Guest post by Christine Lindstrom of Lindstroms on the Road.
It’s time once again for Thanksgiving in America. (The Canadians have already had theirs.) In true American fashion, each year we choose to show how thankful we are for the blessings of the year by attempting to consume them all in a single meal. (Just joking… sort of.)
Thanksgiving conjures images of a large extended family gathered around a table filled with turkey, stuffing, and platters of other delicious and festive foods. Young and old are dressed in their Sunday best and trying hard to save room for pumpkin pie. It’s like a Norman Rockwell painting.
But what do you do when you live in an RV the size of the dining table in that painting? How can families on the road celebrate this iconic American holiday? Chances are, the reality will be far from the painting, but a memorable Thanksgiving celebration is possible wherever the road takes you.
Friendships formed on the road grow fast and deep. We have found a community of other families on the road that have become like family to us, so it feels natural to celebrate family-focused holidays, like Thanksgiving, together. We first found our “tribe” on Thanksgiving, when we didn’t want to celebrate alone. Through social media, we found a nearby group of families sharing Thanksgiving dinner that invited us to join them. We ended up spending the next three months together.
There are several networks to explore if you’re looking to connect with other families this Christmas. Fulltime Families is a great place to start!
Join a Campground Potluck
Many campgrounds organize a Thanksgiving potluck dinner on site somewhere. Talk to your campground hosts to see if yours is one of them. Usually registration is required and there are often deadlines to sign up so don’t wait until the last minute to find out.
This is a great chance to get to know your neighbors and have a multigenerational celebration. Retirees who are missing their far-away grandchildren are often thrilled when families join them for the holiday. It’s convenient to stay on site and walk. This is also an opportunity to sample traditional Thanksgiving dishes from different regions of the country, where the menu might look different from what we’re used to.
Visit Family or Friends
When your house is on wheels, you can choose to move it to celebrate holidays with extended family or friends that you might not see otherwise. While the November weather might not be optimal for RVs in all parts of the country, it is possible to spend Thanksgiving with loved ones if that is a priority. Find a campground nearby or park your rig in the driveway if possible.
One of the best things about full-time RVing is the freedom to go wherever you choose. Why not use that freedom to gather with family at friends for the holidays?
When we really stop to consider everything we’re thankful for, a great response is to find ways to give back and help others. Consider spending the day volunteering.
Serving meals at a soup kitchen or shelter is a common way to volunteer on Thanksgiving, but in some areas it’s so common that these opportunities are full. There are many other needs and ways to volunteer. Deliver meals through Meals-on-Wheels or a similar local organization. Visit a nursing home or hospital (with permission of course) to help encourage those who are sick or lonely this holiday. Join a “Turkey trot” race to help raise money for a cause that’s near to your heart.
Visit www.volunteermatch.org for help in finding the perfect volunteer opportunity for you and your family on Thanksgiving.
An Educational Celebration
If you are spending the Thanksgiving season teaching your kids about the history of the holiday and early American history in general, you can cap it off with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in the place where (according to tradition) it all happened: Plimoth Plantation. More than just a meal, Thanksgiving dinner at this Plymouth, Massachusetts living history museum involves Pilgrim role players and Native interpreters. The event sells out quickly, so plan ahead to enjoy this unique experience.
You might also enjoy a Thanksgiving reenactment at the Virginia Thanksgiving Festival, hosted by the Berkeley Plantation. This reenactment is held every year on the first Sunday of November at the site where they argue the first English Thanksgiving dinner happened, in 1619, a year before the Mayflower pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. The event features tribal dancing, a parade, and period games, music and crafts.
If these Thanksgiving events are out of reach, remember to take the opportunity to read books about the history of Thanksgiving, both fiction and nonfiction, watch a documentary, or write in a gratitude journal. There are many natural educational opportunities all around us at this time of year!
The day after Thanksgiving, commonly known as “Black Friday,” has become synonymous with big sales and shopping. Instead of asking employees to work all night to open their doors at 4AM, however, some stores are closing their doors altogether and asking their employees to “Opt Outside”.
They are encouraging other Americans to do the same. After a day of feasting, let’s trade retail therapy for nature therapy and get some exercise and fresh air. Spread the word in social media and tag your posts #optoutside.
Have a wonderful holiday celebration, surrounded by loved ones, new and old, doing whatever brings you joy. Happy Thanksgiving!