The Thanksgiving plans have been set. As people chat away about travel plans, family gatherings, or how they can't wait to be home, there's an eager expectation of relief in the air as break arrives. If you won’t be going home this Thanksgiving, maybe you haven’t quite decided what to do with these next few days. Relaxing with a couple of friends and embracing a bit of freedom from the stresses of Penn life may be the best plan. 

If you're looking for an early start, bundle up in some warm clothes and head out to the annual Dunkin Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade kicks off at 8:15 a.m. on 20th and JFK Boulevard, and concludes at the Philadelphia Museum of Art at noon. The event is free and open to the public, so be sure to check out this fun Philadelphia tradition. If you find that the chilly weather is discouraging you from braving the outdoors, 6abc will be covering the parade, so tune in. 

Spending the next part of your day volunteering together in the spirit of the holiday is a great way to express some gratitude for the community. Philabundance put together a list of volunteer organizations looking for help around the holidays. The Coalition Against Hunger also hosts opportunities for volunteers to serve meals and work in food pantries during the holiday season. 

Besides finding ways to give back to the community, cooking a meal is a fun and rewarding way to spend time with your friends. Instead of heading out to eat, try some new recipes to celebrate the season. Food Network presents a traditional Thanksgiving line of recipes from appetizers to desserts. 

From the classic apple crumble and pumpkin pies to a pecan or sweet potato pie, making different kinds of pies is also a fun way to involve everyone. If no one has a favorite recipe, there are plenty online to choose from. Allrecipes has you covered with a list of various pies to try baking—and eating. 

Another way to decide what kinds of food to make may be to discuss what dishes each person makes at home, and trying out some of those recipes. Teaching how to make each other’s favorite dishes definitely adheres to the holiday’s spirit of giving. So divvy up the kitchen duties, and try not to rush. Enjoying each others' company while diving into a well–deserved dinner will create the perfect holiday atmosphere. 

After the feeling of being overstuffed has completely set in, curl up on the couch and watch some football, or classic holiday movies. Sit back and embrace a bit of nostalgia while watching “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” or if you're looking for a laugh, put on “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” or “Home for the Holidays.” If you really want to fast–forward into the December holiday season, maybe “Home Alone” or “Miracle on 34th Street” are the right picks for you. 

At the end of the day take a moment of reflection to appreciate your friends, family, everything you're grateful for. 


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