Thanksgiving and Christmas are the busiest travel times of the year. It’s no wonder since these holidays are for celebrating time with family, and people are willing to travel long distances to be with their loved ones.
While Thanksgiving often marks the beginning of the season of giving, presence is more important than presents.
Here are ways to make the most of quality time with family during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Play games with your family
Encourage screen-free time with family games. Classic board games are fun for kids of all ages, and many inspire cooperation or friendly competition. If you don’t have many games tucked away in a closet, you can always play charades or Pictionary with your own supplies.
You can also lay out a puzzle or two for everyone to work on together. And if you’re willing to allow a little screen time, multi-player video games can get everyone involved.
Enjoy time with family outside
Fresh air always feels good, especially if you and your family have cooked your Thanksgiving meal in a warm kitchen. Grab a ball to toss or even go for a walk after dinner to help digest the turkey. Light a bonfire to roast some s’mores (if you need more dessert!)
If the weather isn’t cooperating, you can still get out of the house. Once it gets dark, load up a car or two and take a drive to look at holiday lights.
Volunteer your time to help others
As you and your family are considering what you’re thankful for, you can also think of some ways to volunteer your time to help other families in need.
In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, you could help cook a meal for a local organization that provides food to others. You can also ask your local food bank if you and your family could help assemble meal boxes or serve a Christmas dinner.
Don’t rush through dinner
To make the most of quality time with family on these major holidays, resist the urge to rush through dinner. It might be tempting to watch football, start cleaning up, or distract antsy children. But try to take advantage of the time when everyone is present together around the table.
As a bonus, the more slowly you eat, the less likely you will be to overeat and the more likely you will be to enjoy your food.
Engage others in conversation
It can be easy to make yourself busy during Thanksgiving and Christmas, whether you’re eating snacks, prepping dinner, or watching TV. This year, make it a personal challenge to engage each guest in conversation, for at least a few minutes.
You can talk about work, school, friends, hobbies, or travel. After all, the gift of your presence is particularly powerful when you take the time to listen to and appreciate others.
If you’re feeling nervous about everyone being together, read our Holiday Survival Guide to Navigating Family Gatherings so you’re prepared to enjoy your quality time with loved ones.