People Who Love Thanksgiving Do These 8 Things, Do You?

I'm not someone who tends to love Thanksgiving. The truth is, I find it so stressful that it's hard to figure out how to enjoy it in and around the food I have to cook, the decorations I have to put up and take down, and the seemingly constant stream of people. (See also: Year-End Holiday Celebrations for Less)

Still, I know there's more to this holiday than all of those things, so I've begun to look at my friends who love Thanksgiving to figure out how I can start loving this season, too. Here are a few of the things I've tried over the last several years, or will be trying this year.

1. Practice Gratitude All Month Long

It turns out that the point of Thanksgiving is gratitude, not football or shopping. The holiday started because people were grateful, and that's what we remember when we take the day off and eat all that food.

One of the best ways to remember the gratitude part of Thanksgiving is to start practicing it early. People who really love Thanksgiving often make gratitude a practice throughout the month of November. You can write down several things you're thankful for each day, or you can even post them somewhere like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to make your gratitude public.

2. Decorate for the Holiday

Because it comes so close to Christmas, a lot of people don't bother decorating for Thanksgiving. And it does seem like it would be kind of a pain to put up decorations for one holiday, only to take them down for another one.

However, people who love Thanksgiving often put decorations up anyway, to help them focus on the day and remember that it, too, is a celebration. You have a couple of choices, to make the whole process easier. You could just put out a few things, ones that catch your eye but aren't hard to put away when the day is over. Or, you could decorate for Thanksgiving at the beginning of November, so you get to enjoy the decor all month long.

3. Plan the Meal Carefully

Most people spend some time planning their Thanksgiving Dinner, but people who love the holiday tend to plan not only in order to make sure that all the pieces are there, but in order to minimize the work involved or spread it out over several people, families, and kitchens.

I know that part of the reason I haven't liked Thanksgiving in the past is that I end up spending so much time preparing food, and then cleaning up afterwards. I don't get to give thanks or watch football or anything, because I'm focused on the food. It makes sense, then, that planning a simpler meal or inviting more hands to become involved would lower that stress, making the holiday more enjoyable.

4. Watch the Macy's Parade

Okay, so I vaguely remember the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from when I was a kid, but it has never been a major part of my holiday. However, a good friend of mine watches it every year, and she says it's part of why she loves Thanksgiving. So I tried it last year.

Now, I didn't watch the whole thing from start to finish, but I watched enough, and it did raise my spirits. There's something about the whimsy of the balloons, the upbeat music of the bands, and the creativity of the floats that starts the day off right.

5. Don't Shop (So Others Can Enjoy the Day, Too!)

I've read about people having to work on Thanksgiving every year for the last several. And, I'll be honest with you, it's nice to know that there will be a grocery store open, in case I've forgotten anything for the meal. But people who love Thanksgiving often avoid shopping on the holiday, because they enjoy the day so much that they want everyone to be able to spend it with family and friends, too.

6. Know What to Do With Leftover Turkey

It may sound silly, but one of the things that can make Thanksgiving stressful is knowing you will have leftovers and not knowing what to do with them. You can alleviate this by finding some recipes for your leftovers ahead of time, maybe even starting a family tradition to answer the "What do I do with all this turkey?" question.

People who love Thanksgiving don't stress about leftovers. They know you can make everything from Bar-B-Q sandwiches to fajitas to yummy casseroles.

7. Help Others Have a Great Thanksgiving

Many people who love Thanksgiving love it because they make it a point to help others, not just to relax and eat. This can mean serving Thanksgiving dinner to homeless people, or simply donating money to a local charity that takes Thanksgiving dinner to people who might not get one otherwise.

There's something about giving that makes us happy, especially when we connect it with a holiday. When we help others, we're also reminded of how much we have, which will make us more grateful, if we let it. And isn't that the whole point of the day?

8. Don't Brave Black Friday

Yes, there are amazing deals on Black Friday, even if you resist going to the stores on Thursday afternoon or evening. But when you are so focused on getting started on Christmas, it's easy to almost forget Thanksgiving entirely, to let it become an afterthought rather than an important holiday in and of itself.

People who love Thanksgiving often want to revel in it, and so they choose not to focus on shopping because it will distract them from a day that's important to them. If you're lucky enough to have Friday off, you can take it as an opportunity to let Thanksgiving sink in, rather than a chance to get a leg up on Christmas.

Do you love Thanksgiving? How do you show it? Please share in comments!

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Guest's picture

#3 definitely when you're hosting, which we do every year. A couple things that we do is make 2 turkeys, one a day before which we carve up and put into plastic bags for leftovers for family members to take home for the weekend. The second one we cook up that day and serve at dinner.

Also, we prep all our vegetables the night before and put them in pots with water and then store them in the walkout of the basement where it's nice and cool. This year I'm trying something different - cooking the potatoes and turnip the day before and then putting them in crockpots on Thanksgiving morning to heat up. I'm hoping this will save some time and stress with having these items ready to go.