Three Ways to Go Beyond the Bird this Thanksgiving

Nov 16

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday; even more than my birthday, which I dearly love. One of the reasons turkey day is number one with me is there are no gifts to buy. That’s not to say gifts aren’t involved; they just come in different forms. A well-prepared meal. Time with friends and family. Silly card games. Laughter.

If you’re a little bored by Thanksgiving, here are three ways ways to go beyond the bird and make it your favorite, too.

1) Trade Thanksgiving for Friendsgiving. We typically see turkey day as being spent with mom and dad, our kids, and other extended family. But for those who live far from family or can’t go home for one reason or another, you can start a new tradition: Friendsgiving. It’s easy to do. Invite a group of friends to your home for the big meal and festivities. To make it more interesting, tell your friends to bring friends who don’t have plans. Give everyone a category of dish to bring (dessert, side, appetizer). The more friends and the more variety in the cuisine the better! I’ve done this several times and it was great fun enjoying the day with old and new friends.

2) Invite a student from a local college or university as your guest. Last year, I saw a notice from Purdue University on Facebook that they were looking for families to host international students who were staying on campus for the Thanksgiving holiday. I immediately messaged and said we’d gladly be a host. Prakash, an engineering student from Mumbai, was our guest. It was incredibly fun as we learned about our guest, played some crazy games, and ended the day with a big – now extended – family selfie.

3) Volunteer at a Community Thanksgiving for the Homeless. Luke 12:48 says, To whom much is given, much will be required.” Many of us enjoy plentiful food every day of the year so why not forego the annual day of overindulgence with a bit of charity. Churches and other community groups sponsor Thanksgiving meals for the homeless and or deliver meals to those who are home-bound. If you don’t want to give up your family turkey time, consider donating and delivering Thanksgiving food boxes or spending time at a local food bank. Either way, it underscores everything we have to be thankful for. One year I spent turkey day packing meals for shut-ins and then serving the homeless and underprivileged of Columbia, South Carolina. It was such a privilege to serve our guests, get them more iced tea or a second dessert and see the joy they had in the meal and service. It was a blessed day all around.

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving memory or tradition? I’d love to hear it. Connect with me here. I hope whatever your plans are that this year’s celebration is full of love, family and friends, and dessert with tons of whipped cream.

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