5 Awesome Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Ideas To Make This Year’s Holiday Extra Special

Amazon / A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
Amazon / A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Everyone loves Thanksgiving. Everyone except people who work in retail or firefighters or the guy who has to stay at the nuclear power plant in case there’s a meltdown. I’m not talking about Canadian Thanksgiving, by the way. We here in America call that Columbus Day. I learned that the hard way. I was on the Internet this year and I remember seeing on Twitter, a Canadian saying something like, “Happy Thanksgiving!” and I was like, did I miss it? Did I forget about Thanksgiving? And I went out to the store and wasted all of this money on turkey and cranberries and festive Thanksgiving napkins (which weren’t super easy to find in mid-October).

I love Thanksgiving. But as I get older, every year kind of gets a little bit played out. What I mean is, time is going by, my life is changing, and yet Thanksgivings kind of blend in to each other, one after the other, it’s like I’m stuck in a weird temporal feedback loop. My point here is that, while everyone loves mashed potatoes and stuffing, you need to add some variety to the regular old tradition. It just keeps things interesting. Here are a few ideas to keep Thanksgiving from getting really boring.

1. Breakfast

I love breakfast, which kind of sucks for me on Thanksgiving, because when I wake up in the morning and head down to the kitchen, when I say to my mom, “Hey mom, what’s for breakfast?” she’s always like, “Breakfast? It’s Thanksgiving. I’ve been up cooking this turkey for like three hours now. There’s too much to do, just have a bowl of cereal and try to stay out of my way.” And I’m like, “Cereal? Can I just cook some eggs really quick?” and then she gets pissed and chases me out of the kitchen with a rolling pin.

Wouldn’t it be cool if, instead of Thanksgiving dinner, we had like a huge Thanksgiving breakfast? I guess it could be in addition to Thanksgiving dinner, but I don’t know, two giant meals, that sounds like a lot for my mom to handle. I mean, she should get to enjoy the holiday too, right? Don’t get me wrong, turkey’s fine, it’s tradition, so you have to eat it. But wouldn’t it be awesome if there were a really elaborate waffle station with all sorts of toppings and different flavored syrups?

2. Presents

The stores are already offering ridiculous pre-Christmas sales, so we might as well take advantage of all the savings. I’ve always been kind of bummed out that Thanksgiving totally lacks in the presents department. We’re all taking off from work, we’re all spending it together as a family, we should all be buying and exchanging presents. Because for real, how awesome is Christmas, right? It’s really awesome. And what makes it so awesome? Presents.

Thanksgiving has such potential. Which is why two years ago I bought everyone in my family a Thanksgiving present. I wasn’t looking for anything in return, not right away. I was thinking more long-term, establishing a new Thanksgiving Day precedent. “Merry Thanksgiving!” I told all of my brothers and sisters as they opened sweaters that I picked out online and gift cards to Target and Home Goods. And then last year rolled around, I expected everyone would have naturally thought to themselves, well, Rob bought us all presents last year, we should probably get him something for this year. But nobody got me anything. What the hell, right?

3. Tennis instead of football

Again, it’s not that I have nothing against football. Who am I to go against Turkey Day tradition? If everyone wants to sit around bored out of their minds for a few hours, why would I want to stand in the way of America’s favorite sport? I just thought that, wouldn’t it be nice to change it up a little bit? Instead of football, wouldn’t it be cool to watch a different sport, something like tennis?

That was my idea last year. I settled into the TV room really early and I switched to the Tennis Channel. And then when it was about time for the football game, all of my brothers and uncles came in. “Where’s the remote?” someone asked when I didn’t automatically change channels. “I have it,” I said. And finally someone had to spell it out for me, “OK, well turn on the game.” And I was like, “I’m watching tennis.” Because growing up in my house, if you had the TV, like if you were watching something, then the TV was yours. “Guys, I have the TV, and I’m watching tennis.” I thought people were going to respect the house rules and maybe get used to the idea of some non-traditional Thanksgiving sports programming, but instead, everyone got really bent out of shape until finally one of my cousins twisted my arm behind my back while my brother grabbed the remote from under my leg.

4. Fireworks

At the very least, you should consider buying some fireworks. You don’t have to change anything else, you can still eat your turkey and watch your football. But after dinner, you go outside and you start lighting off a bunch of fireworks. Everyone’s going to get so jealous, that by next year all of your neighbors are going to have their own fireworks. And then the year after that, you’ll have gotten everyone in your neighborhood so crazy trying to out-firework each other, you won’t have to waste the weekend before crossing the state line to visit one of those sketchy fireworks depots. You can just sit back and relax, watching everyone else on the block putting on your own personal fireworks extravaganza.

If you’re worried about getting in trouble, don’t. It’s a well-known fact that the cops aren’t looking to bust anyone’s chops on Thanksgiving. It’s the one day out of the whole year when you can drive as fast as you want without having to worry about getting pulled over. And it’s the same for fireworks. You think any cop is going to bail on Thanksgiving dinner to try and find out who’s lighting fireworks? No way, you’re good.

5. Call up your boss and ask for a raise

This is one of those ideas that’s either going to work, or it’s not going to work. But if your boss is like my boss, he’s probably going to get caught totally off guard if you call his cell phone on Thanksgiving Day and ask for a raise. What kind of a person doesn’t have a soft spot for the holidays? It’s no coincidence that charitable donations generally tend to go up this time of year. Why not get some of those donations for yourself? Trust me, your boss will probably say yes.

And yeah, it’s risky, because you might have one of those hard-ass bosses that gives you one of those, “Are you kidding me? You’re calling me on Thanksgiving to ask for a raise?” types of responses. If he gets hostile, don’t press any further, because you’re probably not going to get a raise. And you might have to do some damage control, answer a bunch of follow-up questions, like, “How dare you call me on Thanksgiving with this?” In that case, make up a story about how your whole family was lost at sea decades ago, and ever since you’ve never celebrated Thanksgiving, and so you forgot how big of a deal it was. Your boss is absolutely going to buy it. He’s probably even going to invite you over to spend the day with his family, which would be weird, because in this situation, you’d have to cancel on your own family. But if it gets to this point, just go, all right, you’re in too deep and your boss is unlikely to take no for an answer. TC mark

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