Thanksgiving is all about home and family, but the holiday is also about tradition. Even so, that focus on holiday tradition does not mean you cannot shake things up once in awhile.
Sometimes, the stress of making the perfect five-course meal makes you want to just order some Chinese take-out, and hey, that’s not that bad of an idea. If you want to stay in a middle ground of celebrating the season without all of the stress, theres a lot of great alternatives that still feel festive enough to make the cheer last until Christmas.
If you are tired of doing the same old things year after year, why not create some new traditions this Thanksgiving season? Here are six holiday hacks that will upend your old traditions and help you make some new memories.
1. Head to a Farmers Market or Local Farm for Fresh Fruits and Veggies
November can often feel like you have two homes: your actual home, and the grocery store. When you used to only leave the house to go to the store on Sundays, you find yourself going back for more squash, fresh green beans, or because you tried to make the pie crust from scratch and gave up after attempt seven. Getting outside and taking a break from never-ending aisles and fluorescent lights can really be therapeutic. If you head over to the farmers market, or a local farm, you can get some help. Some great places to check out in our community are Benders Farm Fresh Market in Boynton Beach, and the West Palm Beach GreenMarket, open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
2. Create a Family Recipe Cookbook
From Aunt Jane and her amazing green bean casserole to those spectacular sweet potatoes your Uncle Bob makes, every member of the family has their own traditional Thanksgiving recipes. Now that the holiday is almost here, why not bring those dishes within reach of everyone, even those who cannot make the trip this year?
Putting together a cookbook filled with timeless family recipes is a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving, but it will also make a memorable holiday gift. So start emailing, go on social media to solicit submissions, and get your printer ready - you have a cookbook to make.
3. Plan a Potluck.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year, but the person doing the cooking may not feel that way. Cooking an entire holiday feast for a house full of relatives can be a huge source of stress, so why not get together and lighten the load on this year’s host?
A potluck Thanksgiving can be a wonderful new holiday tradition, one that will allow every member of the clan to share their own special creations. The host can still cook the turkey, but knowing everything else is taken care of will set their mind at ease.
4. Explore Non-Traditional Entrees
There is no law that the turkey has to be the star of the Thanksgiving show, and exploring non-traditional entrees is a great way to shake things up. There are plenty of other delicious dishes you can try, and you just may discover your new favorite Thanksgiving tradition.
From prime rib and brisket to seafood and pasta, there are plenty of ways to rethink the Thanksgiving day table. You can even whip up a vegetarian feast for the plant lovers in the family.
5. Plan a Thanksgiving Getaway
Thanksgiving is more than just a single day - it is a four day weekend, and a great chance for a quick getaway. If you would rather work on your tan than work in the kitchen, why not plan a fun family getaway instead?
You can grab a quick turkey dinner at your favorite restaurant before you head for the airport. And once you have reached your destination, you can drink, dine, and dance the days away.
6. Zoom in on Far Off Family Members
The COVID-19 pandemic forced families to make some adjustments for Thanksgiving, including replacing the traditional full table with a turkey-themed Zoom meeting. That was tough, but there is value in the idea.
If you have family members who will not be able to travel for Thanksgiving, why not set up a Zoom meeting so they can join you at the holiday table. Even if you do not have to do it, hosting a virtual Thanksgiving can be a lot of fun.
7. Start a Thanksgiving Garden
Thanksgiving is all about great food, and the fresher those ingredients are the better the meal will be. If you want your Thanksgiving dinner to be extra special, why not start a garden and harvest your own vegetables?
Depending on where you live, you can grow everything from corn and sweet potatoes to kale and lettuce for the salad to pumpkins for the pie. Knowing that you grew the ingredients yourself will make them taste that much better.
If you do not have room for a backyard garden, you can grow herbs right in your windowsill. You can purchase a pre-made herb garden complete with seeds and growth medium, or you can purchase and grow individual plants on your own.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year, with years of tradition and family fun. But that does not mean traditions cannot, or should not, change. If you want to do something different this year, the six tradition-busting updates could help you have an even better and more memorable holiday season.