Oklahoma City family fun doesn’t have to feel pressure-filled around the holidays.
Polite teachers will ask my children next week “How was your Thanksgiving?” and they will probably nod, give some cursory “fine” answer and move on with the conversation.
I sit here on Black Friday, blinking in the sunshine. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it ordinarily brings everyone around the table to focus on what daily life doesn’t always allow time for, between school, work and everything else that crowds our calendars: gratitude, each other, good food, the simple things. It always feels like the last stop before the consumerism of the holiday season takes center stage.
Except Thanksgiving didn’t exactly happen at my house this year.
The “around the table” experience was a major effort for our family. I got sick on Wednesday, my husband got sick on Thursday and our children are ill today. We did manage to bake a turkey and have dinner around 6 p.m. but no one felt like eating. “Good health, when we do have it” factored heavily in the “What are you thankful for this year?” responses, as we’ve had a semester of pregnancy, kidney stones and seasonal illness.
The date didn’t work out. We’ve launched headlong into a season of discounts and decorations but not all is lost. After all, this is supposed to be the beginning of a family-centered season. There are ways to keep it low-key and not attend every single thing there is to do but still have a great time.
If your Thanksgiving didn’t go as planned, it’s not too late. Here are four ways to foster that same spirit this holiday weekend:
Try Small Business Saturday: Tomorrow is a new day and I know exactly how we’re going to spend it: choosing our Christmas tree at Sorghum Mill Christmas Tree & Blackberry Farm. Our family enjoyed last year’s visit so much, with the whole experience of walking through fields of evergreens and chopping down the tree, we’ll always go back. I’ll buy a coffee at Evoke in Edmond, my favorite coffee shop that’s owned by a couple whose children go to the same nursery school my son attends. We might stop by a few shops like The Vintage Pearl and Plenty Mercantile and eat at a locally-owned restaurant.
Plan a family outing: Turn off screens and get out of the house. Find an event happening this weekend, like a Christmas tree lighting or a winter festival. For all the holiday fun, click here for MetroFamily’s Winter Fun Guides.
Volunteer in the community: The spirit behind Thanksgiving, Christmas and this season of goodwill is more easily remembered when we see why it’s part of our culture, beyond our own front doors but surprisingly close by. Click here for nine places to volunteer and remember the spirit of giving.
Go see “Coco:” There’s usually a blockbuster family movie to go see over Thanksgiving weekend. Some are better than others and usually tend more toward the silly than the serious. This year’s win, handsdown, is “Coco,” the new Disney Pixar film that features Gael Garcia Bernal. Family, tradition and respect are all underlying themes. I went recently with my 5 year-old, who was enchanted by the films vibrant colors, but I wish I had taken my fifth grader to see it too because there’s so much to say for the dignity of respecting family memories and why we do what we do each year.
If you’re struggling for meaningful family activities or new traditions, check out MetroFamily’s website. You just might have a better holiday season than you could’ve ever imagined this year.