Thanksgiving 2012: Top 9 Fun Things to Do With Your Family Besides Eat

As we near the Thanksgiving holiday, those who are fortunate enough will be able to enjoy this holiday with friends and family. To get you started on your Thanksgiving holiday, here are nine things you can do to get you in the holiday spirit.

1) Volunteer at your local food pantry.

Volunteers are appreciated to serve meals to needy families, especially in areas hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy. Check with your local food bank since this is also a holiday where there is often an abundance of volunteers.

2) Adopt a turkey.

For readers who are vegans or simply want to save animals, rather than eating a turkey for the holidays, why not think about adopting one at a farm sanctuary? Why should Cobbler and Gobbler be the only two turkeys fortunate enough to be 'pardoned' by President Obama in 2012?  For $30, you can sponsor a turkey to live at one of three shelters at Farm Sanctuary.

3) Visit a casino.

For some ethnic groups, such as Chinese immigrants, Thanksgiving often entails one thing: gambling at casinos. For decades, Chinese workers headed to the casino on their one day off, and on big holidays such as Thanksgiving, casinos would often shower their Asian clientele with offers of a Thanksgiving dinner and other goodies. Similarly, these casinos would invite Chinese pop singers just for the holidays. Fun for the whole family!

4) Participate in the 29-Day Giving Challenge.


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Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for what we have. In light of natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy, it reminds us that our material possessions are just an extension of who we are. If you’d like to benefit your community and also free your closets, you can sign up for the 29-Day Giving Challenge over here. The challenge entails giving one item away a day for 29 days. However, if you're not too keen on this idea, I refer you to item 10 on this list.

5) Watch some Thanksgiving-themed TV.

Kids and adults of all ages can enjoy watching the balloon parades on Thanksgiving, and my personal favorite, is the Peanuts rendition of Thanksgiving.

6) Put together a care package for American soldiers.

Regardless of your personal thoughts on the position of U.S. intervention in addressing international conflicts, Thanksgiving is a great time to put together a care package for soldiers who are often away from their families. Anysoldier.com joins together soldiers and those who want to help purchase much needed goods and supplies. Doing so can boost the morale of soldiers and contribute a part of ourselves to those in the armed forces.

7) Do the turkey trot.

Who doesn’t want to participate in a Thanksgiving foot-race?  Having never seen heard of this event before, I had to look this up. It honestly sounds like a lot of fun for kids and seems like a good way to benefit one's community. Check your local community center for times and registration.

8) Honor Thanksgivings past with a Native American feast.

While we may never come to terms as a nation over how the systematic decimation of Native Americans could be avoided, several sincere attempts to bridge the conflicted histories between Native Americans and descendants of the colonials have emerged. For instance, Garvies Point Museum in Glen Cove, NY is commemorating Thanksgiving with Native-American fused activities to get kids to take an appreciation towards their culture. 

9) Go shopping on Black Friday.

As fellow PolicyMic’er Lilly O’Donnell notes in her article, one big reason for celebrating Thanksgiving is Black Friday. Whether you are going to make the trek to the stores at the ungodly pre-dawn hours to get an early start on your Christmas shopping, or you’ll be online and dressed in your pajamas, be sure to take advantage of the good deals that I'm sure are going to be hard to resist.