by COLLEEN LAKE '23
As students struggle with the stress of fall sports and schoolwork, Thanksgiving break is the perfect opportunity to relax and spend time with family and friends. Last year, most Thanksgiving traditions and activities were halted due to COVID, so this season provides the perfect chance to make up for lost time. Whether staying within the comfort of your own home or visiting distant family members, I’ve picked out a few of my favorite activities!
If you are in town and hoping to hang out with friends on the days leading up to Thanksgiving, one of my favorite activities is to plan a “friendsgiving” one of the evenings over break. This is a time for everyone to bring their favorite foods (or go out to brunch if you do not like to cook), and relax away from school. When considering how to spend time with friends over Thanksgiving break, ice skating is another perfect opportunity to begin to get in the winter spirit. Locally, Fountain Square and Summit Park are two of my favorite places to skate, especially since they are surrounded by restaurants to eat at when you need a break from the cold! Fountain Square’s rink is open from November 1 to February 22, and offers ice skating at $10 for 90 minutes of skating or $15 for skating with ice bumper cars. If residing near Blue Ash, the skating rink at Summit Park opens on November 13 with $7 for three hour skate sessions.
For those hoping to spend some time outdoors, turkey trots are another fun activity offered on Thanksgiving day. Even for those who do not like to run long distances such as myself, turkey trots can become a fun family tradition. Most local communities offer various length Thanksgiving runs and walks which offer a chance to enjoy the fall weather before indulging in the evening’s festivities! In Cincinnati, the Western and Southern Thanksgiving Day 10k (http://thanksgivingdayrace.com/) and the Cincinnati Hungry Turkey 5k and Half Marathon (https://ohioruns.com/cincinnatihungryturkeyrun ) on Saturday the 27th are two races which encourage participants of all ages and experiences.
Of course, one of the most important parts of the holiday is Thanksgiving dinner itself. When cooking Thanksgiving dinner, some of my favorite staples alongside turkey include mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and stuffing. However, I would recommend thinking outside the box and looking for new dishes such as a turducken (chicken stuffed into duck) or a sweet potato marshmallow casserole! When spending time with your family on Thanksgiving, try to look towards continuing or forming new traditions. Take the time this year to try a new dish, watch a movie, or go to a park with your family on Thanksgiving day. One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions involves cooking a chocolate oreo pie (https://www.thebakingchocolatess.com/easy-dreamy-oreo-chocolate-cream-pie/) and watching a Christmas movie after finishing dinner.
Finally, for many Black Friday shopping is the highlight of Thanksgiving break. I always use Black Friday and Cyber Monday as my chance to start buying Christmas gifts for my family members and friends. If you are hoping to shop in person make sure to rise early to beat the crowds, or check your favorite stores online to find some great bargains. When searching for friends, sites such as Urban Outfitters and Etsy have a wide variety of items ranging including clothing, home decor, and jewelry. Additionally, a few of my favorite gift ideas to shop for on Black Friday include record players, weighted blankets, and handbags. All your favorite stores will have great deals so make sure to look to add to your Christmas list or even find a dress for the winter dance.
As a whole, Thanksgiving break provides the chance to enjoy quality time with family and friends while transitioning into the Christmas holiday spirit. Try to expand your comfort zone this year and participate in a new activity to make this Thanksgiving extra special!