Skip to main content

Five Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Celebrations

Amber Brandt  |  November 21, 2016

For many people the holiday season signals nostalgia — for others stress. But who says you have to do everything ‘just so?’ It’s important to remember that ultimately, Thanksgiving is about pausing to feel gratitude for the things and people in your life; making time to slow down and say “thank you.”

Sure we love our football, parades and pumpkin pie, but would changing things up make it any less special? Why not think outside the box for Thanksgiving this year and break from tradition to celebrate just a little differently? Now, we realize this may feel preposterous to your sentimental heart, but hear us out with these 5 non-traditional ways you could consider celebrating this year. You may just discover your new favorite tradition!

  1. Belly down. On a day when so many Americans find themselves uncomfortable from overeating, why not consider a 5K run? Many cities host special “turkey trot” races — often even encouraging kids, costumes and pets.
  2. Take a trip. Many hotels and restaurants offer special rates and amenities during the holidays. Why not unplug as a family and spend several days enjoying time together? If slow isn’t your speed, you can always get a jump on out-of-town Christmas shopping and finish the day with pizza or a hot tub.
  3. Choose themed cuisine. While Thanksgiving is pretty synonymous with turkey — perhaps you could test out giving thanks over a different meal? Explore authentic cuisines from around the world, and settle on a theme to serve. What about fajitas and homemade guacamole, or even a yummy curry?
  4. Take it to the streets. Many churches and nonprofits serve free holiday meals for people in need. Why not take some time serving together as a family in the local shelter or help deliver full meals to those who can’t leave home? Community outreach is a great way to expand your child’s empathy and create space to give back. They’re guaranteed to feel differently when they sit down at your family’s Thanksgiving meal.
  5. Order in. Let’s be honest, few things sound as appealing as curling up on the sofa with a great movie and a cozy blanket. Why not order your Thanksgiving meal from a local grocer or caterer and spend your time really focused on family, instead of sweating over the stove?

No matter how you choose to celebrate, Thanksgiving is a great time to practice intention and to focus on what makes your life full. Our American tendency is to fill the day — and the whole holiday season — with wall-to-wall obligation and busyness, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Find what works best to help you balance all of your to-dos and still find time to pause and be in the moment.