20 Things to Do on Thanksgiving That Don't (Entirely) Revolve Around Eating



For the past several years, I've had an ongoing, albeit simple, Thanksgiving tradition with my father. We drink cups of coffee together, lace up our walking shoes, and go for a morning stroll overlooking the surf. I grew up near the beach in Los Angeles, so Thanksgiving mornings often resemble summer more than fall—last year it was 80 degrees, and dozens of surfers were out on the waves. But my dad and I use this time to catch up, enjoy some fresh air, and get some exercise before a day of eating. It's also fun to trick him into thinking the ocean water isn't as cold as it is. He always falls for it.

Thanksgiving is a day of routines, of course, and they mostly revolve around food. We all anticipate the same comforting heaps of sides and the golden turkey, as well as the cuts of ham and vat of gravy, but the rest of the day is often left open. This year, plan to create another tradition or two for your family to celebrate instead of putting all the pressure of the day's success on the dining table. We put together 20 ideas for you to consider—from an early morning turkey trot to an afternoon touch football game to an evening wearing matching pajamas—so that your routines extend past the expected menu. While it may not be a walk on the beach, there are plenty of other activities to look forward to as well.