Thanksgiving on Campus

Thanksgiving is traditionally a time to get together with family, but many college students don’t have the time or money to trek home for the long weekend. If you’re one of the many students not heading back home, you don’t need to settle for a night of TV reruns and microwave mac and cheese. With these great ideas, your Thanksgiving at college can be one to appreciate and remember.

Go Home with a Friend Who Lives Close to Campus

You needn’t miss out on a traditional family Thanksgiving just because you can’t get to your home. Ask your roommate or another college friend what they’re doing for the holidays and see if you can wrangle an invitation. Spending Thanksgiving with friend’s family is a great way to bond with your college pals and experience many of the things that make Thanksgiving such a wonderful holiday. Remember to be a great guest and offer to help with the meal and dishes. Bringing a bottle of wine or a bunch of flowers or a dessert or side will also help win your hosts over.

Host a Friendsgiving Feast

It’s not just college students spending the holidays away from the family. The low-stress vibe of a Friendsgiving makes it a popular choice among young adults everywhere. A college dorm will never have the kitchen setup your mom does, but it’s possible to cook some holiday grub in your microwave. A small whole turkey stays moist in a microwaveable oven bag and cooking pumpkin pie in coffee mugs works surprisingly well. Don’t be afraid of boxed stuffing and canned cranberry sauce. With easy options like these, you’ll wonder why your mom spends hours toiling over a hot stove. Ask your guests to each bring a side dish and you’ll have more than enough food to trigger that sweet post-feast food coma.

Volunteer in Your Community

When you’re gorging on turkey and cheering on your favorite football team, it’s easy to forget what Thanksgiving is really about: community and gratitude. Volunteering will help you remember the real purpose for the holiday by reminding you of how fortunate you are and how we can all use (and give) a helping hand. Volunteer Match lists a range of different volunteering opportunities for Thanksgiving. If you can’t find anything that suits you, call a homeless shelter, animal rescue, or other nonprofit near your college campus and ask what you can do to help over the holidays.

Set Aside Some Personal Time

Consider your family-free Thanksgiving as an opportunity to have some you time. Unlike your peers, you don’t have to spend hours on an overcrowded plane or in gridlocked traffic. There’ll be no arguments with dodgy cousins or bratty younger siblings. And unlike most of the school year, there’s no expectation that you’ll be studying or working on assignments. So chill, breathe, and just enjoy it. Take time to read an actual non-homework novel, enjoy the solitude of a run through your deserted campus, and veg out with some of your favorite movies. Making the most of down time now will give you the healthy balance you need ahead of finals week.

Don’t let being away from your family ruin your Thanksgiving. See it as a gift and an opportunity and remember that there are plenty of ways to make the holiday season special while you’re at college.

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