It’s almost Thanksgiving! You know what that means: lots of good food, Black Friday shopping, football, much needed R&R from school…and of course, family time. When family throws Thanksgiving, memorable experiences are sure to ensue–but it’s up to you to figure out how you can take part in the festivities on your own terms, but still constructively. Whether you, like me, can’t wait to get home to spend this holiday with your loved ones, or you’d rather hide away and sleep off your food coma in your dorm room, here are some tips and tricks to make your mark on your family’s Thanksgiving.
**Tips and Tricks**
Take an Interest. Being away at college can be rough on your relationships with family. After all, they’re undoubtedly seeing each other all the time, while you’re only having the chance to catch up during the times that you’re home–holidays, breaks, or the random weekend here and there. Take some time before the holiday to remember what’s going on in everyone else’s lives these days…is your cousin still dating that hot photographer? Is grandma’s trip to Alaska coming up or did that happen already? If you don’t know, you have some questions to catch up on during pre-dinner chatting!
Provide Entertainment. In a family like mine, talking can last all night long, but you want to spice things up a bit. Offer up your copy of Catchphrase or take a minute to teach everyone the new card game you learned at school. Games are sure to get everyone involved in an activity together. Like the photo above, of my own family playing Rock Band, bonus points for suggesting a non board game, or anything that takes the older family members a little out of their comfort zone.
Start a New Tradition. Tons of families have the “Everyone say what their thankful for” tradition, and surely it’s a great one, but ask around among your friends at school about their family traditions. You’re bound to come up with a few fun, exciting new ones that you can then implement into your own family’s holiday.
Show Your Baby-Sitting Skill. Becoming a human jungle gym for your little cousins or nieces and nephews may not be your top choice for how you want to spend your evening, but I guarantee that the parents of the little ones will be extremely grateful to have some adult time. You may be an independent collegian who no longer is relegated to the kids’ table, but you’re still a great option for baby-sitter. Embrace it!
Surprise with Treats. Chances are, if you’re still living at home, responsibility doesn’t yet fall on you to bring a dish to share to the family holiday, but there’s no rule that says you’re not allowed to do so. Browse around for a treat that will wow everyone for its taste and your generosity. I recommend these Portobello Mushrooms with Parmasean Herb Stuffing from Big Girls, Small Kitchen.
Capture the Moment. You know the feeling when you have an awesome night, and the next day all you’re thinking is, “UGH, no one took any pictures!” You can be the one to fix that problem! Be the paparazzi at this year’s holiday, capturing little interactions and the big holiday food spread. When the photos come in, everyone will be thankful!
Extra thankful for you this year, SKC readers, have a great holiday! Cheers!
Shannon Kelley is a graduate student at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, which she loves, but is looking very forward to leaving to spend Thanksgiving