Less than a week to go to one of many favorite holidays: Thanksgiving!
What makes this day so special, you ask?
For starters, there is a lot of yummy food, families hang out together and there is this whole “glad to be alive and to be surrounded by so many blessings” vibe that is spread everywhere which we absolutely adore. So how are you going to spend your Thanksgiving Day and weekend?
Are you looking for things to do over Thanksgiving weekend in Northern Virginia and nearby cities? Here are a few suggestions which you can try out.
1. Throw a Thanksgiving Lunch/Dinner
Instead of going to a Thanksgiving Lunch or Dinner yourself, why not host one at your own home? You do not have to invite your entire social circle if you do not want to, but just a few dear and near ones that make your life truly better can all get together at your place for an awesome Thanksgiving party. Especially since we live in a military community, it’s sometimes easier to just stay local and enjoy Thanksgiving with our friends instead of flying or driving hours to get to our childhood home.
Once the initial meal is over, the next best thing about thanksgiving meals is the Turkey sandwiches that follows.
2. Polish Those Culinary Skills
From roasted Turkeys to a perfect batch (es) of cookies, there are so many Thanksgiving inspired dishes that you can try for yourself, your family and friends. Do not forget to Instagram all the food. If you are looking for a place to get yummy recipes, visit Food Network, All Recipes or Betty Crocker.
3. Macy's Thanksgiving Parade
One of the most anticipated parades of the entire year, attending the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is another super entertaining option from the things you can do on Thanksgiving Day. With New York City being so close this is a great option. It’s a lot of fun and the best part is that almost every year, they have something new.
If you’re like me and don’t like the big crowds another option is going to watch the balloons get blown up. It was a really great experience. My kids really enjoying watching the Macy workers inflating the balloons and seeing how they go from a flat speck on the ground to a huge inflatable. If you’re interested in going to watch the balloons get inflated, you can secure tickets online by visiting Eventbrite. You'll get a tour guide and the tickets are as low as $5 each. Or you can go on your own for FREE. Wondering what the 2017 Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is going to be all about? Click here and find out.
If you decide to visit New York City, another great thing to do is to visit the window decorations. However if it's cold, start at Rockefeller Center and get a cup of Hot Chocolate. As you enter the Rock, you be greeted by these beautiful trumpeters. Such a marvelous sight.
The New York City Holiday Window Walking tour is a popular attraction. Several different stores go above and beyond to decorate their store fronts with beautiful Christmas decorations. These are the stores participating:
If you visit Saks Fifth Avenue a great stop to make is Rockefeller Center. It’s conveniently located across the street. There are plenty of great shops, ice skating, and the NBC Studios.
4. Movies and Popcorn
Does going to the parade feel like too much work for you? Why not download some of your favorite movies, grab some popcorn and have yourself a cozy little marathon where you watch all your favorite movies back to back! If you prefer the movie theater experience, there are several great movies playing at the movie theater for the family. To look at what the AMC Theater is showing on Thanksgiving Day, visit here. I think my family will be going to see The Star.
If it’s just you and your spouse, I’ve heard many of my friends and family mention they want to go see Denzel Washington’s new movie Roman J Israel, Esq. I must admit, this may be added to my next date night.
However, if you would like to skip going out and just stay at home, The Hallmark channel has several movies playing. Many of these movies can be watched via Amazon. If you have Amazon Prime they can be watch for free.
Here is a list of popular family movies to watch after your Thanksgiving meal:
5. Watch Football
If you’re like me and my family, we’ll be watching football. Like many families while eating our Thanksgiving lunch, the National Football League will be playing in the background. This year’s games are:
Since I’m from Alabama, I’ll be looking forward to watching the Alabama vs Auburn SEC game on Saturday, November 25.
6. Don't Forget to Take Pictures
Why not bring out our camera and photograph your friends and family enjoying themselves. If you are going to be attending any parade, show, party etc. bring your camera to take pictures for memories of the moment.
Take pictures of the turkey and any Christmas decorations. Take pictures of everything and everybody that you are truly thankful to have in your life. Moreover, document the entire day with your camera.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to volunteer as a family. It’s a great opportunity to give back and help your community. Many different organizations will be looking for volunteers to help serve and prepare meals. As a military family, we always volunteer at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington D.C. To volunteer, visit https://www.afrh.gov/locations/visit.
8. Look at the Lights
Every year, Meadowlark Gardens comes to life with holiday lights. The park is filled with over 500,000 lights and displays from November 10-January 7. You can purchase tickets ranging from $8 to $13 depending on age and time. Tickets may be purchased on Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/meadowlarks-winter-walk-of-lights-tickets-38158153063
Bull Run Festival of Lights is another awesome location to look at the lights. The Bull Run lights are on display from November 22 to January 7. It’s a 2.5-mile drive-through display of holiday lights. This is an ideal activity for the family. Weekends are extremely busy, so visit early to minimize cars and lines. The price is $20 for weekday admission per car and $25 for weekend admission. To purchase tickets, visit https://www.facebook.com/bullrunfestivaloflights/.
9. Watch a Washington Wizards Game
The Washington Wizards will be tipping off against the Toronto Raptors at the Verizon Center. Ticketmaster has the tickets starting at $22. The game is on Saturday at 7pm.
10. Christmas Tree
Here in Northern Virginia, we are surrounded by several different Christmas Tree farms. There are even several different farms that allow you to pick your tree on the spot and then cut it. For the entire list of pick your own Christmas Tree farms, visit http://www.pickyourownchristmastree.org/VAxmasnorthern.php.
Many farms offer additional services like apple cider, petting zoos and much more. We’re going to be visiting the Middleburg Christmas Tree farm in Round Hill, VA. The Middleburg Christmas Tree Farm opens November 25, 2017. For information about pricing and the different types of trees that are available at this farm, visit http://www.middleburgxmastrees.com/index.html.
As you can see there is a lot that you can do on Thanksgiving or during Thanksgiving weekend. Whatever you do, you must not forget the essence of Thanksgiving; to be truly grateful for the blessings that you have in your life. Take this day as an opportunity to volunteer some place and brighten up someone’s life for a little while.
I promise you’d be so proud of yourself.
Hello, I'm Tamieka, owner of Tamieka Smith Photography. I would love to help you plan your family's sunset portraits in Northern Virginia (or surrounding area) or photograph your military ceremony — possibly both. Working with families and military members is my specialty. I hope you'll look at my recent work and all that’s available for you. I hope we're able to work together and I’m able to document your family’s history.