12 Creative Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving This Year
You know things will look different for Thanksgiving 2021, but you can still give thanks and enjoy the company of your loved ones—while staying safe.
Send Care Packages
If you won’t be seeing relatives for the holiday, you can show you’re thinking of them with a thoughtful care package. Include premade treats (these ship well) or even a recipe in a jar. Don’t forget to write them a nice note, too.
Host a Wine Swap
In place of an annual Friendsgiving dinner, why not hold a wine swap with your closest friends? Have everyone draw names, then ship their recipient a bottle of wine to enjoy on Thanksgiving. If you’re not sure what vino to send, here are some of our favorite Thanksgiving wine pairings.
Collect Donations for a Food Pantry
Many food pantries have faced increased demand during the pandemic, and you can help make another family’s Thanksgiving brighter by collecting canned goods or monetary donations for your local food bank. Most organizations will even give you a list of the foods they need most.
Have Brunch Together
If you’re celebrating with your immediate family, shake things up this year and hold a Thanksgiving brunch. Choose from the best brunch recipes, and let everyone in your family pick their favorite. Then, plan a fun activity for the afternoon.
Schedule a Virtual Celebration
No surprise, people are still hosting all kinds of virtual parties. If your family isn’t able to get together for Thanksgiving, you can still see each other using video calling software like Zoom. Set a designated time, and make sure to walk older family members through the process of setting up the program beforehand.
Do a DIY Turkey Trot
Turkey Trots—which are typically 5K races—are a Thanksgiving tradition for many families. If the organized event is canceled this year, you can still hold your own Trot. Plot out a route, then don festive attire to walk or run around the neighborhood. It’s a great way to work up an appetite for the feast to come! (Here’s how to host a small-scale family Thanksgiving dinner.)
Organize a Family Football Game
Football is a traditional Thanksgiving pastime, so why not get your loved ones together for a friendly competition? If you’re playing with people outside your immediate family, be sure to implement no-touch rules to stay safe. (When you’re done, enjoy these snacks while watching the game on TV).
Do Arts and Crafts
Who doesn’t love a crafting day? There are lots of fun Thanksgiving crafts that both adults and children will enjoy, so stock up on construction paper and feathers and let your imagination run wild. Later, let your kids show off their creations to relatives via video chat.
If you’re going to have a traditional gathering with friends and family, the CDC guidelines note that a small outdoor event will be lower risk than dining indoors. This can be one of the most creative ways to celebrate Thanksgiving, if you go all out with the decorations! Before you start scooping the mashed potatoes, learn how to give a Thanksgiving toast that celebrates the season.
Send Meals to Loved Ones
If you have older relatives who aren’t planning to do anything on Thanksgiving, you can make their day brighter with a contactless food delivery. Some restaurant chains let you order Thanksgiving meals, but you can also get them takeout from their favorite restaurant using a food delivery service.
Weather-permitting, work up an appetite on Thanksgiving by going hiking with your family. Pack snacks and plenty of water, then hit the trail for some quality time in the great outdoors. If you go in the morning, you’ll even have time to cook a turkey when you get home.
Watch Thanksgiving TV Episodes
For a laid-back Thanksgiving at home, gather your family in the living room and binge-watch some of the best Thanksgiving TV episodes. Some popular options include holiday episodes from Friends, Gilmore Girls and Bob’s Burgers, which are available on various streaming services.