9 Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving All Month Long
There’s really only one thing about celebrating Thanksgiving that’s less than perfection, and it’s the fact that we only get to celebrate it for one day. A mere 24 hours of delicious dishes, QT with family, cozying up on the couch for a football game, and reflecting on all the things you’re grateful for? It just doesn’t seem like enough. We think most anyone can agree that this occasion absolutely deserves an extension. Fear not, Thanksgiving revelers: There are, in fact, ways you can stretch all those good vibes into the rest of the month of November. Scroll down for some of our ideas, and leftovers won’t be the only things you’ll enjoy beyond Turkey Day itself.
1. Get into a daily gratitude practice. The beauty of this holiday is that all you’re expected to do — other than eat, of course — is reflect on all the things you’re thankful for. Why restrict this amazing practice to a single day of the month? Buy yourself a cute notebook and commit to writing at least five items that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside at the beginning or end of each day. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, you’ll be positively spilling over with gratitude.
2. Plan weekly volunteering dates with friends. When you start to consider long and hard all the reasons you have to be grateful, you may also find yourself realizing that there are plenty of others out there who don’t have the same. Gather a group of reliable pals and choose a local food bank or soup kitchen whose services help spread joy to members of your community who are less fortunate than you are. Pick one day of every week of November to spend volunteering there as a group. (And, hey, nobody says you have to stop after the holiday, even if your other commitments mean scaling back.)
3. Write notes of thanks to your loved ones. Take your feelings of gratitude one step further by setting aside time this month to write letters of appreciation to the friends and family members you appreciate most. And yes — we are talking good old-fashioned snail mail. Get your letters out the door at least a week prior to your holiday gathering, and when you see the recipients at Thanksgiving dinner they’ll walk through the door knowing how you really feel about them.
4. Watch feel-good movies. It’s not quite time to start queuing up the bona-fide winter holiday classics, but you can ease yourself into your December viewing marathon by watching cozy movies that will get you in the mindset of love and gratitude. Think The Blind Side, You’ve Got Mail, Good Will Hunting, or Stepmom. If you really want to go big, try A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.
5. Limit your screen time until December. One of the beautiful things about sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner is that it gives everyone a good reason to set the usual distractions aside and focus on what really matters. Capture that feeling all month long by committing to reduced screen time until the first of December. Putting your phone down and spending more time engaging with those around you will give you that much more to be grateful for come Turkey Day.
6. Create the ultimate Thanksgiving dinner playlist. Designing the perfect selection of songs to entertain all of your loved ones for the Thanksgiving celebration is no easy feat. So take your time doing it, and add just a few tracks each day. Stretching the process out will help build anticipation for the holiday itself and give you the space to contemplate an awesome playlist. Sounds like a win-win method to us.
7. Practice your recipes. The only thing that’s not to love about Thanksgiving dinner is that it’s over so fast. You and your family members spend hours in the kitchen, only to find that all of your delicious food has been gobbled down in 60 minutes or less, and that’s it until next year. But there’s no rule that says you can’t eat “Thanksgiving” food on other days, so you might as well get a jump on any recipes you’re contributing to the feast by taking some practice runs earlier in the month. You’ll extend the culinary experience and feel that much more confident about recipes that are new to you (or only get pulled out once a year).
8. Set your table early for the feast. Who says you can’t have a beautiful Thanksgiving table set up for more than just day-of — or that you can only have a beautiful Thanksgiving table if you’re hosting the feast yourself? (For the record, anyone who says that is boring.) Pull out those fancy plates and candlesticks, autumnal tablecloths, and mini-pumpkins on November 1. You’ll be reminded of the cozy festivities ahead every time you walk by your table.
9. Host weekly mini-Thanksgivings. You’ve heard of Friendsgiving, of course, but if your goal really is to extend your Thanksgiving experience, you might consider organizing four small feasts instead of one big one. Every weekend in November, invite a different set of friends over for a potluck of sides dishes and appetizers only. (Sides are kind of the best part of Thanksgiving, anyway.)
What’s your favorite way to celebrate in the fall? Tweet us @BritandCo.
(Photos via Getty)