For those who have journeyed out of state for their college education, journeying home for Thanksgiving may not fit into the budget. Not to worry, you can find many other ways to celebrate while being on campus. From throwing together a Friendsgiving potluck to enjoying movie popcorn and a future Oscar nominee on the silver screen, you can make this Thanksgiving one of the best. Take advantage of the moment to make some more college memories and maybe take the time to FaceTime your family to still feel a part of the celebration.
Check out these 10 ways to celebrate Thanksgiving when you find yourself stuck on campus.
1. Host a full-on Friendsgiving Feast
Preheat the oven, arrange a potluck and get ready to dig in by organizing a full on Thanksgiving feast with all of your fellow friends that can’t justify a plane ticket home for the holiday. Chow down on stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie with your friends and turn it into a new holiday tradition. “I usually try to do a Friendsgiving every year to get together with my friends one last time before break,” University of Denver senior Sydney Kapp said. “It is a great time to celebrate with them over a college affordable Thanksgiving dinner.” Even cooking in a dorm room kitchen, it’s the thought that counts and Friendsgiving will surely become an iconic college memory.
2. Skip cooking and go out (or call in)
Not looking to put on a chef’s hat? Skip cleaning tons of dishes and treat yourself to a fancy dinner instead. Take a note from Grandma’s dinner table rules by having no phones at the table for a truly special Friendsgiving night out. Not wanting to leave the couch? Order in and let binge-watching and take-out become your new idea of a perfect thanksgiving. “We made a Facebook page for everyone to sign up for what to bring but since no one wants to cook we just all bring a delicious take-out dish,’ said University of Oklahoma senior Dallas Doolin. Have a Friendsgiving filled with an array of take-out food and good times.
Although you may consider Thanksgiving a day for feasting, you can also spend the day giving back to your community. Want to get a head start? Organize a turkey drive or drop one off at a local drive to ensure that every family can gather around a colorful, warm and delicious table. As Thanksgiving day usually pulls in high numbers of volunteers, make sure to register with a local organization beforehand. Helping to serve a meal at a local shelter or delivering meals to those who have to work rather than celebrate with their families, you can find a way to contribute and make someone’s Thanksgiving day truly special.
4. Get a head start on Christmas movies
Ready to trade in talk of turkey for Michael Buble’s Christmas album ? Get a jump-start on the Christmas season by binge-ing all the best movies. Netflix has already begun streaming some classics such as Love Actually and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Pop some cookies in the oven,grab some eggnog and jump into the Christmas spirit!
5. Throw a football watch party
Eager to watch the big football game? Do something new this Thanksgiving and put out some chips and dip and invite the gang to cheer on your favorite team. Even if you don’t have a TV and have to stream the game on your laptop, making an effort to bring everyone together will make even a dorm room feel like home.
6. Run in a Turkey Trot
Skip the stuffing and get jogging. Sign up for a Turkey Trot to celebrate Thanksgiving by running (or walking) in a fun run. Get your Thanksgiving day started off right with exercise in a fun setting and feel a part of your community. Plus, the proceeds often go to a good cause so get registered for a trot near you. You can definitely treat yourself to two slices after a morning Turkey Trot.
7. Go home to a friend’s house
Flights around Thanksgiving time are crazy expensive and don’t always fit into a college budget. But if you have made a new bestie at school who lives closer to campus, consider going home with them for Thanksgiving. Or maybe you have a new romantic spark who lives nearby just in time for the holidays. Brave the nerve-wracking experience of meeting the parents for the chance to dive in on some good ole pumpkin pie. Experience another families’ holiday traditions and don’t miss out on getting a home cooked meal.
8. Take a spontaneous road trip
A few days off from school and nothing to do? This sounds like the perfect road trip opportunity. Grab a fellow friend staying on campus for the holiday, pack some snacks and hit the open road. Find somewhere fun to explore or don’t travel too far and have a “staycation.” With a good friend and a great playlist, it doesn’t matter the destination as long as you take advantage of a break from class and have an adventure.
9. Get Outside
Celebrate Thanksgiving by appreciating your gratitude for mother nature. Go on a hike with some friends to get some exercise while enjoying the simple pleasure of being outside. Or just get outside on campus and arrange a game of tag football or frisbee. After all, Thanksgiving is about having gratitude for the people around you and what better way to spend Thanksgiving than to relax and enjoying the beauty around us? Want to take your gratitude to the next level? Find a local cleanup event so that you can help to keep your environment beautiful.
10. Catch up on watching the Oscar noms
Take yourself to the movies to see one (or a few) of the Oscar–buzz worthy films this year. Finally understand all the hype about A Star is Born, get into the groove with Bohemian Rhapsody or judge as to whether First Man is truly out of this world. “One of my favorite things about the holiday season are all the great movies that come out,” University of Denver senior Alexis Mattarella said. “I make sure to go see a movie or two over Thanksgiving break rather than lining up for Black Friday.” You can either grab a friend or head solo to the movies which makes it the perfect opportunity for when you find yourself in empty dorms and need to get off campus.