1. Thinking of things to be thankful for is a great exercise right now
I think it’s safe to say that we are all struggling with feeling grateful in the middle of this pandemic. Despite the hardships we face everyday with quarantine, social unrest, job loss, online classes, financial struggle and so much more, we may find value in taking time to be thankful for the small things in life. I encourage you to sit and think about the things that bring you joy — even if it’s as small as the nice fall weather we’ve been experiencing or more opportunities to be creative. Also, who isn’t thankful for essential workers and healthcare professionals? Acknowledge your gratefulness for these people, and let them know, too.
2. Mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, rolls, stuffing, etc.
Do these things exist outside of a Thanksgiving dinner? Yes. Do these things taste slightly better when served together with family and friends? Yes. There is no doubt that everyone’s favorite part of Thanksgiving is the food — besides being grateful, of course. Personally, I feel like there is something different about a big basket of dinner rolls on the fourth Thursday of November, and I don’t think we should rush past this. As far as I’m concerned, Thanksgiving could be renamed “I love mashed potatoes day,” and I would still celebrate the same way.
3. Turkey decorations shouldn’t be slept on
It’s too early for snowmen and snowflakes and Christmas trees. It’s literally still 60 degrees — why would we jump to that already? It just doesn’t make logistical sense. So instead, I urge everyone to put up their turkey decor and throw up a few signs that say “grateful,” “give thanks” and “gobble ‘til you wobble.” The first two are great reminders on where your mind should be during this season, and the third option is just darn cute.
4. This is the last chance to display your fall wardrobe
One of my favorite parts of fall is the lightweight sweaters, long-sleeved shirts and the other in-between clothes that winter doesn’t let us enjoy. So before you shove Thanksgiving and the end of fall to the side, remember that these next few weeks are the last time you can get away with wearing less than three layers of clothes. Also, make sure to make use of those yellows, oranges, maroons and olive greens. The many months of winter and Christmas season aren't as welcoming of that color palette — and your tacky Christmas sweaters can certainly wait a little longer to be on full display in public.
5. Football — Christmas doesn’t give you any of that
For some people, Thanksgiving is prime time for football, specifically NFL games. If you don’t have to cook for your friends and family, maybe you take advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday by sitting around the TV and watching men run around and hit each other. And if you’re more like me and football isn’t exactly your thing, there are other programs that can take the place of sports games like the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet — and the National Dog Show is a solid alternative to professional football games that don’t peak your interest.
6. Black Friday sales
So, technically this isn’t a part of Thanksgiving Day — but I think we can all agree that Black Friday is basically an extension of Thursday’s celebrations. Even the department stores agree — every year the Black Friday sales get earlier and earlier and land on Thursday itself. And, if you’re in such a hurry to get to Christmas, Thanksgiving and Black Friday can help you get ahead on your shopping for gifts and even a few things for yourself.
I know I already listed some of the best food items of the stereotypical Thanksgiving feast, but pies deserve their own spot on this list. You’ve got pumpkin, pecan, chocolate, apple, cherry or even a random meat pie, like mincemeat. Sure, you can eat pie at other holidays, but there is nothing quite like a Thanksgiving pie. Cut a big ole slice and put some whipped cream on top, and be thankful for the genius that created this heavenly combination.
8. Thanksgiving food drives
While some of us are privileged enough to have Thanksgiving dinners, not everyone is blessed to have this be part of their November traditions. Thanksgiving is a common theme for food drives that provide non-perishable goods to local food banks and pantries that provide meals to those in need. If you are currently on Grounds or in the Charlottesville area, there are plenty of food pantries that would love your donations for Thanksgiving or just because. Give someone else something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season.
9. A solid excuse to spend time with or reach out to your family
Odds are we have all spent plenty of time with our family and friends — but if you need another excuse, Thanksgiving is a great opportunity. This year with the COVID-19 pandemic, it may seem impossible for this Thanksgiving tradition to continue, but you can always fix your plate and turn on Zoom to enjoy your mashed potatoes and gravy together as a family. Just remember, if you ask someone to pass the rolls, you may be disappointed to find you’re alone. Anyway, don’t dismiss Thanksgiving as a time to spend together — even when we’re apart.
10. Christmas will have its time to shine — no doubt
As you’re reading this, I can guarantee that department stores, pharmacies, boutiques and every other shop you can think of is putting up their Christmas decor and displaying their special Christmas sales. If that’s not enough proof for how fast Christmas comes center stage, I don’t know what to say. But I urge you to put on your best Thanksgiving sweater or “gobble-til-you-wobble” t-shirts, sit down to watch a football game or two and wallow in the Thanksgiving spirit for a while. The snowmen won’t melt in the meantime.