Things to Do on Thanksgiving Instead of Having a Big Dinner

published Nov 2, 2015
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Cambria Bold)

When it comes to Thanksgiving, the meal is the main event. It sometimes seems as though the entire point of the holiday is to eat a massive, rich dinner before retiring to the sofa for a nap. But what if you don’t have the room to host a big dinner, don’t want to bother with all that cooking, or it just plain doesn’t jive with your schedule? Here are a few ideas for Thanksgiving Day that don’t involve a turkey.

1. Have Brunch
Ok, this is cheating slightly—it’s still a meal, after all. But brunch is much less pressure than dinner. No long-roasted turkey, no courses; just scramble some eggs, put the coffee on, throw together a festive baked good—No-Knead Pumpkin Rolls? Apple Pie Muffins?—the night before if the mood strikes, and you’re good to go. Enjoy a leisurely morning meal with family, and by the time everyone else is sitting down to dinner, you’ll be on to other things (read on for some ideas).

2. Go On a Walk
In much of the States, fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year. Get out there and enjoy it with a walk, hike, or even a slow amble if that’s more your style. If you’re into the idea of some structured exercise, look to see if there’s a “turkey trot” organized in your area.

3. See a Film
Hate chatty cinema crowds? Thanksgiving is the perfect time to enjoy a new release in a near-empty theatre. Most chain cinemas will be open for at least part of the weekend, so grab a friend (or your entire family) and enjoy some introverted togetherness.

4. Give Back
The entire point of Thanksgiving is to be grateful for all the good things in our lives, and what better way than giving back to others? Volunteering at a food bank or soup kitchen is always rewarding, but if you can’t manage this on Thanksgiving Day itself (understandably, it’s a popular time for charitable action, so be sure to call ahead and see if you’re needed), think about donating some items to a shelter or arranging to volunteer another time. After all, there are 365 days in a year, and gratitude and kindness are always in style.