive meal. And besides, a vacation always feels like a celebration!

  2. Go out to eat: What about an un-turkey meal of Chinese, sushi, Mexican or Middle Eastern cuisine? There’s no rule that says you have to cook on Thanksgiving Day, just as there’s no rule that says you have to eat turkey. If you’re looking for a change of pace (and the chance to have a restaurant nearly all to yourself), consider going out for ethnic food and skipping the cranberries and stuffing.

Read Related: On Thanksgiving, an Attitude of Gratitude

  1. Pack a picnic. Close down the kitchen, pack a hearty picnic and head for your nearest National Park! Fall colors are still in full bloom at the end of November, and a brisk hike, followed by a picnic lunch or cookout (or vice-versa) is a great way for families to enjoy the day together. And there are no pots and pans to wash afterwards!

  2. Try a daylong fast. This is tough if you’ve got a family. But if you’ll be spending a quiet holiday alone, consider a daylong fast. A fast is a cleansing, clarifying process for body and mind, and it’s also a way to make a small, personal statement against the food orgy of Thanksgiving. Read, meditate, and reflect on all the things for which you are grateful.

  3. Donate and volunteer. Local homeless shelters and soup kitchens always serve a big Thanksgiving dinner for the people who need their services. You can help out by taking bags of Thanksgiving groceries to your local kitchen or shelter (yes, they need turkeys, too) and then staying to help cook and serve the meal. You get the feel-good sensation of knowing you’re helping, and you’ll certainly be reminded of all you have to be thankful for.