Thanksgiving weekend is here and, while not near the top of my holiday rankings, it is perhaps the best holiday to fill some free time — especially if you do your Christmas shopping on any day other than Black Friday. After preparing a feast and taking a Thursday afternoon nap, for many of us, a three-day weekend still beckons. Here are a few ideas for how to fill it:
For the easily entertained, go bowling. I already bowl with a buddy of mine about once a month. We average rather pedestrian scores of about 125. But then there are those rounds where one of us rolls a turkey (or three strikes in a row). To say we make a big deal out of it is an understatement. Go roll a turkey at a local bowling alley. I might see you there.
For the overeater, go hiking. I’ll also include myself in this category. My eating habits often fall into having little or no breakfast or lunch and then a giant dinner. On Thanksgiving I don’t eat anything at all save for the marquee meal. I go back for seconds and thirds, adding pounds in one sitting. It’s then a good time to break a sweat if only to stop feeling uncomfortable.
For the amateur critic, go to a movie. As a kid, my family loved heading to the theater during the holidays. When Titanic opened just before Christmas in 1997, we were there. All of us. Front row, because the theater was packed. My mom cried. She also covered my eyes during one scene. Good times all around.
For the competitive, play games. I love playing cards and board games and find far more takers around the holidays. One of the best parts of my grandparents visiting is that they demand playing Hand and Foot every night. I prefer Hearts, which is easy to play and teach to those who don’t know the rules.
For those who don’t have time to read, open a book. This is a weekend when that daunting 1,500-page novel that’s been staring you in the face for five years is ready to be tackled. I often approach books differently based on their size, intimidated to begin a longer read if I only have an hour to spare, worried I won’t finish it. In contrast, I knocked out Stephen King’s epic The Stand over a lazy holiday weekend. Find your biggest book, and start reading.
For the Christmas lover, decorate. This holiday is tops in my rankings, and the sooner Yuletide music starts playing, lights start twinkling and ugly sweater parties fill up my schedule, the better. My childhood home replicated the North Pole soon after the Thanksgiving dishes were dried. Our neighbors once complained that our motion lights made the house look like a casino. Who cares? With Thanksgiving falling so early this year, it provides us with a few extra days to celebrate Christmas.
For the cooped up, take a day trip. In Northwest Montana, we have easy access to incredible road trips. Head to Glacier National Park; drive around Flathead Lake; visit one of our unique towns you haven’t explored in a while. You’re bound to find something new along the way.
For everyone, say thanks. No matter how trying the past year’s been, we all have something or someone to be thankful for. And it’s easy to take that for granted. Surprise someone by telling him or her how appreciated they are. They won’t forget it.