It’s that time of year when everyone runs to the grocery store to buy cranberry sauce and yams. In fact, it’s the only time of year that we all eat cranberry sauce and yams. They are part of the Thanksgiving tradition, after all. But who says that you have to eat dry turkey and stuff your face with pumpkin pie every Thanksgiving? Or maybe you’re tired of shoving your way through crowds while Black Friday shopping and your football team just isn’t that good this season. Thanksgiving break is one of the few times of the year that we get together with our families or our chosen families, so we should get to enjoy every minute of it doing things we love with the people we love. This year, choose to start some fresh and unique traditions to make extra special memories. They don’t have to be expensive or fancy. They can range from crazy to meaningful, food-focused to fun-focused, or both. You might just be surprised at how ready your family is for a change.
Move over big turkey dinner. There’s room for another fun meal in the house. What could be a better start to the holiday than staying in your pajamas and getting a delicious first meal of the day? Start Thanksgiving day off with a big breakfast that will hold everyone over until the main event. Make it extra fun with a top-your-own pancake bar, a hot chocolate bar or breakfast snack board. Check out Pinterest for some cool ideas on how to start the day off right. Or, choose the day after Thanksgiving to be your time to stay in PJs and host a fabulous fun-filled brunch.
Add a little sparkle to your Thanksgiving weekend with some glowing evening activities. Start with a big fire pit and eat your dinner outside sitting around the fire. You can even roast marshmallows for your sweet potato casserole right over the fire.
Be prepared to entertain your group with some glow-in-the-dark games from Starlux Games. All ages will love playing Capture the Flag REDUX. It’s the classic Capture the Flag game revolutionized with futuristic glow-in-the-dark lights. Bring your backyard to life Thanksgiving night as you team up to break players out of jail, sneak into enemy territory, protect base and steal the glowing flag to win. Each game box includes two glowing orbs to use as the “flags,” color-coded LED bracelets to differentiate team members, glowing jail markers, and a rulebook.
Or, if the night calls for indoor play, try Glow Battle. Simply clear some indoor space, dim the lights and hand out the glowing batons. Then, use the harmless, glowing weapons to attack your opponents, and send them running back to their base to “recharge” before they get hit again. Players use strategy, teamwork, and their own warrior instincts to team up and take down their opponent. Both games are a great way to burn some Thanksgiving calories and energy!
When it all comes down to it, the real purpose of Thanksgiving is sharing what we’re grateful for, and there are so many fresh ways to add this tradition to your holiday. Pour some flutes of cider and go around the table after dinner letting everyone make a toast to someone or something that they are thankful for. You can also use butcher paper as your table cloth and include jars of markers and crayons for adults and kids alike to write or draw why they are grateful. Pass out cards for all to write down what they give thanks for and then play charades after dinner to guess the answers. You can make crafts or cookies or write notes to thank the people that have helped you throughout the year. Your guests can also group call or FaceTime family members or friends that are far away to send love and thanks.
Sometimes the best tradition is not having a tradition at all. Choose a night for a surprise adventure for your family and pick a last-minute, spur of the moment activity. Pile into the car for an outing to the bowling alley – a great place to get some “turkeys” – or head to the roller rink or ice skating rink or indoor miniature golf course. You just may want to confirm what their holiday hours are before you go. If you want to plan a stay-at-home surprise, try renting a big screen and projector for a home movie night. Don’t forget the popcorn and soda!
The fun of Thanksgiving weekend doesn’t have to end when the pumpkin pie is gone. Give the holiday weekend a twist by planning an extra day like Snacksgiving. This is a day for some serious junk food or everyone’s favorite snack, and a great way for the chefs to relax after a hard day or two of holiday cooking. The menu from the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special is a silly way to bring smiles to your crew. There’s nothing like serving a plate of jelly beans, popcorn and pretzels to make kids happy. And, if too much family time has you worn out and you need the support of friends, try a day of Friendsgiving with friends, food and fun. Petsgiving can be a fun day for everyone to bring their dogs to your backyard for a playdate. Twist it up this year… you’re only limited by your own imagination.
Thanksgiving kicks off a season of magical music, so why not add a musical twist to your traditions. Gather your crew, bundle up and go caroling around your neighborhood or an elderly community. Purchase tickets to see a holiday production like the Nutcracker, or attend a local concert. Making a holiday playlist by getting input from your holiday guests, both young and old, on their favorite Christmas songs. Then, pull out the laptop and compile them all in a family playlist. Crank up the speakers and sing or dance the night away!
The very best traditions are those that you share with others – whether it’s spending time with those you love or spending your time volunteering for others. Adding a little charity to your holiday could be just the thing you need to make you truly grateful. Plus, it teaches your children how to share with those who are less fortunate. Ask your family to help you go through their closets and donate gently used toys and clothes to a local shelter.
Sponsor a family in need and purchase Christmas gifts for that family. Volunteer your time at a local food bank or soup kitchen. Organize a canned food drive and collect non-perishable foods that you can donate to a food bank. You can even sign your family up for a Turkey Trot race that takes place to benefit local charities. Spending quality family time by helping others is the perfect tradition to make a difference and spread holiday cheer! Check out VolunteerMatch.org to get started.
Capture the Flag REDUX
Experience this classic game with a modern glow-in-the-dark twist
Gather your team, grab your sword and prepare for fast-paced running and dueling
Wizards & Werewolves
Transform your backyard into an imagination-fueled competition of mythic proportions
Starlight Swimming Games
Throw the ultimate pool party: with glow-in-the-dark lights!