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10 holiday activities that don't have to involve eating

While family gatherings are generally marked by an enormous amount of food, there are other things you can do instead of sitting around in carbohydrate comas.

>> Read more trending news

Here are 10 tips on throwing a holiday party that doesn’t include any food at all:

1. Give them something else to keep their hands busy

While it’s easy to stuff your face and nod during awkward conversations at a party, there are other things you can do.

Instead of snacks and drinks, put out some Rubik’s Cubes, Play-Doh or other little finger toys -- it accomplishes the same thing, and it’s a conversation starter, to boot.

2. Board and card games

With a boom in board games in recent years, there’s a game for every age, skill level, interest and time constraint, so board games are perfect for family gatherings where you have to account for both elderly relatives and young children.

Settle in for an epic round of Lord of the Rings Risk or Settlers of Catan with a close circle of friends, or if you want a shorter game, play Castle Panic or Guillotine. Monopoly and Taboo are always good go-tos.

If you need help choosing, try theboardgamefamily.com for reviews.

3. Volunteering

Giving is an important part of the holiday season, and giving time is an easy and free gift.

If you’ve got a small group, think about tasks such as raking the leaves for elderly people, who struggle to do it for themselves. Another option is have a card-making session for kids in a local pediatric ward.

4. Wreath decorating

Instead of leaving a party with discomfort from eating too much, making wreaths can have you leaving with a fun new decoration for your home.

Instead of bringing food, have everyone bring a basic wreath or garland and one packet of fun art supplies, such as mini-ornaments, glittery pipe cleaners, pine cones, fake snow, tiny figurines, strings of cranberries, etc.

5. Tea tasting

Sometimes, a warm drink is the best way to perk up a winter afternoon. Hosting a tea tasting party is one way to stave off the winter chill.

Either have each guest bring a box of their favorite seasonal tea, or get sample packs from a specialty store and test them out.

6. Surprise a friend

The holidays can be hard for some people, especially if they are going through added stress like a breakup or a job loss. Get together a group of mutual friends and come up with some things that can make their life easier, such as surprising them with a garage full of winter supplies or cooking them some meals that are freezer-ready.

7. Host a knitting party

If you have older relatives who might feel left out or isolated during parties, ask them to be the expert at a knitting party.

Engaging them and having those skills being passed between generations is a wonderful gift all by itself. Or just ask that everyone show up with their own supplies, find a how-to book and have fun figuring it out on your own.

8. Go to a performance

It’s easy to stay on the couch during the dark and cold season, but dressing up and going to watch live actors on stage is a fun and festive exercise. The late-night performances, the bright costumes and stage lights -- there’s something about being there in person that just can’t be replicated in your own living room.

Get a gang together and support your local community theater.

9. Go caroling

One of the oldest holiday traditions is singing carols to celebrate the season. You don’t have to have perfect pitch to enjoy singing to others -- you just need to enjoy it.

If you can find some like-minded friends, try calling a local care home or retirement community to see whether the residents would appreciate visits by a group of Christmas carolers.

10. Classic holiday movie night

Whether it is “A Christmas Story” or “The Muppets Christmas Carol,” this is the season to dig into the favorite holiday movies of friends and family. Get together, hang out and enjoy!

If you have a local independent cinema nearby, you could also check their showtimes to see if you can catch something on the big screen; often, they’ll offer seasonal classics that you might not have ever seen.

RELATED: 10 ways to stay calm during a chaotic holiday dinner

Disneyland Legionnaires' disease outbreak: 5 things to know

The unfortunate common thread between people experiencing an outbreak of a bacterial illness called Legionnaires’ disease in Anaheim, California, is that nine of the 12 visited Disneyland in September, The Associated Press reports. The remaining three live in or traveled to Anaheim.

Here's what you need to know about the disease and the latest outbreak:

>> Disneyland shuts cooling towers after Legionnaires’ outbreak

When were the cases discovered? The Orange County Health Care Agency said the cases of the bacterial illness were discovered about three weeks ago.

One patient, who hadn’t visited the park, has died.

The health agency said there haven’t been any new cases reported.

>> On Rare.us: School cracks down after skin condition infects more than 20 students

How did Disneyland respond? Disneyland said it learned about the Legionnaires’ cases on Oct. 27 and shut down and disinfected two cooling towers that had high levels of the bacteria. The towers will reopen after it’s confirmed they are no longer contaminated.

>> Read more trending news 

What is Legionnaires' disease? The Mayo Clinic describes the illness as “a severe form of pneumonia” caused by a bacterium known as legionella. 

How did it get its name? Legionnaires' disease got its name in 1976 from an outbreak that caused 182 people attending an American Legion convention in Philadelphia to fall ill, Deadline reported. Twenty-nine people died.

“The outbreak was traced to the convention hotel’s air conditioning system, and Legionnaires’ disease has since been sourced to contaminated water or mist,” Deadline added.

What causes it and how does it spread? Legionnaires’ is spread by mist from contaminated water. While Legionnaires’ does not spread person to person, it does spread easily by inhalation. 

The Mayo Clinic also lists the following common sources of outbreak:

  • Hot tubs and whirlpools on cruise ships
  • Grocery store mist machines
  • Cooling towers in air conditioning systems
  • Decorative fountains
  • Swimming pools
  • Physical therapy equipment
  • Water systems in hotels, hospitals and nursing homes

>> On Rare.us: A puppy-borne illness has made almost 40 people seriously ill

– The Associated Press and the Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

4-year-old best friends believe they're twins, melt hearts: 'They don't see color'

A pair of 4-year-olds who are convinced they’re twins are stealing millions of hearts across the country.

Jia Sarnicola and Zuri Copeland of Miami met at school and became fast friends. Their June birthdays are days apart, and this year, they celebrated with a combined party. Now, they proudly proclaim they’re twins.

>> On HotTopics.TV: Biracial twins who went viral for their looks celebrate a very big milestone 

“They have very strong personalities and are both super outgoing, well-spoken, intelligent and not afraid to tell you what they want. They hit it off right away,” Jia’s mom, Ashley Riggs Sarnicola, told ABC News.

Zuri’s mom agreed.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

“It is unbelievable. They connected very well immediately,” mom Valencia Copeland said. “It was amazing how they’ve gelled together.”

Jia is blonde and white, and Zuri has black hair and is African-American.

“They don’t see color. We’ve never talked to them about it, period,” Sarnicola said.

Photos shared to Instagram show both girls’ families enjoying outings together, such as concerts and playdates.

On Facebook, Sarnicola shared a story about an incident that happened at a recent birthday party that proved the strength of the girls’ bond.

Sarnicola explained that Jia started crying because a little girl told her that she and Zuri weren’t really twins.

>> Read more trending news

Jia quickly told her, “You don’t know anything because we have the same birthday and the same soul,” Sarnicola wrote on Facebook. “When she said that, it took me aback. It was so sweet.”

Woman dying of cancer saved thanks to her ex-husband's new wife

A woman battling stage IV cancer is thanking her ex-husband’s new wife for helping her beat the disease.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

According to The Independent, doctors told Nicola Hitchen, 41, in March that there was nothing else they could do for her. The mother of two from England turned to a pioneering chemotherapy center in Turkey.

>> On HotTopics.TV: Photo of blended family goes viral

After five 10-day sessions, many of the tumors in Nicola’s body shrank significantly, The Mirror reports. But she was running out of money for treatment. The first round of treatment cost the equivalent of over $100,000.

That’s when her ex-husband’s wife, Clare Hitchen, launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money.

“I feel this is not an option,” wrote Clare on a crowdfunding page. “The boys need their Mum and she deserves the chance to watch them grow into men and have their own families.”

>> Read more trending news 

The family is hoping to raise an additional £50,000, or about $66,000, to pay for further treatments. So far, they’re about halfway to their goal.

“The support I’ve been given is phenomenal, not just from my family but from complete strangers, too,” Nicola told The Mirror.

If you would like to donate, click here.

Just one drink a day can increase your risk of cancer, study warns

Do you enjoy the occasional cocktail? Beware, because even moderate consumption of alcohol can increase your risk of cancer, according to a new report

>> On AJC.com: Women who use IUDs may have reduced risk of cervical cancer, study says

Researchers from the American Society of Clinical Oncology recently conducted an experiment, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, to determine the link between drinking and the disease. 

To do so, they looked at several studies that found a strong correlation between alcohol and cancer.

After gathering all the data, they concluded that about 3.5 percent of all cancer-related deaths were due to alcohol consumption. 

Furthermore, in 2012, they discovered approximately 5.5 percent of all new cancer occurrences and 5.8 percent of all cancer deaths worldwide were attributable to drinking alcohol.

"The importance of alcohol drinking as a contributing factor to the overall cancer burden is often underappreciated," the organization said in a statement. "Associations between alcohol drinking and cancer risk have been observed consistently regardless of the specific type of alcoholic beverages."

>> On AJC.com: 7 surprising things that can increase your risk of cancer

While researchers did note the greatest risk was among those with heavy and long-term use and those who also smoked cigarettes, moderate drinking is risky, too. Scientists described moderate as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.

This was particularly the case with oropharyngeal – cancer affecting the throat – and breast cancer.

“A meta-analysis that focused solely on cancer risks associated with drinking one drink or fewer per day observed that this level of alcohol consumption was still associated with some elevated risk for ... oropharyngeal cancer and breast cancer,” the authors wrote. 

>> Read more trending news

But researchers aren’t suggesting you get rid of your booze altogether. They want individuals to recognize “that excessive alcohol use can delay or negatively impact cancer treatment and that reducing high-risk alcohol consumption is cancer prevention,” they wrote. 

To prevent high-risk alcohol consumption, researchers believe lawmakers and health care providers should implement specific strategies and policies.

Some suggestions include limiting youth exposure to advertising of alcoholic beverages and increasing alcohol prices and taxes. 

Scientists also hope to conduct more research.

>> On AJC.com: Sugar can fuel cancerous cells, study says

“Systems-based research,” the report said, “including research into successful means for the oncology community to identify patients who are currently using alcohol or who may be at high risk for alcohol relapse, will be critical.”

Thanksgiving 2017: Best ways to show gratitude

As you prepare for the holiday season, maybe you’ve been wondering about the best ways to give thanks on Thanksgiving. Well wonder no more.There are alternative ways to spend Thanksgiving that will embrace the true spirit of the holiday. From volunteering your time, to including others in your celebration and other creative ideas, there are plenty to give back and show your appreciation for others this time of year.Take a look at some of the best ways to give thanks on Thanksgiving. 1. Volunteer to help make the holiday brighter for someone less fortunateIt’s been said that giving is better than receiving, and volunteering your time on Thanksgiving Day is a good way to reap the benefits of the old adage.From soup kitchens and food pantries to churches and Meals on Wheels, serving or delivering food to less fortunate families is a great way to spend a few hours on Thanksgiving Day. The time commitment may be minimal but it’s far outweighed by the benefits. 2. Extend an invitation to someone who would welcome the companyIt’s never fun to be alone on the holidays. Whether widowed or single, orphaned or separated from family by geography, the prospect of celebrating a holiday by yourself is never fun.Consider giving someone a much-needed respite from a solo holiday by extending an invitation for lunch or dinner. It may be a small gesture, but it could mean a world of difference to the invitee! 3. Make an extra meal to share this Thanksgiving seasonThe demands of the season can put a strain on households on a tight budget. This year when you’re planning your Thanksgiving feast, make a second one to share with a family who may may not be able to provide one for themselves. By fostering the festive spirit of thankfulness through a meal, you can brighten the holidays for others. 4. Make a donationA component of thankfulness is sharing with others, and donations are an excellent way to achieve this. What’s more: it’s not just money that organizations are looking for. Donating gently used home goods and clothes to your favorite charity is just as important as cash donations. 5. Visit a nursing home or hospitalPatients in nursing homes or hospitals often face holidays alone in a situation that is trying at best. This Thanksgiving, take an hour or two and go put a smile on the faces of patients who are alone for the holiday. A kind or caring word, a sincere hug and a few quiet moments of conversation could be the difference for a patient between a lonely day and a feeling of warmth and goodwill. 6. Break out the craftsPrepare to cultivate a spirit of thankfulness among the youngest members of your family this holiday. Set aside time to teach them even the simplest of Thanksgiving crafts like Pilgrim hats, cardboard napkin rings, turkey hands and pinecone placements. The children will be thankful for the art instruction, but they’ll be even more thankful for the quality time. 7. Help guests express their thankfulnessIf you’re planning to host a crowd this holiday, allowing the guests to share their gratitude is a great way to give thanks on Thanksgiving.A great way to encourage guests to really think about what matters most to them is to offer them cards on which to write the things for which they are most thankful.Another way to get the thankful juices flowing is to create a Thanksgiving tree as a centerpiece for your holiday. Use cardboard or construction paper leaves in varying colors and encourage friends and family to take a leaf or two on which to write their thanks and wishes. By the time the day is over, the branches will be full of thanks and your guests will be encouraged to keep sharing. 8. Share your favorite memoriesAdd another level to your thankfulness by asking family and friends to share favorite holiday memories and stories. By remembering the past in a warm way and vocalizing the things that have meant the most, you and your family will find your way to a deeper state of gratitude. 9. Take all of the gratitude, and find a way to make a differenceAfter a day of sharing, use the memories and thanks as a starting point to help others. Be it family time or possessions, relationships or momentous occasions, use the items listed throughout the day to find creative ways to make a difference to others.

Too much Christmas music is bad for your health, psychologists say

The holiday season is upon us and that probably means the icicle lights are going up at your local hangouts, your neighbors are starting to set up the decor in their front yards and, of course, Christmas music is likely on a continuous loop everywhere you go — or it will be soon.

» RELATED: Debate settled: This is the right time to put up your Christmas tree

If you’re not all that excited about the last bit, you’re not alone.

In fact, according to some mental health experts, hearing Christmas music can be psychologically draining, especially for those working in retail who have to listen to holiday tunes blasting in their stores regularly. 

» RELATED: 9-year-old battling cancer to celebrate Christmas early this year

“People working in shops at Christmas have to learn how to tune it out -- tune out Christmas music -- because if they don’t, it really does make you unable to focus on anything else,” Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist in the United Kingdom, told Sky News. “You’re simply spending all your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing.”

» RELATED: 7 tips on doing Christmas dinner on a budget

Music tends to bypass rationality and go straight for our emotions, Blair said. "It might make us feel that we're trapped. It's a reminder that we have to buy presents, cater for people, organize celebrations.”

>> Read more trending news

While previous research has shown that adding Christmas music or scents to the shopping experience yields a positive experience for shoppers, it could also lead to impulse buys, due to the music’s emotional influence, Blair said.

» RELATED: Are the holidays the most miserable time of year?

The United Kingdom’s Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers also told Sky News it “ask(s) employers to consider the staff who have to listen to Christmas music all day, because playing the same songs repeatedly can become very irritating and distracting.”

» RELATED: President Trump says you'll be hearing 'Merry Christmas' a lot more this year

Increased stress during the holidays is also a major trend in the U.S., according to the American Psychiatric Association.

Some common holiday stressors could include financial demands of the season, dealing with the interpersonal dynamics of family and maintaining personal health habits, including an exercise regimen, a 2015 Healthline study on consumer health found.

» RELATED: 12 expert-approved tips to avoid holiday weight gain

Ellen Braaten, a psychology professor at Massachusetts General Hospital, shared some tips in a Harvard Medical School report on holiday stress and the brain:

“People who feel stressed during the holidays should evaluate how they spend their time, decide what they want the holidays to mean to them, and keep their expectations for the season realistic.”

“The holidays are just another time of year,” Braaten said, “certainly something to mark, but not the end-all, be-all.”

Read more about holiday stress and the brain at neuro.hms.harvard.edu.

7 things to know about The National Dog Show

The National Dog Show, one of the most anticipated dog shows in the nation, returns Nov. 18 and 19 in Philadelphia. Since 2002, television viewing of the National Dog Show has been a Thanksgiving tradition in homes across the nation. Presented by Purina and hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia, the show features more than 150 American Kennel Club-sanctioned breeds and varieties competing for Best of Breed, First in Group and the top-dog spot: Best in Show. Here’s what you need to know about the show that celebrates man’s best friend. 1. You don’t have to go to Philadelphia to catch the show. There’s no need to book a trip to The National Dog Show: NBC’s top-rated broadcast of the show airs at noon Thanksgiving Day, immediately following the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The two-hour show features hosts John O’Hurley, Mary Carillo and David Frei and regularly reaches nearly 20 million dog-lovers in the comfort of their homes. 2. The show has been airing since 2002, but it’s been around for much longer than that. The Kennel Club of Philadelphia Dog Show has been in existence since 1879 with minimal interruptions. When NBC Sports began airing the show in 2002, it was rebranded as The National Dog Show.  The show is one of only three major dog shows in the nation, ranked along with the AKC National Championship and the Westminster Dog Show3. There are seven groups of dogs. There may be more than 2,000 dogs entered in the show, but when the coveted Best in Show competition takes place, you’ll only see seven dogs. These canines are the best of the best, representing seven groups and the characteristics and functions for which the breeds were originally intended: the Terrier Group, the Toy Group, the Working Group, the Sporting Group, the Hound Group, the Non-Sporting Group and the Herding Group. 4. There’s no new breed this year, but you can catch a glimpse of 2018’s new sanctioned breed during the show. For the first time since 2006, no new breed has been added to The National Dog Show competition. But viewers don’t have to wait to find out if 2018 holds the same fate: the newly sanctioned bred for next year’s competition - the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje - will be a participant in the Miscellaneous Class at this year’s show. A spaniel-type dog of Dutch descent, the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje will join the Working Group in 2018. 5. It’s a benched show, and that’s kind of a big deal. An untrained dog-show enthusiast may be wondering why a benched distinction makes a difference. Participating dogs are required to stay on assigned benches when not in competition, an awesome feat of discipline and character.  The benching makes the canine competitors accessible to all on site and allows for interaction and provides an easy way to ask questions and share information. 

The National Dog Show is one of the oldest and few remaining benched shows in the United States.  6. The judges are picky, and rightly so.Over the course of the show, judges will have seen hundreds of dogs. But what exactly are these discerning individuals looking to find? The questions are tough: Is the dog able to perform the job the breed was originally bred to do? Does the dog have all of the physical characteristics typical of their breed? How fit is the dog? Does the dog have the correct gait?  But wait, there’s more: Judges are also looking for happy dogs that enjoy the competition so each dog’s expression and general demeanor receives extra scrutiny. 7. Those long names may sound excessive, but there’s a good reason for them. Gia, a greyhound, was 2016’s Best in Show, but her proper name is GCHS CH Grandcru Giaconda CGC. While it may seem a little crazy, there’s a method to the madness of the competitor naming. 

That long and hard-to-read name reads like a history lesson on the dog’s life. Components of the dog’s name can be pulled from many different places: the name of the kennel where the dog was born, notations about the dog’s qualifications or prizes and a part of the name that’s specific to the dog.

Thanksgiving 2017: Most popular desserts

Thanksgiving is about family, gratitude, togetherness, gathering and of course, turkey. It’s about all the fixings, too: macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, gravy, mashed potatoes.  And don’t forget about those tasty leftovers. For those with a sweet tooth, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without its traditional desserts. 

From the traditional pumpkin pie to the more modern pumpkin cheesecake making appearances on holiday tables, here is a rundown of some of the most popular Thanksgiving desserts.

Pumpkin pie

Perhaps the most popular Thanksgiving dessert, pumpkin pie is an easy favorite. Traditionally, pumpkin, either freshly roasted and pureed or canned, is mixed with a spice blend of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves and mace. A flaky, buttery crust is often pre-baked, then pie filling, typically mixed with eggs, milk and butter, is poured into the crust and baked until it is browned and set. For a variation, butternut squash can be used in lieu of pumpkin pie filling.

Sweet potato pie

With sweet potato pie, the same pumpkin pie spice blend of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves and mace is used along with the pre-baked crust. Some additions to the filling can add more dimension to this dessert: orange zest, fresh grated ginger and brown sugar being examples. Use organic garnet yams or any other organic variety for the best flavor of sweet potatoes. Also, roast the potatoes versus boiling or microwaving.

Pecan pie

Pecan pie isn’t for the faint at heart and for those who are novices to all things sweet. You’ll only need a sliver of this pie, concocted of pecans, corn syrup or molasses, eggs, sugar, vanilla and butter. For the ultimate pecan pie experience, serve with a heaping scoop of ice cream on top. One popular variety of pecan pie is a chocolate one, where dark chocolate is added into the mix with the pecan filling. Also, pecan pie can be made into bite-sized pieces to enjoy as pecan pie bars or squares. For this version, the pie is baked in a sheet pan and cut into small squares.

Apple pie

An all-American favorite, apple pie is a popular Thanksgiving dessert choice. To prepare an apple pie, cut, peel and cook apples on top of the stove. Mix with spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and a little vanilla. A few varieties of apple pie include the lattice pie crust, featuring crisscrosses of dough across the pie and Dutch apple pie, with crumbs as the pie topping.

Pumpkin cheesecake

Pumpkin cheesecake is a seasonal spin on a beloved dessert and a perfect item to add to the Thanksgiving dessert melange. There are two approaches to this dessert: mixing in the pumpkin with the cream cheese, eggs and sugar to bake in a browned graham cracker crust or create one layer of pumpkin pie over one layer of cheesecake. Swirls of the pumpkin in the cheesecake can be added for artistic flair.

Cranberry pie

Cranberries are more than the sauce to go with a heaping serving of turkey and stuffing. They can play a starring role in a season-friendly dessert. When cranberries are cooked, they impart a tangy, slight bitterness to taste, making it a perfect companion to a buttery crust or even a spongy, fluffy cakelike batter as a variation. To prepare this pie, start with fresh or frozen cranberries that have been defrosted in a food processor. Pulse to chop and combine the cranberries with sugar, walnuts, cornstarch, orange zest, salt and nutmeg to a desired consistency, then pour mixture into crust and bake.

Pumpkin roll

A creamy and simple dessert option, the pumpkin roll is a classy version of the well-known cake roll and a popular Thanksgiving dessert. For traditional pumpkin rolls, a pumpkin spice cake is baked in a jelly roll pan, cooled, and then a cream cheese filling is added to the interior of the cake before rolling up and sprinkling the outside with powdered sugar.

Egg custard pie

Simplicity is the name of the game with this custard dessert. Milk is combined with eggs, sugar, milk, vanilla or nutmeg then baked in a pie crust. And ta-da. That’s it. Simple, indulgent and good.

Thanksgiving 2017: Alternative ways to spend the holiday

For many Americans, Thanksgiving is steeped in family traditions, but for those seeking alternative ways to spend Thanksgiving, there are plenty of options. Here are ideas for a nontraditional Thanksgiving that are creative, fun and sure to create fond memories for years to come.

Volunteering

One way to spend Thanksgiving is giving back to others. Pick either the early morning of Thanksgiving, the afternoon, the evening when most everyone will be napping from eating or the entire day to help out in a local food pantry, volunteer at a shelter where they are feeding the homeless/less fortunate or create your own way of giving back that fits local community needs. For help on figuring out where you can be of help, visit VolunteerMatch.

Getting out of town

Switch things up this year and get out of town for Thanksgiving. Spend Thanksgiving week relaxing beachside with a drink, exploring a city through its food in restaurants and eats from the street or immersing yourself in cultural or local traditions. Book early as you can to avoid higher flight prices and hotel rates. Get creative with leaving and returning dates. For instance, it’s likely to be cheaper to leave for a Thanksgiving trip on the day of and return a week later rather than the following Sunday, when a lot of other travelers will be doing the same.

Friendsgiving

A buzzword in recent years, Friendsgiving is intended to be an addition to family traditions and not a replacement. Plan a Friendsgiving Thanksgiving dinner, lunch or brunch the weekend before the holiday and assign friends to bring different dishes to lessen the load of hosting. Create a signature drink for the event and leave a portion of Friendsgiving for games and revelry.

Cocktail party

Snazz it up and turn Thanksgiving into a fancy affair with a cocktail twist. Hire a bartender to curate a Thanksgiving-esque selection of drinks featuring cranberries and spiced liqueurs, for example. Create a fun invitation that spells out the dress code.

Potluck dinner

Instead of being overwhelmed with all the moving parts inherent in pulling off a Thanksgiving dinner, opt to ask guests to bring a different dish. Delegate all you need and separate it into categories: meats, side dishes, desserts, drinks. Assign guests on what to bring based on their strengths.

Themed party

A spin on the cocktail party idea, set a theme for Thanksgiving and run with it. If Italian themed, make only Italian dishes for the food, settle on a certain region of Italy and pick wines from there and play movies set in Italy after dinner and as dessert is being eaten.

A museum day

Spend the day gazing at works of art on Thanksgiving. Some museums are open on Thanksgiving, and it’s a great time to check out an art collection without large crowds. After an afternoon of reflection and inspiration, follow up with a nice dinner at a nearby restaurant.

Get active

Thanksgiving is a great time to go for a run and thankfully, many cities have racing options, often affectionately referred to as Turkey Trots, for those who want to burn a few calories on America’s biggest eating day. To find a race near you, visit Active.com.

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