30 things to do on Thanksgiving instead of shop!

Just say NO shopping on ThanksgivingThanksgiving is supposed to be about appreciating what you already have. Yet major retailers—caring not for Thanksgiving's purpose or their own employees' desires to celebrate it—are opening their stores and counting on customers to not notice and not care.

I'm hoping you do. Because even if you can't make retailers come to their senses—you can take a stand for yourself, your loved ones, workers everywhere, and our national holiday.

All you have to do is make a simple pledge to not shop on this ONE day.

Of course Thanksgiving is a long day and those sales can be extremely enticing. So if you find yourself being drawn by the circulars to 'just one little sale' - here are some ways to stand strong:

  1. Go to a parade
  2. Clean your place or if you're lucky make someone else clean theirs and go visit them
  3. Bake a special family recipe - and show others the secret
  4. Eat turkey, or ham or go vegetarian (if you must)
  5. Eat too much (if you must)
  6. Argue with a family member over anything but politics
  7. Play football (and invite other friends and families to join in)
  8. Watch football (if you must - hubby)
  9. Take a walk in a park or visit a special spot in nature
  10. Catch up on others’ lives
  11. Have as many laughs as possible (you must!)
  12. Ask someone who doesn’t have a place to go to join you
  13. Give thanks! Maybe by praying if that is how you do it. Or share spontaneous gratitudes or write things down on slips of paper. Whatever way works best for you.

At some point in the day put away your political debates, turn off the tv, turn off the sarcasm, stop cooking, in fact stop everything and in a moment of togetherness get serious and be thankful. That is the reason for the day though it can easily get lost if you aren't paying attention.

Follow old traditions or create new ones. Getting antsy about the food getting cold? Consider sharing gratitudes while the meal is happening or just before dessert.

Turn your attention not toward the parts of your family that may be stressful or even dysfunctional, not toward the challenges or hassles or gripes about what isn't going well in your life but to what gives you a smile or a some comfort or joy.

Then clean up the spilled gravy, pile the dishes in the sink or dishwasher hopefully being grateful that you had gravy or a dishwasher or even a sink if you really are missing the point of abundance and carry on.

  1. Rub your belly and complain about how much you should not have eaten
  2. Play cards
  3. Play backgammon or scrabble or some other favorite game
  4. Get out guitars or sit around a piano or play your favorite songs on an Ipod
  5. Sing together or converse
  6. Volunteer for a community meal

And by all means come up with an idea yourself. Try not to be that cranky relative who doesn't help cook or clean up, complains about the turkey being dry, and forgets to appreciate that this is everybody’s holiday. Pss... Cutting back on the drinking might help.

  1. If you need a break - find a quiet spot or get some fresh air
  2. Get to know someone you don't usually talk to
  3. Walk off some of those calories
  4. Watch a family favorite movie (even a martial arts flick - John)
  5. Call someone who may be alone
  6. Take a minute to remember those who are away from family not by choice - those in other cities, those in the military, those who have to work

In today's world we are fortunate the even if people are far away - we have lots of ways to stay connected. It might involve skyping or the phone, it might even involve reading a note or an email. In fact, make someone’s day better by sending a message for them to read on Thanksgiving…

  1. Want to be with people but don't have a place to go? Kindly let people (doing #12) know, join a community meal or volunteer at one
  2. Become a hub for others and create your own celebration
  3. Shopping crazeDon't want to be around people or participate in Thanksgiving? A.) tear :'(   B.) Take the day for some self care - sleep in, exercise, pamper yourself
  4. Do odd chores: clean out your closet, mend some socks, wash your car - if you are lucky enough to have one, watch tv, read a book. Just don't go shopping. Respect this holiday for others if not yourself.
  5. Go to bed proud—knowing that you did not get sucked in by the shiny lights and flashy prices on stuff you probably don't need anyway. And that you helped in no small way to save Thanksgiving for us all. - Thank you!

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The years go by faster than you think. This is the only Thanksgiving you are going to have in 2013! So please - make it a good one! Want to do more? Join us on facebook at Save Thanksgiving Pledge

Annie Zirkel is a Positive Relationship Consultant, Presenter and Author who has a passion for gratitude. Between her 30 Days of Gratitude Project and her book, You'll Thank Me Later: A Guide to Raising Grateful Children (& Why That Matters), she admits that she gets a little crazy about protecting this holiday.