What a year 2020 has been! I won't lie and say I wasn't hoping that Covid-19 would be behind us by now (says everyone!). I remember thinking at Easter how excited I would be to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, you know, normally.
Covid-19 is still with us, though, and most of us are preparing for scaled-back celebrations. During these very non-normal times, I've realized it's more important than ever to give thanks and give back even in a (perpetually) challenging season.
Here are 6 ways to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.
1. Give Gratitude
Show thanks to the people who have made your life better and easier this year. The kids and I made cards for a few people who have really helped us out -- our hairstylist, for example, our doctors, our church leaders, and some government offices. We also took an afternoon to paint pictures for each other and Daddy to remind us that we're still thankful for each other-- even after we've spent days upon days together during quarantine.
2. Get Glittered
Crafts have been a good way to get our hands on gratitude. I embraced my full-time SAHM and now-homeschool mom status this year by going online and purchasing two of the largest containers of gold and silver glitter I could find. The kids and I collected treasures of the autumn season--leaves, candles, wreaths, and pinecones--and bedazzled them within an inch of their lives and decorated the house with them. It's been a neat way for us to remember that there is beauty to be found in any season-- yes, even during Covid-19.
3. Get Out (to Eat!)
If the normal crowd can't come to your house this year, consider heading out to a local restaurant with a Thanksgiving meal (and give thanks for no dishes to clean up!) Our favorite small businesses continue to feel the financial strain of the year, so this is a great way to give back. The following spots have a stellar menu lined up for dine-in or take-out on Thanksgiving Day:
4. Get Goofy
If you're like me, you've lost your sense of humor more than once this year, so take time this holiday week to rest and be silly together. Go ahead, play with the food and let the kids help experiment in the kitchen (personally I'm going to just ignore the batter splatters on the walls). Don't forget the silly dance parties or funny movies. If you've already binged all the Netflix you can handle this year, consider vintage favorites on Prime and Disney Plus like A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving or Pollyanna.
5. Give Time (to Read)
Reading has taken on a whole new meaning this year as the kids and I have spent more time at home. This season we've delved into literature not only about the history of Thanksgiving, but also how to give thanks-- what it looks like and even what words to use. Here are a few of our current favorites to share with your little ones:
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, Charles M. Schulz
Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving, Eric Metaxas
Thanks for Thanksgiving, Julie Markes
Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving, Kimberly and James Dean
God Gave Us Thankful Hearts, Lisa Tawn Bergren
The Story of Thanksgiving, Nancy J. Skarmeas
6. Get Shopping
Whether you do Black Friday or Shop Small Saturday; whether you're staying home in your jammies or venturing out; make a mental note to shop small businesses as much as possible. Most local spots have excellent websites and can personalize a gift far better than Amazon!
Visit Downtown Murfreesboro Business Association, Smyrna Independent Merchants Association, Eagleville, and Cannon County online for inspo on how to shop local, and don't forget Facebook groups like Stand Up to Covid-19 and BoroBounceBack to find local cottage industries that provide amazing and unique gifts.
How will you celebrate Thanksgiving this year? Share your ideas in the comments below.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Laura Beth Payne is a writer mama and Murfreesboro native who lives in the Blackman community with her husband and two children. Follow her at @murfreesboromama on Facebook and Instagram. Got a column idea? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.