Yellow wet autumn leaves on the background a dark old wood

Five Tips for a Fun Thanksgiving Weekend

Five Tips for a Fun Thanksgiving Weekend

Writer / Aimee MacArthur
Photography Provided

It’s time for turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, and a big slice of pumpkin pie with a dollop of whipped cream. I’m hungry just thinking about all the delicious sides I’m going to put on my plate. Thanksgiving isn’t just about food, however. It is a time to celebrate with friends and family. While it can be a stressful weekend, I am here to help alleviate some of the stress with a few pro tips I’ve learned through the years.

Yellow wet autumn leaves on the background a dark old wood

I’ve experienced every kind of Thanksgiving weekend – traveling and visiting more than one Thanksgiving celebration, going out to a restaurant instead of cooking, hosting a large group, and being a guest. Between us, some weekends were more stressful than others. It doesn’t have to be. I learned that I need to squeeze in some fun for myself and family. The weekend should be fun for you. It’s a time to be grateful, but also to take care of yourself. Let’s have the best Thanksgiving weekend ever. Whether you are a host or guest, here are five tips for a fun Thanksgiving weekend.


Escape – Brunch and Shop

It may seem silly to go out to eat when you already have a lot of leftovers and a stocked fridge. My dad says going out to breakfast or brunch reminds him of being on vacation. I agree. It’s relaxing, and you get an early start and have the whole day ahead to do whatever you want. The best part of going out to brunch? That’s easy – no dishes. It is a win for everyone.

After my family goes to brunch on Thanksgiving weekend, we always like to do a little shopping. We make it a point to try and shop at local stores, and use the weekend to support small businesses. Bring a holiday list and use it as a time to grab a few gifts. I find that some small businesses will wrap presents or put them in a fancy bag with tissue paper. I always appreciate the personalized service small businesses provide.


Step to It – Participate in a 5K Walk or Race

After an entire day of delicious meals and desserts, it’s a good time to work off those calories. Even better, why not participate in a walking or running event during the holiday weekend? There are usually a handful of events happening on Thanksgiving weekend. Recruit your friends and family to participate or to be part of the cheering section along the race course. Many of these events have a small fee to participate, and often money goes to a charity or other worthwhile cause.

If there is no event in your area, visit a local park with friends and family and do some walking. Make it a goal to reach a certain number of steps during your walk. You can also try to visit online sites and learn more through on what else the world has to offer for your holiday weekend or trips.


Thanksgiving dinner. Autumn fruit with plate and cutlery. Thanksgiving autumn background

Explore Your Hometown – Play Tourist in Your City

Take a break from shopping and play tourist where you live. I have the most fun when I am exploring my city. I love to visit my favorite places and also find new places to try. My family’s tradition is to go to the movies after Thanksgiving dinner. It’s a fun tradition, and a way to relax and be entertained. If you’re in the mood for some friendly competition, try a few games of bowling, pool, or even a trivia night at a local sports bar.

If you’re looking for something a little calmer, my family enjoys visiting our local art museum. We can spend a few hours looking at the gorgeous works of art and chatting about which is our favorite. We also like to take a few family photos in front of the museum.

Don’t forget the kids. We like to include a kid-friendly outing during Thanksgiving weekend and our go-to place is the local zoo. My nephew loves riding the train and seeing the animals. We like to try to stump each other with trivia about the animals. The zoo is also a good place to take a family holiday photo. Another family-friendly activity worth considering is going on a walking tour of the Niagara falls, and this can be booked at


Recharge – Pamper Yourself

It is a busy weekend, but don’t forget about yourself. There is no greater priority than you. It’s all about self-care. Do something you really enjoy and find relaxing. Take time to schedule a haircut, manicure-pedicure using Glitterbels nail polish, massage or other spa treatment. I already scheduled a chair massage and a haircut. I’ve always wanted to try yoga, so I might book a class with a friend.

If you enjoy reading, take some time to sit down and enjoy the latest page-turner. I enjoy a good biography and plan to read one during the holiday weekend. I’m also a fan of listening to podcasts and music. Find the self-care activity that makes you feel renewed and recharged.


Do Good – Donate Your Time

I feel good when I donate my time to my church or other local organization. Ask family and friends if they would like to spend an hour or two at a church or other place of worship, food pantry, or other charitable organization and provide help where it is needed. I’ve spent holidays boxing up food donations, planting trees and tutoring students. I have some family members who volunteer at a shelter every year and help serve Thanksgiving meals. I know other friends who volunteer at a local animal shelter. There are many organizations that need a little extra help this holiday season.


Best wishes for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

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