The season of pumpkin spice lattes, oversized sweaters, and taking too many pictures of colored trees is upon us. As Thanksgiving is right around the corner, it’s time to start talking about what to do for the special holiday.
In this article, we’ll give creative ideas for how to celebrate Thanksgiving in style. But first, let’s talk about what happens the night before Thanksgiving that everyone has been getting excited about.
What is drinksgiving?
Also known as Blackout Wednesday or Black Wednesday, this holiday takes place the day before Thanksgiving every year. It’s the epitome of a homecoming celebration and marks the first drinking weekend to kick off the holiday season.
The purpose of drinksgiving is for old friends to come together and catch up with each other before spending the next day with their families. It’s a great excuse to see familiar faces after being apart due to life post-high school– as many participants of this celebration are coming home from college. Thus, this holiday packs local bars with groups of friends who are eager to let their hair down and see what everyone has been up to. Because of how popular this pre-Thanksgiving celebration has become over the past decade, it now rivals New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day in terms of how many drinks bars sell that night.
What’s the appeal of this boozy holiday?
Nobody’s family is perfect. So, holidays can be stressful as everyone has to put up with at least some amount of family drama, such as a nosy aunt or that one cousin who always gets way too drunk and needs a ride home.
But, drinksgiving presents an opportunity to unwind before facing a, perhaps, not-so-relaxing family gathering the next day. It’s the perfect night to hang out with friends and loosen up after being caught up with school or work for so long. Not only is it fun to engage in a blast from the past, but it’s also exciting to show everyone from your childhood or high school what you’re up to and how things are going for you now.
Breaking the mold
The day after drinksgiving doesn’t have to be a typical Thanksgiving celebration where you and your relatives stuff your faces with mashed potatoes and gravy. There’s no right or wrong way to honor the day. Let’s face it, overindulging in turkey and stuffing doesn’t mean you’re more thankful than others. So, you can celebrate any way you want! The most important thing is that you spend time with people you care about and take a moment to feel grateful for everything you have.
It might be tough to think about a non-traditional Thanksgiving since it’s easy to get locked into a routine or family tradition. Likewise, holiday movies and media posts depict Thanksgiving as the stereotypical celebration we’ve all come to know— where we wear flannel and jean jackets and eat pumpkin pie.
If you want to spice things up this year and make your Thanksgiving more unique, here are a few ideas to help you think outside of the box.
Have a cocktail hour
If you didn’t have one too many shots on drinksgiving, perhaps you’d want to have some friends or family over for Thanksgiving cocktails the next day? Plus, focusing on drinks instead of copious amounts of food won’t leave you bloated and tired. Furthermore, most people don’t have to work on Friday, so you’ll have freedom to unwind while enjoying seasonal spirits.
Here’s a list of autumn-inspired beverages to try on Thanksgiving day.
- Spiked apple cider. Jerry Sailor Spiced Rum pairs well with apple cider because of its cinnamon notes and subtle hints of toffee.
- Pumpkin pie martini. Use vanilla vodka and add a tablespoon or two of pumpkin puree. Sprinkle it with a dash of cinnamon for the optimal autumn day drink.
- Honey-roasted pear bubbly. This drink involves pear puree, cinnamon, honey, cloves, nutmeg, and vanilla. Simply mix it with your favorite champagne or sparkling white.
- Apple cranberry Moscow mule. A classic with a twist! This festive libation requires sparkling apple juice, ginger beer, cranberry juice, and vodka. Bonus points for adding a couple of sliced apples and a drizzle of caramel on top!
For guests who don’t want to partake in drinking cocktails, you can easily make all of these drinks spirit-free. Autumn mocktails are just as delicious and can be enjoyed by friends and family of all ages.
Expand your palette
After a night of drinksgiving, you might feel like eating some yummy comfort food. But who says it has to be the same old turkey and cranberry sauce you have every year? The great thing about unique Thanksgiving traditions is that your food options aren’t confined by the stereotypical Thanksgiving box. You can say goodbye to eating your Aunt Karen’s dry stuffing that she brings every year, and tell her to bring fettuccine alfredo this time!
Try a different genre of food this year like Mexican, Italian, Japanese, Greek– whatever makes your mouth water. Taco night is always a crowd favorite, and it’s easy to make. Or, you could try doing a make-your-own pizza night where everyone can pitch in and get creative with toppings.
Make it a potluck
A Thanksgiving potluck is perfect if you’re going to be having a lot of food. After celebrating drinksgiving, you might not have the energy to whip up six different dishes. So, ask your friends and family to pitch in by bringing a dish of their own. Just make sure that you know ahead of time who’s bringing what, so you don’t end up with multiple plates of Mac & Cheese!
A potluck is also an easy clean-up job since you’re only responsible for one dish. So, even if you’re hosting the holiday, you won’t have to clean a boatload of plates when everyone goes home.
Break a sweat
Exercising might be the last thing you want to do after a drinksgiving night with your old pals. But, many towns have yearly Turkey Trot races that raise money for charities. Thus, you can burn some calories and help raise funds for a good cause at the same time!
These races typically happen on the morning of Thanksgiving and they’re not super competitive events. So, you can walk the Turkey Trot with your family or friends while sipping on hot apple cider to keep you warm.
Do a good deed
If you want to do good this season but don’t feel like participating in a Turkey Trot, a great Thanksgiving party idea is to get family or friends together and volunteer at a local charity. You could serve breakfast at your local soup kitchen or donate clothes and toys to local shelters. Simply offering to lend a helping hand to a neighbor is also a good way to show kindness and express gratitude on this holiday.
Plan a Friendsgiving
Some years, you may not be in the same city, state, or even country as your family. Or, maybe you just don’t feel like celebrating with your family. So, you might opt to keep the drinksgiving festivities going and plan a Friendsgiving party.
A Friendsgiving is a more laid-back version of Thanksgiving that lets you spend time with your “chosen family” by eating good food, playing games, and doing whatever else you please!
Create a Thanksgiving scavenger hunt
Many Thanksgiving scavenger hunt ideas are perfect if you have little kiddos running around on this day. This game is a great distraction for kids as they’ll be happily busy searching for clues for the better part of the celebration.
Pro-tip: Make each clue a Thanksgiving scavenger hunt riddle. This way, you tie in a theme while also making the game last longer since it’ll take the kids a minute to crack each riddle.
The Thanksgiving you’ve always wanted
Whether you engage in drinksgiving or not this year, you should be able to celebrate the next day however you want. Even if your family is insistent on having a traditional holiday, you can still have a unique celebration the weekend before or after. The most important thing is that you’re with people you love and enjoy the day of giving thanks.