I know some of us are excited about eating from a table full of goodies – stuffing, macaroni and cheese, cornbread, collard green, ham, turkey, and pie – just to name a few, haha. Or maybe you love Thanksgiving because the day is full of family, laughter, and making memories, oh and football (As a fantasy football junkie, my eyes are glued to the screen).
Or perhaps Thanksgiving is a holiday that either fills you with anxiety (no one wants to discuss North Korea while buttering the cornbread), or due to logistics, you unfortunately can’t fly or drive to wherever you call home. There are many reasons why you may not want, or be able to, enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with your family or friends, and that’s where I come in. You may be surprised by how many options you have, especially in recent years as more places try to cater to Thanksgiving expatriates ← not sure if that is actually a coined term, but just roll with me. So here’s your list, and include me in your list of thanks as your nephew begins to throw pieces of macaroni in your hair 😉
1)Park City, Utah – this ski resort city is home to many hotels that cater to Thanksgiving activities, so not only will you not miss some of your own holiday traditions, like playing flag football or eating too much at many of the buffets offered by the regional hotels, but you may adopt new activities. One example is Montage Deer Valley, which hosts an annual Turkey Shoot where you can learn archery! They also have Christmas events available immediately after Thanksgiving, such as cookie decorating and a Christmas tree lighting – which is an awesome way to get into the Christmas spirit, rather than waiting in line at one of the big box stores for that 55 inch tv you had your eyes on. Oh, and of course there’s awesome skiing here too – which should go without saying, but since this is a blog, I kinda have to say it.
2)Europe – I can’t limit this to just Germany or Paris, etc. Sure, they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving across the pond, but maybe you’re trying to avoid the carbs this year. If that is the case, you can fly/stay in Europe for really affordable prices. The high season for many European countries are during the summer or in December when the Christmas markets attract tons (and tons) of visitors. Our Thanksgiving holiday happens to fall on that shoulder period right before the hordes of Christmas visitors flock to the Christmas markets, especially popular in Germany, so that means you’ll be with the locals. Many of the Christmas markets open between the 2nd and 3rd week in November. If you can survive the cold weather (prepare for 30 – 40 degrees), then you’ll be able to stroll along some Christmas markets dating back centuries, picking up amazing Christmas ornaments along the way, drink great-tasting wine, and eat ridiculously tasty pastries and other local faves, among local visitors. And did I mention hotels and flights are amongst the least expensive this time of year (this does not extend to Dec, so your window of opportunity is short)? The Christmas Fair in Budapest certainly rivals any of the Black Friday plans you have…What are you waiting for?? Go…
3)Hawaii – maybe you wish to stay warm, and be an ocean away from anyone causing you anxiety (bosses, inlaws, certain political figures)…if so, this may be the destination for you! Many Hawaiian hotels offer locally themed Thanksgiving buffets (Hawaii is a state afterall, so they celebrate this awesome holiday as well, unlike in Europe). You won’t likely find cornbread and stuffing here, but rather local faves along the lines of pork dishes, local fish specialties, and Asian-inspired dishes like ramen bowls, and spring rolls. Then you can sit back and enjoy all that Hawaii has to offer without the horrible crowds often found during the summer or winter months. Whether you try surfing, taking a hike through a rainforest, or up a volcano, or just wish to lounge on a beach, this possible Thanksgiving destination will set you in an awesome mood just in time for the cold(er) weather December brings.
4)New Orleans – this city gets a special shout out because as with everything else, New Orleans does everything differently – they are afterall, the mastermind behind turdunken (turkey stuffed with chicken and duck). Sure, they also serve turkey with rice and gravy, but its done cajun style along with po boys, crawfish specialities, and fried turkey, which is a popular staple. You can also make your way to the Bayou Classic Thanksgiving Day Parade, which ends at the French Market, where Santa sits waiting take family pictures! The next day, venture out to City Park for the Celebration at the Oaks, where there are literally tons of light displays, mostly on, you guessed it, oak trees, which will set your mood just right for Christmas!
5)Take a cruise – ya’ll know I love cruising, so this recommendation shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Thanksgiving has, for some, become a day where you are perfectly ok with being as gluttonous as possible – so can you imagine being on a cruise which specializes in offering too much food on a normal day at sea?? All cruises that offer a Thanksgiving day sailing includes both buffet and dining room menus that feature turkey, with all the usual accompaniments. Also, many cruise companies know how important American football is to the tradition of Thanksgiving, so many set up large screens so you can watch the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys play their opponent. Further, some of the ports of call that are used to passengers on Thanksgiving weekend have developed their own version of Black Friday or Viernes Negro, with sales that rival those state side. Sure, many of the ports of call don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but many do partake in Christmas activities, which start around Thanksgiving weekend. Again, in some ways its the best of both worlds, warm weather and tropical drinks along with turkey, and new friends.
Ultimately, there’s nothing like spending Thanksgiving with your family or close friends. Sure, I love the food (I think I’ve made that apparent already), but nothing is quite like the feeling of being surrounded by your loved ones, laughing, and taking part in traditions that are time cherished. However, that’s not always an option, for many of the reasons I noted above, and if that is the case, you should definitely check out the options I provided. Regardless of where you find yourself on Thursday, I want to wish each and every one of you an amazingly happy and healthy Thanksgiving!!