It was an agonizing decision, but my husband and I decided not to invite family over for Thanksgiving this year. We had been looking forward to hosting Thanksgiving at our new house, especially since we now live within a few hours of most of our family members.
However, we wanted to take precautions and protect the more vulnerable members of our immediate and extended families. So, Thanksgiving will be small and simple this year.
I am excited that we have an entire week off for Thanksgiving, though, so I want to make the most of it.
I thought I would share our plans in case you are looking for ideas for a similarly small Thanksgiving.
Our Cozy Thanksgiving Break Plans
1. Lots of Outdoor Activities
We’re fortunate to live in Texas now, so outdoor activities are possible much of the year. In fact, I’d argue, outdoor activities are MUCH more pleasant now than in the summer. So, we’re planning on going on a few hikes, sitting outside by the fire pit and roasting marshmallows, and taking a family bike ride on the trail around the lake.
2. Family Baking
This season just begs for baking. We’re going to make pies together (using recipes my grandmother taught me), and I’m planning on making a pumpkin cheesecake for my husband’s birthday. Father Daniel loves this dessert, but I have been too intimidated to make it. I’ve decided to give it a try this year!
We’ll also likely make our first batch of Christmas sugar cookies and possibly some fudge as well after Thanksgiving Day.
3. Movies (Christmas and Otherwise!)
We love snuggling down to a good movie together as a family. We’re planning on introducing our kids to some of the classic Christmas movies this year (like Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life) in addition to our tried a true picks (like Elf, the Muppet Christmas Carol, and Home Alone).
My oldest son, Andrew, (age 11) and I might also indulge in a Harry Potter movie marathon.
4. Complete a Puzzle
Growing up, my family always had a puzzle going during family holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Set up on a card table in the corner, the puzzle became a gathering place for family members throughout our time together. I’d like to start this tradition with our kids now, too.
5. Chop Down a Christmas Tree
For the last 8 years, our family has gone to a Christmas tree farm the Friday after Thanksgiving to chop down our tree. I’ve done some research and found a farm less than an hour away from our new home, so we know what we’ll be doing on that day!
6. Read Aloud Together
Evenings are the best time to put on pajamas, curl up under cozy blankets, and read a book aloud as a family. We are currently finishing up The Tale of Despereaux. I’m thinking we’ll make hot chocolate and read outside by the fire pit to add a holiday touch to the ritual over Thanksgiving break.
7. Pray the Akathist of Thanksgiving
Finally, as I mentioned last week, we’ll also be praying the Akathist of Thanksgiving together as a family on Wednesday night. This helps all of us get into the right frame of mind as thank God for all that he has given us.
What are your Thanksgiving plans?