Thanksgiving is the perfect autumn holiday. Celebrated mainly in North America, it falls right between Halloween and Christmas, and acts as a good marker of the changing seasons. Thanksgiving has both religious and secular roots, as it is a holiday about gratitude, as well as giving blessings for a bountiful harvest. How can you celebrate Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving Plans – What to Do
Host a Feast
The mainstay of Thanksgiving plans is to host or attend a Thanksgiving dinner. This aligns with the American tradition of a thanksgiving feast, which is rooted in the first feast the English colonists held to thank the Native Americans for helping with their harvest.
While a Thanksgiving feast no longer lasts three days, a Thanksgiving dinner is an event itself, usually due to all the cooking and family gatherings. Thanksgiving even has its own modern take, “Friendsgiving,” for people who aren’t able to spend time with their families or want to show appreciation for their friends.
Foods that are staples at Thanksgiving feasts are usually turkey, corn, greens, sweet potatoes, and cranberries. In other words, the Thanksgiving feast of today tends to mimic the harvests and bounties that were available when the colonists first emigrated to the Americas. Many cultures that celebrate Thanksgiving in the States today sometimes adopt their national dishes to the feast, or introduce other dishes, to create a fusion-feast, but turkey always remains as the main dish! This is because the turkey is the United States’ national bird, and even has some presidential history.
If you’re hosting a Thanksgiving feast, some traditional dishes to include are:
- Roasted turkey.
- Grilled or steamed corn on the cob.
- Sweet potato pie.
- Green beans.
- Cranberry sauce.
- Mac n’ cheese.
Check out the Parade
One of the more popular Thanksgiving events is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Held in New York every year, the parade is also broadcasted on television for those who can’t make it or don’t want to brave the colder weather. The parade is usually filled with floats, performances by bands and dancers, and of course, the balloons. While some characters, like Snoopy, are a mainstay, the parade usually introduces a new balloon based on popular characters every few years. The parade starts on the Upper West Side and ends on 34th Street by Macy’s on Herald Square.
In addition to the parade, there’s also a pre-parade event where the balloons are filled with air. This pre-Thanksgiving event has grown in popularity each year, as onlookers can watch the balloons getting pumped with helium the night before and get a sneak peek at which balloons will be gracing the New York skies on Thanksgiving morning.
Thanksgiving Gifts – What to Give
An Act of Service
Thanksgiving is centered around gratitude and appreciation, usually in the form of spending time with loved ones or doing something thoughtful. Traditional gift-giving isn’t really associated with Thanksgiving in the same way that Christmas is. But one way to give back and express gratitude during the Thanksgiving season is to volunteer with a charity organization. Many organizations host soup kitchens or feasts for people who may be homeless around the holiday seasons. So, if you’re unable to host your own Thanksgiving feast this year, you can still practice gratitude by helping out at a local soup kitchen. Helping out can range from setting up and cleaning up, to serving or bringing food to help feed local people in need.
Another way to practice gratitude and to give back is to gift donations. Aside from running soup kitchens, organizations will also host coat donations, food drives, or create “gift baskets” for people in need. You can help by gifting or donating items, collecting donations, or being a part of the team that hands out donations.
Treat Yourself this Thanksgiving
Lastly, it’s possible to give to yourself this Thanksgiving too! Gratitude can be directed towards oneself in the form of self-care or self-appreciation. The perfect opportunity to show you are thankful is by treating yourself to a relaxing day at AIRE Ancient Baths in one of our centers in New York, Chicago, Sevilla, Barcelona, Almeria, Vallromanes. Known for its thermal baths with healing properties, AIRE also offers a variety of Experiences to suit your needs, from calming massages to moisturizing experience or a wine baths experience. AIRE is the perfect center to relax and reflect on the Thanksgiving season and all its tidings.