As someone who is incredibly sentimental and loves reflecting on memories, Thanksgiving is always my favorite holiday every year. I have so many favorite traditions that, like everything else, aren’t going to happen the way they normally do this year. It’s been difficult to get myself in the Thanksgiving spirit lately, but here are some ways I’m trying to make it feel normal.
- Don’t cancel, just replace
I know, I know… “Cancel Thanksgiving” sounds like the worst thing in the world right now. But for many families, they have made the tough decision to cancel their in person festivities to keep everyone safe. Regardless of the decision you and your family made, you don’t have to cancel everything. Even if you’re not meeting in person, are there other ways you can come together? Personally, I am setting up a Zoom call with my family on Thanksgiving, after we’ve all eaten our own Turkeys in our own homes, to celebrate like we normally do. One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is when my entire family gets together and plays all sorts of games! I recently tried out a few from this blog post and I highly recommend it. I am looking forward to some sense of normalcy, even if we’re all in different places!
- Find new traditions
With everything being virtual, I think this opportunity gives us a chance to develop new traditions and get out of any ruts we might have been in previously. Is there a tradition that you absolutely dread every year? Or is there something you have been wanting to try but haven’t had the time in previous years? What better opportunity to try new things than now! And who knows, you might just find a new favorite tradition.
- Maintain old traditions
While I am all for new traditions, I am the last person who would ever ditch old traditions. I am a sucker for routine and I love doing the same things every year. One of my favorite traditions is Black Friday Shopping. My aunts, grandma, and cousins all wake up at the crack of dawn (and sometimes before) to score some deals. On our way to the first store of the day, our first stop is always a McDonalds (we need coffee!), and we always buy the order of the person behind us. We will sit in the parking lot until someone else pulls in if we have to! So this year, I am going to drive to my nearest McDonalds, mask up, go through the drive through, and buy the order of the person behind me. In recent years I have also bought some Starbucks gift cards and handed them out to retail employees just to say thank you. Working with the Black Friday crowd is difficult and always brings out the ugly side of Thanksgiving- it feels like some people’s gratitude only lasts one day. So if I can give a small gesture to a retail employee to show my gratitude, I’ll gladly do that. While I am not going Black Friday shopping this year, I am going to donate to a few random people on this Virtual Tip Jar site. You can filter by location and establishment. With the understanding that this year will be different, I am still looking forward to continuing traditions I enjoy doing every year.
- Give to others
Nothing gets me more in the Holiday Spirit quite like giving back to others. At our Preferred Wealth Advisor’s office, we are partnering with Reach Dane and their Giving Tree program again this year. Clients can shop (in person or online) for gifts to donate to local children who might not otherwise receive a holiday gift. Stop by the office or call in for more details if you’d like to donate (donations are due December 4th)! Whether you participate in PWA’s program or another one, there are plenty of options out there to participate in. Do some research about what’s available in your community and you’d be surprised at how many opportunities for service there are this time of year.
- Support Small Businesses
Supporting small businesses is more important than ever. Many rely heavily on holiday spending and the effects might be devastating if we ignore them this year. Before purchasing something on Amazon, can you find a local company that might have a similar product? Supporting small businesses also doesn’t always require spending money. Simply liking their Facebook page and sharing to your own network can help increase the visibility for that company immensely. Give them a review online or write your own social media post about them. Small businesses are the backbone of our communities and this time of year we need to do our part to support them.
I know this holiday will be different, but hasn’t everything been different all year?? Instead of complaining (which I have done many times), let’s embrace the changes and do our best to get into the Thanksgiving Spirit. I sure am thankful for all of you and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!