The Alternative Thanksgiving Guide

Everyone’s talking about Thanksgiving these days. The Mount Kilimanjaro of turkey they’re going to eat, all the cheek-pinching aunts they’ll see, the travel plans they’ve made. But we know that not everyone can get home for Thanksgiving, and that not all people–gasp!–enjoy turkey.

If traditional Thanksgiving plans aren’t in the crystal ball of your future this week, gobble up some these ideas for a quirky Turkey Day!

Family-schamily! If you can’t get home for Thanksgiving, rally up a cornucopia of pals and celebrate with one of these insightful ideas:

Thanksgiving-Themed Movie Night
Get the corn popping and gather the crew ‘round for a ‘reel’ good time! Check your local library for the following titles:

  • Hannah and Her Sisters, a classic Woody Allen flick that begins and ends with a Thanksgiving scene
  • Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, a John Hughes comedy about a man traveling home for the holiday
  • Holiday Inn, a 1942 classic starring Bing Crosby
  • Avalon, an American immigrant epic with a famous Thanksgiving scene–”You cut the turkey without me!?”

Pumpkin Pie Invitational
Q: Is there such a thing as ‘too much’ pumpkin pie?
A: No!

Challenge friends to bake the best pumpkin pie ever. Then, pile your pies into one kitchen, sample each, and judge the results.

Food and Thought
Ask your pals to pick a poem or passage from a novel that focuses on the theme of thanks, then bring everyone together for a potluck and reading. You’ll have stomachs filled with food that’s ‘delighting,’ and heads filled with thoughts quite inviting as you dish out both the prandial and profound.

Come to think of it, who says you can’t do something on your own for Turkey Day? We know you’re no chicken, so embrace your independence in one of these ways:

Take Thanksgiving’s feel-good sentiments and feed them some Super Mario mushrooms by spending your day volunteering. From soup kitchens, to food banks, to hospitals, there are plenty of places to put smiles on faces by giving up your day for a good cause.

Run a Turkey Trot
Most cities hold an annual charity 5K or 10K run on Thanksgiving, and some even include costumes. See if your hometown has a race, and after running, make sure to indulge in a heaping slice of pumpkin pie!

The turkey shouldn’t be the only thing getting stuffed on Thanksgiving. You should be too–with amazing food, that is. If you’re veg, or you just want a fun spin on some of the old-classic recipes, tuck into one of these fresh, fun recipes:

‘So Hot Right Now’ Potatoes
Thought sweet potatoes couldn’t get any better? You’ll go nutty for these Peanut Butter-Crusted Sweet Potato Fries!

Entry of the Entrée
If turkey’s not your things, prepare to be floored by the gourd! Whip up an alternative main course with this meat-free Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe.

Easy as Pie
If pumpkin pie is too ‘upper-crust’ for your cooking skills, try out Lead Editor and Writing Team Manager Molly’s simple-to-make Pumpkin Pie Sandwiches!

Whether you’re feasting with the fam or taking one of these suggestions to heart, Happy Thanksgiving!


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  1. Avatar
    amanda @ fake ginger 11/23/2010 at 6:20 pm #

    Thanks for featuring my sweet potato fries! They would be delicious for Thanksgiving!

  2. Avatar
    jaime 11/23/2010 at 9:17 pm #

    I love hannah and her sisters. and anything with john candy in it 🙂 What I used to do on thanksgiving was feed the ducks at the local park. It was super cold, and i knew nobody else would think of them. Do something unexpected 🙂

  3. Avatar
    Annie (ModCloth) 11/24/2010 at 7:44 pm #

    These ideas are awesome, Hannah! This will be my first Thanksgiving away from my family, so I look forward to hanging out with friends, baking cupcakes, and watching a few good movies. Definitely adding Hannah and Her Sisters to the list!

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