5 Thanksgiving Traditions You Should Skip


Thanksgiving can be a really fun holiday — If nothing gets burned in the oven, or your uncle doesn't get too drunk, or your mom doesn't put you on her charades team... Why add more stress to an already jam-packed day? (See also: Kick-Ass Alternatives to Canned Cranberry)

Here are five Thanksgiving traditions you can skip.

1. Cancel the Black Friday Campout

Black Friday is a huge deal. Everyone wants to get the best price for their holiday gifts, but why at the expense of having a nice Thanksgiving? The deals are amazing, but the crowds are terrifying. Don't put yourself in danger to save a few bucks.

This year, Cyber Monday may actually be better for cameras, toys, travel, shoes, clothing, and beauty products. So wait it out. On Cyber Monday, you don't have to leave the house and risk getting trampled by throngs of door buster zombies.

2. Forget the Turkey

Let's walk through this: You have to go from store to store just to find the right turkey. Then, you have to make room in your fridge to store the turkey. Later you have defrost the turkey. Then, you must brine the turkey and later season and dress the turkey. Then roast it for hours and hours. Plus, it's impossible to get the right temperature in all parts of the bird at the same time. To get the legs fully cooked, you must overbake and dry out the breast. The constant basting is a hassle.

Is it worth your time every single year? There are so many substitutes. Try a beef roast, a fish tagine, or several small chickens instead of one big turkey. Every couple years or so, my family makes a brisket just to change things up and it is always fantastic.

3. Skip the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Unless you are a diehard Al Roker fan, there's not much to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Every year it is the same: the balloons, the marching bands, the lame celebrity spots, the weirdly choreographed music segments. If you're busy cooking it makes for adequate background noise and something for the kids to watch, but you're better off focusing on the oven.

4. Ban the Kids' Table

Let's face it: Conversations with adults can be extremely boring, taxing, or tense. Add family to the mix and it is all of the above. The kids get a great deal being placed at a separate table, because they actually have fun.

Bring some light, jovial energy to your thanksgiving and make the kids and adults sit together. Swap the kids and parents around so everyone sits near a niece or nephew. When your six year old nephew who wants to be an astronaut tells you all about the constellations he's learned, you'll realize what you've been missing.

5. Don't Flock to the Movie Theater

Every year, families rush out to the multiplex to see the latest family blockbuster. It's an ordeal to get everyone piled in the car, to park, to get the tickets, and an even bigger ordeal to agree on a film! Plus, the Thanksgiving movie tradition has gotten crazy expensive: the average ticket in major cities is $14. Multiply that by four or more family members, and you have an expensive end to an already pricey family meal.

Why not relax at home for a lower-stress evening? Streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Instant, and Hulu Plus all offer lots of content for a low monthly fee you're already paying, and your cable provider's video on demand service features new releases for a few bucks. Or, try relaxing at home with a classic holiday movie. Of course, if your kids threaten to stage a mutiny if they don't see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt.1, then you're out of luck.

Do you have any non-traditional Thanksgiving traditions? Tell us about them in comments!

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