Thanksgiving is my most favorite holiday. It's the day that I get my Christmas jammies (that match my sister's — this has been a tradition forever and ever), the day that I do a lot of cooking, the day where I get to go to my parents' house and spend time making things merry and bright.
Some people, I know, don't have it as lucky as I do. Sometimes Thanksgiving is a time for forced family togetherness, awkward uncle Earl, weird sweet potatoes and marshmallows (marshmallows are not food!), and other things that make people yearn for the day they get to go back to work.
Ten Ways to Make the Most of Thanksgiving
- Start your day with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. There's just something about giant Snoopy floating over New York that sets the mood for the Christmas season.
- If you can, get yourself invited somewhere. If you don't want to travel by plane, train, or automobile, then find a place to go in town. Your family will understand.
- Bring the good stuff. This is not the time for $5 bottles of wine. Your host (if you've followed rule #1 and are not hosting yourself!) has really worked hard to put amazing food on the table. If they are drinkers, bring some ingredients for a cocktail (whiskey + tea bags + a couple lemons = hot toddy amazingness! same goes for hot apple cider and spiced rum), and designate yourself the bartender. If your hosts are not drinkers, bring flowers. You can't go wrong with flowers.
- Express gratitude. Depending on the crowd, you may not want to do this in front of everyone, and that's okay. Take a few minutes in the morning (or whenever you have quiet time) to remember how good you have it. Remember, gratitude is one of the keys to financial success.
- Play a board game. Get one that everyone will be happy to play — or try something new! I love Catch Phrase, and my favorite cheap group game is “celebrity” — get some index cards, have everyone write down a celebrity or ten, and then put them in a bag. Divide into teams. Set the timer for one minute. The team that has the most points when you run out of index cards is the winner.
- Watch a movie. I love holiday movies — and if you need a recommendation, I'd start with Holiday Inn or White Christmas. Want something more contemporary? Can't go wrong with Elf and Love, Actually.
- Do the dishes. Seriously, see point number three. Your host(ess) deserves to have a nice cocktail while you clean up the mess that the gravy tornado left in the kitchen.
- Remember, it should be delicious for you, too. Find out if the host might be leaving out something you see as essential (gravy? cranberry sauce? stuffing? We all have our thing!) and bring it. You'll feel a little sad, like you missed out on something, if you skip this step. Even if you eat your face off. So if it's not Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie, then by all means, bring some pie!
- Wear clothes with give. No skinny jeans on Thanksgiving, you hear? Nor do you need to even utter any phrases containing the words “skinny” or “fat”.
- Be safe! Wait to drive if you don't feel quite right. Stay all night on the couch if you have to. Trust your instinct, and if your instincts aren't reliable, trust your best friend's or your mom's.
I read in a magazine that we gain less than a pound over the holidays, so don't even worry about having seconds (or thirds!) this Thursday.
Does anyone else have advice for people who have to “get through” this holiday?