How to Make Thanksgiving Special This Year

Thanksgiving weekend usually brings large family gatherings, traveling, and community events. The ongoing pandemic, social distancing guidelines, and other restrictions are changing your typical Thanksgiving plans. But, staying close to home provides the perfect opportunity to start new traditions.

Ways to Make Thanksgiving Special This Year

This year, celebrating Thanksgiving at home may result in smaller family gatherings. In whatever way you define your family (yes, your dog or cat counts), check out the following ideas to make Thanksgiving special.

Decorations

Before Thanksgiving, make decorations together. Crafting is a fun activity. Younger children love to create.

  • Placemats: Make paper placemats. Use construction paper to draw, paint, or color designs. If you want to save your creation, laminate the final product. You do not need a laminator machine. Clear contact paper works exceptionally well, especially for larger pieces.
  • Place Cards: Create place cards as part of your table setting. Color a design on folded notecards for easy place card settings.
  • Centerpiece: Create a centerpiece for a focal point on your Thanksgiving table. A basket with fall-themed flowers is an easy task to add beauty to your table. If your budget’s tight, check out your local dollar store for inspiration.
  • Other Table Embellishments: Gourds, miniature turkeys, and other small items create the perfect Thanksgiving table decorations. Allow your children to decorate the table.
  • Tree of Thanks: Create a tree of thanks. Using a small branch or painting a tree on a poster board, add different colored leaves. On each leaf, write down why you are grateful.

Time to Eat

One of the best parts of Thanksgiving is the meal.

  • Traditional Home Cooked Meal: Bake a large family meal together. Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, yams, or your version of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Don’t forget dessert.
  • Buffet Style: Place everything on the table or counter. Allow everyone to pick and choose from the options.   
  • Picnic in the Living Room:   Is your Thanksgiving going to be a casual affair? Turn your simple meal into an indoor picnic.
  • Pre-ordered Meal: Order your meal from a local restaurant. Many restaurants are hurting due to the pandemic. Pre-ordering a Thanksgiving meal helps small shops stay open. A pre-ordered meal is simple to heat and serve.
  • Candle Light Meal: Light candles or use flameless ones to add a special touch to your Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Toast or Prayer: Say a toast or prayer before eating. Depending on your children’s age, ask each member of your family to give a gratitude toast.
  • New Recipes: Is there an old family recipe or a new one you want to try? Thanksgiving is a wonderful day to try something new.

Starting New Traditions

Staying at home for a long holiday weekend is a great time to start new traditions.

  • Go Hiking: Hit the local trails to burn off all the extra eating.
  • Nature Walk: Get outdoors and go for a slow nature walk.
  • Toss the Football Around: Playing football is a long-standing tradition on Thanksgiving.
  • Go for a Ride: Pack up some leftovers and go for a long drive.
  • Decorate for Christmas: Put up your Christmas tree, decorate your home, or put lights up outdoors.

Enjoy every minute of your Thanksgiving weekend. Take lots of pictures to use in a scrapbook later.  

 

Journal Writing Prompts for November

Writing in a journal eases daily stress, promotes creativity, and improves your writing skills. Take 10 or 15 minutes out of your day to write a few lines. If you need some inspiration, check out the following journal writing prompts for November.

  1. How did October go for you? Your family? Your work? Or your school
  2. What do you hope to accomplish this month? And for the rest of 2020?
  3. Election Day! (USA) Did you vote? Why or why not? Did the election turn out the way you wanted?
  4. What is your current situation with the pandemic? Describe.
  5. How do you measure success for yourself? Your family? Your career?
  6. Write about a personal experience that no one else knows about.
  7. What aspect of your life feels overwhelming right now? Why? What are you doing to alleviate stress and stay positive?
  8. Did something or someone make you smile or laugh today? Describe in great detail.
  9. Set the alarm and free-write for 10 minutes. Write down anything that comes to mind.
  10. If you could go anywhere or do anything right now, what would it be? Why?
  11. Make a list of positive ways you have changed over the last year, five years, or ten years.
  12. What major life decision brings you the most joy when you think about it?
  13. Describe your current weather from the point of view of an animal.
  14. Write down the best piece of advice that someone gave you? Why was this so important? How did it affect your life?
  15. What were you doing at 11 am and 3 pm? Provide details.
  16. Describe in detail your current view. Remember to use your senses.
  17. Write down a minimum of ten things you like about yourself.
  18. Do you have a guilty pleasure? What is it?
  19. Do you have comfort food for the colder weather? What is it? Why does this provide comfort?
  20. Do you have a friend who is always there for you? Write that person a letter giving thanks for his or her friendship.
  21. When the weather is cold, rainy, or snowy, how do you like to spend your time?
  22. What Thanksgiving traditions did you have growing up? Do you still practice them?
  23. What are you most thankful for this November?
  24. What is your best childhood memory of Thanksgiving?
  25. What are your plans for the Thanksgiving weekend?
  26. Happy Thanksgiving! (USA) How did your day go?
  27. Do you have lots of leftovers from your Thanksgiving meal? What do you cook or bake with your leftovers? Or do you just eat them?
  28. Now that Thanksgiving is over, what do you need to do to get ready for the Christmas season?
  29. Have you started your Christmas shopping? Why or why not?
  30. What are you looking forward to in December?

Self-Care Ideas for November

Daily demands, the pandemic, election coverage, and the upcoming holiday season can be overwhelming. Practicing self-care is critical to your overall health and well-being. Check out the following self-care ideas for November.

  1. Go for a walk (Nature walks are perfect this time of year).
  2. Take a long, warm bath or shower.
  3. Vote-make your voice be heard.
  4. Rent, stream, or purchase a movie from the 1950s, 1960s, etc.
  5. Take your dog for a long walk. (Don’t have a dog? Volunteer to be a dog walker at your local rescue or animal shelter).
  6. Create a new playlist.
  7. Practice saying, “no.” You do not have to take on extra responsibilities.
  8. Buy yourself something. You do not need to spend a lot. Go to your local dollar store. Buy yourself a candle, figurine, or a box of crackers. The choice is yours.
  9. Meditate or pray. Play inspirational music in the background.
  10. Go hiking.
  11. Make homemade hot cocoa to enjoy on a cold night.
  12. Order take out from a new restaurant.
  13. Spend an afternoon reading or indulge by re-reading your favorite.
  14. Get a new hair cute. Or learn a new style. (YouTube has lots of how-to videos).
  15. Call an older relative to just chat.
  16. Write a letter to a classmate from grade school, junior high, or high school. Reminisce about a favorite time.
  17. Go for a long drive. Play the music loud and sing along.
  18. Have a fall picnic. (Yes, having one in your living room with your dog counts).
  19. Spend an afternoon painting, drawing, or doing crafts.
  20. Start decorating for the Christmas season early.
  21. Give yourself a day to do nothing.
  22. Watch uplifting videos or watch Christmas shows on the Hallmark channel.
  23. Bake
  24. Give yourself an in-home spa treatment.
  25. Make a gratitude list.
  26. Happy Thanksgiving! Eat dessert.
  27. Eat leftovers, stay in your pajamas (or comfy pants), and enjoy your day.
  28. Declutter or organize a space.
  29. Try a new recipe.
  30. Write lists, plans, and other details for the upcoming Christmas season.

November Photo Prompts

In the northern parts of the states, November brings colder temperatures and the season’s first snowfall. Of course, Thanksgiving, a holiday to give thanks, is at the end of the month. But every day is a perfect time to take photos. Do you need some inspiration? Check out the following photo prompts for November.

  1. Selfie
  2. Contrast
  3. Vote
  4. Mask
  5. Black and white
  6. Colors
  7. Signs
  8. Low-light
  9. Road
  10. Comfort
  11. Shapes
  12. Nature
  13. Orange
  14. Warmth
  15. Current view
  16. Pet
  17. Love
  18. Snack
  19. Weather
  20. Blue
  21. 3 pm
  22. Distance
  23. Family
  24. Gratitude
  25. Harvest or bounty
  26. Happy Thanksgiving! (USA)
  27. Big
  28. Window
  29. Sunset or sunrise
  30. Warm Beverage

Happy Thanksgiving

I just want to wish everyone who is celebrating today, a very Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you get to spend the day with lots of food and your loved ones (including your four-legged family members).

Thank you for following my blog. I am truly grateful for those who read my ramblings.

Pet Safety on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a festive holiday. Gathering friends and family members together to enjoy a large meal is part of the Thanksgiving tradition. While everyone is busy enjoying the festivities, your pet could be heading for trouble. Large gatherings mean a change in routine for your pets. Keeping pets safe on Thanksgiving requires extra attention to their surroundings.

Tips for Keeping Pets Safe on Thanksgiving

Keeping a close watch on your pet is essential for safety on Thanksgiving. Consider the following areas to help you with pet safety.

The Door

Pets love to greet people at the door. Your dog may enjoy barking and running to see who is coming in the door. When people start arriving, your dog or cat can easily slip out through the open door. Watching the door closely ensures your pet stays inside.

The Kitchen 

During cooking times, your kitchen may be chaotic. Pets love to be near people. Having a pet in the kitchen may cause you to trip. Or you may accidentally spill something hot on your pet. If you unexpectedly drop raw food or other ingredients, your pet may quickly eat the substance, which could cause stomach distress.

The Food

Along with ingesting raw food, overfeeding your pet on ThaThanksgiving can cause stomach issues and more. Thanksgiving is about indulging in a great meal.

  • Limit Food Scrapes:  Thanksgiving is about indulging in a great meal. Limiting food scraps to your dog or cat is essential for your pet’s health. A small piece of boneless, unseasoned turkey is a tasty treat for your pet.
  • No Fat or Seasoned Food: Fatty or seasoned foods can make your pet sick.
  • No Chocolate: Chocolate or other rich desserts are all part of the Thanksgiving feast. But chocolate is toxic to dogs. High doses of chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even death in dogs.

The Trash

Pets are curious. Sniffing out the trash is natural for them. Pulling out wrappings, food pieces, bones, and other substances can cause stomach distress. Keeping the garbage out of reach of pets is necessary to avoid health issues.

The Safe Space

Pets can quickly become overwhelmed with all the people in your household. Allowing your pet to retreat to a crate or safe place will help reduce anxiety. Inform your guests, especially children, the area is off-limits.

Thanksgiving is a festive occasion. Keeping your pet safe during the activities means you will not spend an evening in the vet emergency room.

Hosting a Friendsgiving

The word Friendsgiving is a term to describe the combination of gathering friends and the Thanksgiving holiday. Reasons for hosting a Friendsgiving vary. Family members may not live nearby. Or you consider your friends like your family. Regardless of your reason, hosting a Friendsgiving is a wonderful way to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Tips for Hosting a Friendsgiving

Honestly, there is no right or wrong way to host a Friendsgiving. The basic concept is about having those you cherish around you for Thanksgiving. Your gathering can be a causal or fantastic dining experience. Here are a few tips to help you plan your Friendsgiving gathering.

Invites

Grab your favorite writing instrument to prepare a list of people to invite to your Friendsgiving. Next, use your list for sending invites. There are five basic ways to invite your friends over for a Thanksgiving meal.

  • Digital: Create a private group on Facebook to invite and discuss your plans for the Thanksgiving meal.
  • Call: If you are short on time, give everyone on your list a quick call.
  • Text: Send your invites via a text or private message.
  • Mail: Make out your invitations and send them through the mail.
  • In-person: This method is great for handing out homemade invites

Menu

After you know how many people are coming to your Friendsgiving event, you must plan a menu. There are three basic ways to prepare and serve your meal.

  • Do it Yourself: Cook and bake the entire meal yourself. The DIY approach is excellent for individuals who love to cook.
  • Pot Luck: Pot luck is a wonderful way to add variety to your meal. This option is perfect when serving a buffet-style meal. Ask people attending your Friendsgiving to bring a dish to pass. Keep a running list of dishes and desserts to ensure a wide array of food.
  • Catered: Have your Thanksgiving meal delivered. The catered approach is perfect for busy individuals.

Use the menu approach that is best for you. If needed, combine the methods to make your Friendsgiving a meal to remember. For example, you could cook the main meal but have the desserts delivered. Or one of your guests could make desserts. The choice is entirely up to you.

Activities

Yes, you may serve your food, eat, and just chill with your friends. Or you can have other activities to make your Friendsgiving fun.

  • Watch football
  • Watch a movie
  • Play board games
  • Play video games

Create a Photo Booth

Remember your Friendsgiving with pictures. Create an area in your home for a photo booth.

  • Use a backdrop (a new sheet or cloth is excellent for an instant backdrop).
  • Add props for more fun. For example, you can use a turkey hat, signs, fake mustaches, and funny sunglasses. The accessories do not have to be expensive. You can even make your own.
  • Develop a unique hashtag for your Friendsgiving.
  • Post the photos in your private group so everyone can see the results.

Whether you are only having a couple people over or an entire household, planning a Friendsgiving is a fantastic spin on the Thanksgiving holiday gathering.

 

 

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Start a New Thanksgiving Tradition

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to give thanks for everything in your life. Gathering friends and family for a bountiful meal is a long-standing holiday tradition. Are you looking for a new tradition to go beyond gathering around the dinner table? Consider the following ideas:

  • Donate one or two turkeys and all the fixings for a family in need
  • Volunteer at a homeless shelter or other community organization
  • Donate groceries or money to your local food bank
  • Invite your elderly neighbor over for Thanksgiving dinner
  • Unplug for social media. (Yes, wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, but then put your device on vibrate.)
  • Bake (or order) an extra pie for your neighbor, dog groomer, hairstylist, postal worker, child’s teacher, bus driver, etc.
  • Stay in your pajamas, eat a buffet-style breakfast, and watch the Thanksgiving parade together
  • Make homemade Thanksgiving decorations, placemats, and name tags
  • Set up a craft area to occupy children while you are preparing the meal.
  • Watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving 
  • Binge-watch your favorite series
  • Host a Friendsgiving
  • If the weather allows, get aside as a family, go for a walk, go for a nature hike, or play touch football.
  • Play cards or board games
  • Participate in a Turkey Trot
  • Go on a trip
  • Take a group photo
  • Write your Thanksgiving blessings on leaf-shaped notecards and hang on a tree. Or collect them to save in your scrapbook

Spending time together is the best tradition. Enjoy each other’s company during the downtime of the busy holiday.

 

Just a quick note: ha“As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.”

Ways to Give Thanks

November is about recognizing the positive attributes happening in your life right now. Showing gratitude about your daily life is good for your well-being. Are you looking for ways to give thanks? Consider reaching out to someone in need or volunteering. If you need inspiration, check out the following list.

  • Donate groceries to a food bank
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter or rescue.
  • Buy a coffee or hot chocolate for your co-workers
  • Give flowers to your child’s teacher
  • Cook a meal for a family going through a rough time
  • Leave a tip above the standard rate
  • Donate your gently used clothes to a women’s shelter (personal hygiene products are also a welcomed donation)
  • Offer to drive an elderly person around to run errands or go to a doctor’s appointment
  • Leave a positive review on social media about your recent restaurant visit. Give your waiter or waitress some positive feedback.
  • Engage in a kind gesture. Hold the door open for someone. Or allow a person with a single item check out ahead of you and your cartload of groceries.
  • At the drive-thru, pay for the next person’s order
  • Write a thank you card to your favorite teacher.
  • Volunteer at a nursing home.
  • Take a bag of groceries to a relative or person in need.
  • Volunteer or donate money to a soup kitchen or homeless shelter
  • Volunteer to babysit
  • Tape quarters inside of a dryer’s lid at the public laundry mat
  • Tape quarters to a vending machine
  • Donate toys for the holiday season

Finding small ways to give thanks may have a significant impact on another’s person day.

 

November Photo Prompt Ideas

November brings numerous opportunities for photos. Depending on where you live, you may begin to see snow. Holiday decorations will start appearing. Thanksgiving (US) is at the end of the month. Make memories with photography is a perfect way to remember the month of November.

November Photo Prompts

  1. Selfie (always begin each month with a new selfie)
  2. Clouds
  3. Landscape or Skyscape
  4. Water
  5. Chocolate
  6. Love
  7. Socks
  8. Thanksgiving or Harvest decorations
  9. Sunset/Sunrise
  10. Current view
  11. Close
  12. Grateful
  13. Animal
  14. Time
  15. Orange
  16. Signs
  17. Soft
  18. Favorite Snack
  19. Yellow
  20. Something to Your Left
  21. Distance
  22. Weather or Snow
  23. Nature
  24. Turkey
  25. Beverage
  26. Green
  27. Something to Your Right
  28. Happy Thanksgiving! Your Thanksgiving View
  29. Favorite Pie or Other Dessert
  30. Holidays