Thanksgiving is meant to be a time of camaraderie and gratitude. And, for a brief, wondrous moment shared around the table, it is.
And then everyone falls asleep.
From the travel, to the prep work, to the intoxicating soporific of red wine and tryptophan, Thanksgiving can be exhausting. Our quest for family fun sometimes fades into one big slumber party.
This year, keep the dream of quality time alive—or at least awake—by stocking your holiday weekend with energizing, engaging activities. Sure, naps may still be had, but make sure they’re well earned, and then use that extra energy to tackle the next item on the agenda.
1. Thursday – Running
Turkey trots. Mashed potato miles. Stuffing struts. Thanksgiving races come in all distances with any number of wacky names.
There’s the Beast 2 Feast 5k in Minneapolis. Or, in Indianapolis, folks lace’em up for the Drumstick Dash. Using Scout, you can search under “Jogging & Running Events” to find races in your neck of the woods.
2. Friday – Museums
One way to shoot down your goal of Thanksgiving harmony is to rise at dawn the next morning and squabble with shoppers at Target. Instead, consider a trip to a museum, as many are shining an inspirational light on Black Friday with a host of events.
This year, the Boston Children’s Museum presents UnShopping Day, where musical acts and art projects easily trump the prospect of battling a stranger for the last Lego play set.
At the Art Institute of Chicago, families gather along Michigan Avenue for hot chocolate, carols and to see the museum’s famous lions decked with wreaths, like the kings of jungle Christmas. Inside, kids can make their own creative holiday garlands, and many exhibits are open to the public. Check out “Art and Appetite,” featuring paintings, sculptures, cookbooks and menus exploring the cultural importance of food, which should have everyone primed for leftovers once you get back home.
3. Saturday – Live Music
Before you pack the last suitcase, before you stow the gravy boat away for another year, consider capping your Thanksgiving weekend with a concert.
Some bands span the generations. On Saturday the 30th, Pearl Jam plays in Spokane, not too far from their home base in Seattle. The teens in your group will recognize that tune they heard on the radio. The Gen Xers can sing along to songs from their teens.
Or, if you’re near Orlando, you can head to the Amway Center to catch Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The prog rockers perform with enough lights, lasers and pyrotechnics to blast away any Thanksgiving lethargy that may have crept into your system. That should make way for the Christmas spirit, as that holiday is just around the corner—and it is the band’s specialty, after all.