• Kristen Aguilar

10 Ways to Ace Your Thanksgiving Break

Updated: Nov 19, 2019

If you are looking for some ways to make the most of your Thanksgiving Break this year, we’ve got you covered.

Here are some life hacks you can use to ace your Thanksgiving break.

I have used these both in and out of college and I can attest they are so much better than sitting around in a food coma for days.

So if you are looking for something to do or you just want to remain productive here are 10 easy ways to make the most of your Thanksgiving Break.

Switch up your gear.

It’s time to break out the fleece, jackets and fuzzy boots.

You might even throw in some deep colored plaid while you are at it too.

If you left home for college this semester, chances are you went into August with Summer clothes.

Thanksgiving break is a great time to switch out your short sleeve go-tos for longer sleeves, fall colors, hoodies and maybe even a cozy blanket or two.

This is also a great time to thin out your dorm closet or living space.

Thanksgiving break can come right on the heels of finals week and then shortly after that comes Christmas break.

Thin out your closet and offload some items now by taking them home with you for Thanksgiving.

It can save you some major time later on when you go on Christmas break.

Remember your family.

It’s easy to prioritize your friends, their families and their hangout events.

If you look for it, there is always an event to go to.

Especially during the holidays.

Remember those that diapered your bacon, gave you free room and board as a kid, those who mentored you, taught you, corrected you when you were out of line and those who loved you even before you reached any measure of success.

Prioritize time with them this holiday season.

In my work I have run into a lot of broken homes and broken family relationships over the years, both in healthcare and in the higher education field.

So when I say this let me be clear: this does not mean if you have a family member who is an addict or abusive or who cannot be trusted (or who is married to someone who is this person) that you need to feel obligated to go down to their doorstep and hold their hand while pots and pans fly by your head.

Stay safe and try not to intentionally put yourself in unsafe situations.

It does mean, however, you should remember your kin and your family this holiday season.

Communicate to them with your actions and not just with your words that you value time with them much more than time with the friends you just recently met.

Grab an apron.

You don’t have to be an epic chef to grab an apron and pitch in.

Boil water, chop vegetables or ask to shadow someone in the family who cooks good food.

Fellas, helping in the kitchen can be incredibly attractive to a bae so don’t be shy about this one.

If they decline, you can offer to clean the dishes up after the meal.

[Fair warning though, if you clean up a mountain of dishes after you eat without having to be asked they may look at you like you are the most attractive bae on earth.]

If your family doesn’t cook in favor of going out to eat for Thanksgiving, snatch up the chance to help a friend with their homemade holiday meal.

Or at the very least, bake or cook something edible and take it to the elderly neighbor down the street.

Use this time to exercise your cooking skills and to flex your culinary muscles. They come in handy later.

Watch a Christmas movie.

No, it’s not too early.

Watching one now can really get you in the holiday mood.

Settle in, prop your feet up and relax.

Grab a little hot cocoa or some popcorn if that’s your thing.

For maximum effectiveness, unplug from the distractions and put down your phone to amp up the relaxing vibes.

Notice I said “a Christmas movie” not 15 of them in a row.

No need to binge.

Remember all good things you can experience in this life need a level of balance and moderation.

Need a recommendation?

You can’t go wrong with the classic “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

If you haven’t seen it, this movie speaks to human significance, purpose and value despite the film crew not having access to all the modern conveniences and technology that propels our culture today.

In other words, it was made in 1949 so it wasn’t super flashy.

Best part?

You can choose to watch it in color (remastered) or in black and white (original production).

Get busy by giving back.

Community events around Thanksgiving and Christmas are on fleek when epic humans just like you choose to help out.

From Fall Fests to Thanksgiving meal giveaways or Christmas caroling and present wrapping, for-profit companies and non-profit organizations and churches all pitch in to help widows, orphans, the homeless and the less fortunate around the holidays.

Why not get off your duff and go help someone who cannot help themselves?

Call it the right thing to do, call it good karma, call it humanitarian…call it whatever positive phrase you want…

It makes a difference in the lives of others.

Be intentional about your $.

Black Friday sales try to tempt both the avid shopper and Christmas gift seeker into shifting from “I am so grateful this Thanksgiving” to “I need to buy that right now” all in the same day.

Once Thanksgiving Day gets here, all the businesses that have spent $$$ marketing all month want to see you darken their stores or fill their online shopping carts.

This is not a bad thing when their sales help provide for the livelihoods of families literally all over the world.

Nevertheless, many of these same businesses plan for you to either stay up late or get up early just to beat the next person out of a Christmas gift for mom, dad or even bae.

Promises of deep discounts can leave you spending more than you intended.

Make a plan and set a personal budget before you make the first purchase.

Your wallet will thank you.

Be kind and yes, even generous.

There is no reason to be short-tempered or rude or hostile with people this holiday season.

Avoid intentionally cutting people off in traffic, avoid rushing past the elderly just because you are in a hurry, and avoid being rude online whenever possible.

Instead, be generous with your time, talent and treasure.

You will one day be the person in traffic others want to pass.

And if you keep breathing and are blessed enough to see it, older age will visit you too.

Being rude online if you wouldn’t say it to their face is cowardly and nevertheless particularly horrid if you would just as easily choose to say it out loud.

Be kind and be generous, for these are the kinds of people that change the world.

Schedule some time for homework and for Finals Week prep.

Your professors don’t get amnesia over Thanksgiving.

Food comas, maybe.

Amensia? Not hardly.

Assignment due dates, papers you have known about all semester, finals that cover multiple chapters, projects that have due dates and more can all factor into those final weeks in the semester.

If you are behind in anything, now is the time to catch up.

Instead of giving in to the temptation to feel sorry for yourself, roll your sleeves up and get to work.

You signed up for the the college courses and the assignments, papers and exams have not been hidden from you.

Finish strong by putting in the effort.

Your intentional investment in preparation for Finals Week is good practice for your work ethic, your family responsibilities (both present and future) and even future classes you take.

As my mentor likes to put it “If you are faithful with little, you can remain faithful with a whole lot more.”

Remember what you are thankful for.

Life isn’t perfect and neither are families.

But if you can see past the things aren’t so fabulous to the things you can be thankful for, your holiday will be that much sweeter.

Take time to remember what you are thankful for and all the good things that happened this year.

Even if you start with air to breathe and a job to go to…it’s a start.

Choose the childlike wonder.

Notice I said childlike wonder (which is completely different from acting like a child).

Thanksgiving slips into Christmas which slips into the New Year.

In the blink of an eye all the Christmas carols die out, lights get put away and trees get pulled down.

Yards lose their holiday cheer, people go back to work and memories get further and further away from present day.

All the build-up, retail hype and anticipation for vacation and holiday melts away and you get back to business.

Instead of just going through the motions...take a moment to remember what Christmas was like as a kid.

Was it fun? Was there anticipation? Do you remember a family tradition?

I dare you to try childlike wonder in the midst of all the hustle, bustle and responsibilities.

Smile. Dance around the kitchen.

Sing at the top of your lungs or get excited about making memories.

Find the simple joys.

How you approach the holiday is a voluntary choice that no one can make it for you.

If you are looking to make the most of your Thanksgiving Break this year, these 10 hacks can help you have a totally satisfying holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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