Five ways to get into the Thanksgiving spirit

By Rachel Hackam

Halloween has come and gone.Now it’s time to start preparing for the next holiday—Thanksgiving. 

For college students, the infamous turkey day is often seen as a much-needed break from classes or a short trip back home, but it is so much more than that. It’s a time to give thanks, appreciate the blessings around you, enjoy time with loved ones, and to reflect on where you are.

Here are a few ways to get into the Thanksgiving spirit:

Watch the Thanksgiving episodes of your favorite TV shows:

So many shows have fantastic Thanksgiving episodes to help you get into the holiday spirit. The lighthearted energy of an episode of your favorite fall show can put you in a festive mood and calm any stresses you may have as you cuddle up on a couch with your best friends for a screening or take some much needed alone time for a binge session. 

Here are a few episode recommendations:

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In season 3, episode 9 of “Gilmore Girls, “A Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving,” Rory and Lorelai find themselves invited to four Thanksgiving dinners, putting their eating abilities to the ultimate test. Available on Netflix.

When Jess’s divorced parents arrive at her house for Thanksgiving at the same time, in episode 8 of season 2 of “New Girl,” Jess sees the situation as an opportunity to “Parent Trap” them into getting back together. Available on Netflix.

In season 1, episode 10 of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” titled “Thanksgiving,” Amy hosts a Thanksgiving dinner for the precinct, and things get out of hand. Jake’s hatred for the holiday disrupts Amy’s carefully planned evening. Available on Hulu.

Although not a TV show, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” is perfect for this season. When Peppermint Patty invites herself over to spend Thanksgiving with Charlie Brown, the two of them and their friends attempt to host a Thanksgiving meal. Available on Amazon Prime.

Spend Quality Time With Your Friends:

Over Thanksgiving Break, many students leave campus and their friends to enjoy the holiday with their family. Before departing, try spending some quality time with your friends. Enjoy a movie night with your favorite snacks. Explore Boston for the day. Try utilizing the kitchen in your building and hosting a Friendsgiving (just be careful not to burn anything). 

Practice Gratitude:

With the chaos and packed schedules that come with daily life as a college student, it’s easy to forget the blessings we have around us.  Take a few minutes at some point in your day to practice gratitude. Spend some time before the holiday to give thanks and appreciate the good things in your life. You might find it boosts your mental wellbeing as well. Maybe try making a list of 10 things you’re grateful for or create a “gratitude tree” like this one.

Get yourself a warm drink and embrace the fall weather:

As the days get colder and the seasons change, it’s quite common to fall into the habit of focusing on the negatives. However, you should embrace fall with open arms and bring yourself out of that line of thinking. Yes, I know that is much easier said than done, but take it one step at a time––and I mean that both figuratively and literally. 

Start by getting a warm drink from your favorite coffee shop and taking a short stroll through the Boston Common.  The fresh air and mesmerizing foliage might help you see the positive side of chilly days. Perhaps you run to Starbucks and grab a peppermint mocha, or maybe stop by Tatte for a latte. Wherever you choose to pick up your beverage, warming up with a drink and the small amount of sunshine we get this time of year could be just the thing to lift your spirits. 

While improving your mental health at this time of year is important, it is also important to remember when strolling the streets of Boston that you’re on stolen land and to consider those who were hurt in the process. 

Educate Yourself:

The American school system doesn’t always do a great job of teaching the true meaning of Thanksgiving. This November, try and take some time to educate yourself on the real history of Thanksgiving instead of relying on the white-washed version you learned in school. According to an article in The Philadelphia Inquirer, the “first Thanksgiving” wasn’t as peaceful as they teach you. 

Educating yourself remains an integral part of growing as a person. Thinking outside of your own culture provides opportunities to learn about those who have been wronged. 

Here are a few links to help educate yourself further: 

The Myths of the Thanksgiving Story and the Lasting Damage They Imbue

The true, dark history of Thanksgiving – Potawatomi.org

Everything You Learned About Thanksgiving Is Wrong

The Beacon wishes everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving!