This year, try to focus more on making memories with family and friends. Invite neighbors or college students who may be celebrating the holiday alone. Volunteer to serve dinner at a homeless shelter. Share with people in need.
Serve Non-Traditional Foods on Thanksgiving Day
Who says turkey is a must for Thanksgiving? There are many Americans who would rather not have a day of turkey. Surprise family and friends with something new. Spice up Thanksgiving dinner with a new meat. Try turducken, pot roast, or fried chicken. Grill seafood and steak. Bake a lasagna or roll tamales.
The priority of the day is not the menu but the fellowship! Here are a few menu suggestions:
- Turducken – As odd the name may sound, a turducken is a chicken stuffed inside a duck, stuffed inside a turkey. It’s not difficult to make, just time consuming. It makes for a beautiful dinner centerpiece. Each slice reveals chicken, duck, and turkey surrounded in stuffing. This is a Cajun specialty. Consider using oyster and sausage stuffing.
- Venison – Most people consider venison to be a term used for deer. The only two foods that are officially documented as being part of the first Thanksgiving meal were venison and wild fowl. There are many ways to prepare deer meat. Consider making deer chili or chicken-fried deer steak. Deer chili would be the easiest and an excellent choice for colder climates. Provide crackers, chips, corn bread, and shredded cheese.
- Lamb – Give the traditional American meal a Middle Eastern, Greek, or Oriental flare by braising a lamb. Serve with a side of steamed asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes for an unforgettable dinner experience. Left-overs can be used to make lamb stew.
- Spaghetti and Lasagna – Create an Italian feast in honor of Christopher Columbus who, after all, was Italian . Many people enjoy pasta, especially children. Leftovers can easily be frozen. For a special treat, serve spumoni or Italian ice for dessert
After-Dinner Entertaining and Activities
The meal was a success. Don’t let the festivities stop there. Plan several activities to keep guests entertained. Consider an afternoon walk or nature hike.
Set out several different board games and puzzles. Make sure there’s something to entertain guests of all ages. Coloring sheets and arts & crafts might be provided for younger children. Older adults tend to gravitate toward multi-player card games and Dominos. Some prefer to just sit and talk.
Keep the conversation running smoothly by having a list of topics on hand. Avoid discussions about world issues, politics, and religion. Provide a few whole group games like charades, Mad Gab, or Pictionary.
Creative Thanksgiving Day Activities
- Participate in a local Thanksgiving Day race. Many communities hold Turkey Trots to raise money for local charities.
- Bring the Christmas decorations out and invite friends & family to help decorate the home for the holiday season. Many families, due to traveling restraints, combine Thanksgiving and Christmas into one celebration.
How Do You Celebrate Thanksgiving?
“We want to hear from you. How do you plan to celebrate this Thanksgiving? Are you traveling? Where? What’s on the menu and what activities do you have planned? Please share. I’m always looking for new ideas!”