• Katlyn Selleck

Make Thanksgiving Special This Year

Michigan is winding down to brace itself for the cold winter months. Though the leaves have fallen leaving trees barren as they shiver in the wind, and the sky has transitioned to overcast dampening the earth, our hearts are still warm with joy for the holidays.

There is no doubt this holiday season will be different, but it doesn’t have to lack the spirit we once loved and looked forward to with shimmering candle lights, a giant feast and stories and laughter to last us till we cozy up for the night. With the hardships the world has faced this year it is no surprise our Thanksgiving traditions may alter from ordinary—though possibly we can find our holiday spirit and have great fun with our immediate loved ones around us.

I have ultimately decided that to make this Thanksgiving special we must accept change and throw our hands up in surrender to 2020. The year is almost over and instead of fighting the situation, we must embrace the alterations that have undoubtedly come forth with the pandemic and make the holidays the best they can be.

Broaden Your Pie Horizon

When I think of Autumn and Thanksgiving I think of pumpkin pie. Although it is one of my favorites, this year calls for something different. Nothing this year was the same as last, and although it has caused much heartbreak, the change in our traditions may benefit our future holidays to come. I chose pie to change because it is the most universal Thanksgiving staple and to change something so well-known can open us up to accepting change with open arms.

This year, try to bake different pie flavors: cherry, pecan, apple, chocolate, strawberry, blueberry or lemon meringue. These delicious pies are waiting to be presented at your table this year. Step out of your comfort zone and challenge the change. Warm your oven, welcome the harmonic rhythm of dough making, taste test the ingredients because trust me, it’s worth it.

A What? A Thanksgiving Brunch

Whoever said Thanksgiving is to be celebrated only at dinner has never had a delicious brunch. While there’s no question that Thanksgiving dinner is the highlight to the day, let’s start the get together a little earlier with pancakes, bacon, hash browns and eggs. There’s something special about cooking breakfast with the family in your pajamas with a dreamy playlist playing in the background. I love the feeling of a warm kitchen and the aroma of syrup fills the entirety of the house.

Go For A Hike

Hiking is a great way to spend time with family while being safe and healthy. If you’re in the Grand Rapids area like me, take a drive to your favorite trail (we have many!) and enjoy the company of family and friends while talking, laughing and taking in all that nature has to offer. Most of our leaves have fallen, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find beauty in the dormancy of the season. With snow around the corner, take a chance to explore the forest this year and find peace with being outdoors and away from the troubles this year has brought. A hike is wonderful for clearing the mind and with all the stress we have gone through, let’s get outdoors this Thanksgiving for some fresh air.

A great app for finding trails near you: AllTrails

Visit Your Loved One's Window

This holiday won't be the same without our dearest loved ones this year but that doesn’t mean you can’t take the time and visit them outside their window. While the opinion of fair or not is up for debate, our oldest family members are cooped up inside their nursing homes waiting out the days of the pandemic and to bring a smile to their face is what Thanksgiving is about. Let’s take the time to express our gratitude for our elders and make their day joyous and filled with love.

Have Everyone Bake Their Favorite Dessert

Though most of us consider pie as a Thanksgiving staple, why not have everyone bake, or buy, their favorite dessert. There’s nothing worse than celebrating a loved holiday and come to find out the dessert is your least favorite. This way, your Thanksgiving table will be filled with delicious goodies and everyone can enjoy their sweet treat and share them with others. This is a fun idea to spice up this year's Thanksgiving while bonding with the people around you and enjoying some tasty snacks.

Decorate for Christmas

Call me a Christmas fanatic, but I already have my Christmas tree decorated and lit. After your celebratory dinner, take time to get out your Christmas decorations and begin filling your house with red and green. Many people may believe it is too early to decorate for Christmas, but this year there hasn’t been much happiness. This Thanksgiving is about making the most out of our situations and finding happiness in the smallest places. Christmas always brings a smile to my face and that is why I have decorated early. Put up that tree, light some candles and break out the ornaments because this time of year we need some cheer in our lives.

No matter what this Thanksgiving brings this year, enjoy every ounce of it because we need a little normalcy and happiness in our lives this year. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving from our Lucas Howard Group family to yours.

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