23 Things You Should Do Over the Thanksgiving Holidays
A long weekend is stretching out before us, and if you’re like me, the kids are already off school and starting their usual squabbles. It’s always a tossup of letting them disappear into YouTube videos and video games or chucking the electronics aside for family quality time. Sometimes these family moments are worth fighting for, so check out this list of 23 Things You Should Over the Thanksgiving Holidays, because there is only so much turkey you can eat!
- Invite a friend/another family to join you at Thanksgiving.
A family meal is a memory to cherish, but how about making a treasured twist by inviting a friend or two, who doesn’t have plans, or a family in need. Thanksgiving was about the native American Indians and Mayflower Pilgrims getting together to celebrate their peace and awesome crops. The more the merrier.
- Make a gratitude list.
Thanksgiving is about giving thanks- good crops, good friends, nice weather, a roof over your head. Make a gratitude list- get the kids to make one as well, often things they are grateful for, be it their XBOX or pet dog, the air or even the latest WestWorld episodes.
- Make a Black Friday action plan. Or go R.E.I. and chose to #OptOutside of Black Friday.
I used to do the midnight run on Black Friday with my niece and mom and whomever else we could drag on our coca-cola infused escapades. My niece moved to Texas and my mom passed away recently, so Black Friday has lost that warm-fuzzy feeling. If you are prepping for the day- it begins on Thursday now, plot a plan of the stores you want to hit, bring friends for support and have fun. If not, read on: The outdoor recreation company, R.E.I. announced that it was going to close its’ doors on Black Friday and give all of their employees the day off. They have started a movement #OptOutside, encouraging everyone to shun the commercialism and take to the outdoors.
- Take a hike.
Check out the REI website for places near you, my Best Family Hikes in the Southeast guide, the Florida Hikes website or your State Park website for local trails to explore. Be sure to dress for the weather, bring some drinking water and have fun.
- Go kayaking.
How could I not add this one? In Florida, all of the tubers have abandoned their favorite rivers. Now is the perfect time for kayaking in Florida. Bring a change of clothes in case you get wet or accidentally fall in- those springs are always 72F year round! Check out these paddling inspirational posts: Kayaking the Chaz, and Kayaking Florida’s Rainbow River.
- Go sledding.
Living in a colder region? Take the kids out sledding. I remember my mom taking us out on a hill in West Milford, New Jersey. All of the local kids were there and it was so much fun! Don’t have a sled? No problem! Use a trash can lid or the top of one of those plastic bins. Be creative. Dress warm and have some hot chocolate on hand.
- Have a snowball fight.
We can only have mud fights in Florida, so revel in that snow! Split up into teams, build cover and prep your snow balls! Of course if it gets too cold, you can always retreat indoors and have a snowball fight on Wii Fit Plus.
- Do you want to build a snowman?
It all starts with a snowball- you need three of varying sizes. Put the largest on the bottom, the mid-sized one in the middle and the smallest on top. Then gather your supplies- branches for arms, pebbles for eyes (or was that coal?), mouth and buttons and a carrot for a nose. Extra points for a hat a scarf. Yes, while you are building that snowman, try real hard NOT to sing that Elsa song!
- Try your hand at ice-skating.
The first time I went ice skating was at Romford in London. I watched the little kids whizzing around expertly and when I finally got the guts to step on the ice, I just moved my feet just as the little kids did. It was exhilarating (except I had to crash into the wall to stop!). Check out the local ice-rink. Some towns, even in warmer Florida, are putting up ice-rinks for the Christmas season.
- Go retro and play kids board games.
You wouldn’t believe how many teenagers actually like playing Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders! Yes, go childhood retro and break out the golden oldies like Operation and Twister. Checkers tourney anyone?
- Have a gamer tournament.
Whether it’s Call of Duty, Epic Mickey or Pac Man (yeah, I like Pac Man)- Pick your family fave and have a family gamer tournament. Winner doesn’t have to wash the dishes after dinner!
- Have a family bowling tournament.
Hit the nearest bowling alley with your family- bring some friends too for some pizza and games. Check out your bowling alleys website or Groupon for discounts.
- Make an obstacle course- outside or in- and have your entire family run through it. Invite friends to try it out.
We did this outside one year to help my son practice his karate. We recreated the jumps, kick areas and rolls and then everyone had a go. Make things to climb over, duck under and balance across. Have the kids create the course, then let the games begin!
- Take a family bike ride.
Ride around the neighborhood or load up the kids and bikes and head to the nearest park or bike trail. Don’t forget to bring some drinking water!
- Have a movie marathon.
This nippy weather makes for great snuggling times. Pop some popcorn, grab a warm blanket and put on a family movie. We love the Home Alone series this time of year, but other family favorites include Captain Ron, Swiss Family Robinson (the original one), The Goonies and any Pirates of the Caribbean or Indiana Jones.
- Have an impromptu block party.
Have friendly neighbors? Set up some tables on the lawn (if the weather is warm enough) and have a pot-luck block party. Everyone brings food/snacks. Start a kickball game with all of the kids.
- Cook a giant crock pot of chili and declare the kitchen is closed.
Who wants to spend the long weekend in the kitchen? Cook up a pot of chili in a crock pot and let the family graze. Take a day off from the kitchen to spend time with your family.
- Have a bonfire and roast marshmallows. Make s’mores and hot chocolate.
Have a nice little campfire in the back yard and toast marshmallows. Keep a carafe of hot chocolate on hand and some graham crackers and chocolate to make s’mores.
- Put up your Christmas Tree.
Right after Thanksgiving, we drag all of the Christmas decorations out of hiding, turn on Christmas music and decorate the tree.
- Decorate the outside of your house with Christmas lights.
Not everyone gets swept up with holiday festivities, but this long weekend is a perfect time to hanging the lights outside the house, then watch the oohs and aahs when you switch them on at night, Worried about a high electric bill? You don’t have to leave them on all of the time. I confess to telling friends that our outdoor lights go on by appointments only.
- Plan your summer vacation.
Bleary weather giving you the blues? Now’s the perfect time to plan a summer holiday. Gather ideas from all the family of what their ideal summer vacation would be and work out a perfect plan. Check out https://www.airbnb.com/
for unusual rentals- yurt or houseboat anyone? And https://www.skyscanner.com/
for flights, hotels & car rentals.
- Get out of your comfort zone and go somewhere new, eat something strange or try something different.
If you don’t have a list, make a bucket list. Here’s blogger Laura Lawson’s incredible bucket list to give you some ideas: http://www.completingmybucketlist.co.uk/thebucketlist/
Or try an alternative route by conquering your fears like Michelle Polar, who used her college assignment to tackle that which scared her most. Check out her 100 Days without Fear project: http://100dayswithoutfear.com/
- Begin meditating.
Take up mediatating. 1 minute. 5 minutes or ten or more. Squeeze a spot of meditation into your daily routine. Check out this post on Meditation and the Modern Mom for tips.
What are you doing this Thanksgiving weekend?
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