It’s Thanksgiving break, which means it’s time to go back home, reunite with friends and family, and eat until you can’t eat anymore. But, before that turkey holiday comes Thanksgiving Eve — a time for a much-needed break to reconnect with your hometown friends. Thanksgiving Eve is typically a big party night for college students, but these past few years have changed the way we choose to go out.
Going out can be fun, but with COVID anxiety, Gen Z’s increasing sober curiosity, and general fatigue from traveling home for break, heading out to the bars and running into all the people you went to high school with might not be how you want to spend your Thanksgiving Eve. So, why not switch it up and plan to have a fun event in the comfort of your own home? Play games, watch movies, do a face mask or two — there are so many alternatives that can be just as fun as going out.
- Movie Marathon
Grab your blankets, snacks, and projector for a movie night outside. Set up an outdoor area with seats or blankets, hang up a white sheet, and tell everyone to bring their own snacks. Enjoy projecting your group’s favorite movies and create some new memories.
For friends who can’t make it, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and HBO Max are just some of the many streaming services with a watch party feature that allows you to host a virtual movie night. Whether you want to watch a new movie or series that just released or get nostalgic with the classics, you’ll have a great opportunity to spend time with friends and loved ones even if you’re not physically together. Some streaming services even have a chat feature. (Just imagine watching a shocking twist you didn’t see coming and messaging the girls about how your jaw dropped the moment it happened.)
If you decide a movie marathon is the way to celebrate, I suggest starting Christmas early with Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Elf, A Christmas Story, and The Polar Express, which are all currently available for streaming on HBO Max. Though, if you don’t want Halloween to end, you can’t go wrong with Hellraiser, Grimcutty, or Prey, all currently streaming on Hulu.
- Game Night
A little healthy competition never hurt anybody. Invite everyone you know — and I mean everyone — over for a game night. You can pick team captains and have each captain choose the members they want on their team. Want to make things even more competitive? Have each team show up in matching outfits or the same color. Each team can choose a game to keep things fair. And of course, you can’t have a game night without a host, so nominate yourself or a friend to referee each game, keep track of the points, and crown a winner.
Make this a night you’ll never forget and build closer bonds with the people you choose to spend your time with. Play a game like Clue — it’s a classic that’ll allow you and your guests to solve a crime that’s been committed among you. Or open yourself up to a risky game of Fear Pong, a game created by the YouTube channel Cut that brings a new twist to beer pong. If you’re playing with your besties, you can even come up with a trivia game featuring questions specific to your friends and their interests. Whatever you choose, just make sure to have fun! And if you’re the winner of the night, you win the title of Thanksgiving Queens or Kings as well bragging rights.
- Spa Day
Thanksgiving is a time to cook, eat, reunite with family, and eat some more — in other words, it’s known for making you stuffed and tired. Taking time to relax, get a manicure and pedicure, and catch up on skin care the day before can prepare your body for the day ahead.
To make this a more festive group activity, get robes, facial headbands, nail polish, and tons of face masks. Put on a spa-like Spotify playlist and just let all the worries of school and the anxiety of perfecting tomorrow leave your body.
It’s time to make that one dish you’re known for, or try your hand at food that’s not traditionally made on Thanksgiving, seeing as you’ll eat a whole turkey tomorrow. Get creative and look on your FYP for ideas because social media is a goldmine for easy recipes.
Another idea is to have a Friendsgiving! Invite college friends, childhood friends, or family friends to celebrate in a more relaxed environment. Spend time with all your friend groups all in one place on this holiday that brings you all together.
Think Chopped, but with a lot less pressure, and with more Thanksgiving-specific food.
First, appoint the judges and figure out who will compete against who. For this Thanksgiving cook-off, you can include side dishes, a main course, and a dessert in your final meal. If you’d rather just cook together for fun, don’t feel the need to make things more complicated, but for those who want to turn up the heat and have more “contestants,” you can add a little friendly fire: After each course’s “round,” someone will get eliminated until it’s down to two people. Then the judges will come together to declare a winner.
To make this a more exciting competition, you could make this a pair, team, or family challenge, so more than one person has to work together and go up against another group for a more juicy result. Also, how about a blind taste tasting? This could even result in a new Thanksgiving tradition. (It depends on how good you are at cooking, though.)
- Slumber Party
Relive your childhood with makeovers, pillow fights, girl talk, and so much more. Start the night by creating an adult pillow fort. Hang up string lights, bring tons of blankets, a mound of pillows, and you’ve got everything you need for a fun night.
Since Thanksgiving Eve is a time to reconnect with friends and family, a slumber party would be the perfect occasion for an all-night spill sesh. Growing up, my family would have a massive slumber party with the girls upstairs and boys downstairs, and it’s one of my greatest memories with my family. You don’t need to plan a whole lot for this one. Just enjoy each other’s company!
- PowerPoint Night
Make it a night of fun, knowledge, and bonding with your friends. This idea is for the know-it-alls, scrapbookers, Pinterest board builders, and/or mom friends of the group. On this night, build a PowerPoint on a topic of your choosing and explain what your topic is, why you chose it, and what you love about it. This one is the perfect way to gain a deeper knowledge of who your friends are and the things they choose to spend their time learning about, especially if you’ve been away from them all semester and are looking for ways to reconnect.
If you don’t have a plan yet for what you’d want to do a presentation on, TikTok is a goldmine for ideas. No matter what you choose, spruce up your presentation with a site like Canva for cool templates. But remember: This is one presentation you’re (thankfully) not being graded on.