Thanksgiving Break: College Edition

Nylah Powell | Staff Writer

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Courtesy of Leenika Belfield-Martin

Thanksgiving is pretty much the same for many families: feast on a homemade dinner, catch up and celebrate with family and express gratitude. There’s no doubt that Thanksgiving with family is delicious and exciting; but for college students who can’t make it home for the holiday break, there are alternative versions.

One of the best ways to show your appreciation is to give back to the community.

Donate clothes to a local shelter, send a letter or package to a veteran or volunteer to help those in need. “Back home I volunteered for a shelter where I served food to the homeless. It was fun and definitely made me feel good,” said freshman Justina Johnson.

If this sounds like something you’re interested in, try finding community service opportunities in the area, whether it be on or off campus.

Bring out the markers and paper, because decorating the dorm is another alternative. Tap into your creativity and get into the holiday spirit by enhancing your dorm room with pictures of pumpkins and turkeys.

This would pass a lot of time, make your room stand out over all the rest and get everyone in the mood for the holidays.

An additional option would be checking out a new movie. Local movie theaters include Cinema Café and AMC Hampton Towne Centre 24. You could even host a movie night on campus with your friends.

Make some popcorn and turn on Netflix for a relaxing night. This more laid-back alternative is inexpensive and feasible; you can’t go wrong with a movie night.

A relaxing event like this is something that college students don’t often get to enjoy with the demand of daily assignments and schedules. Take advantage of the extra leisure time.

Have you ever thought of hosting a potluck? Invite guests and have them bring whatever dish they choose.

To make it more interesting, have them bring non-traditional Thanksgiving food and see what everyone comes up with.

“My friends and I had a potluck once when my mom went out of town. Everyone brought something completely different than the other foods and it made it really fun. I would definitely do that again,” said freshman Kennedi Jackson.

Instead of macaroni and cheese, try potato casserole. Instead of sweet potato pie, eat red velvet cupcakes. The options are endless. If you want to stick to the basics, you could go grocery shopping and cook a traditional meal for your guests.

Celebrating Thanksgiving can be as simple as having a game night. Common games such as Uno, Cards Against Humanity or Spades can turn a boring night into an enjoyable one. Take a group of people to the game room in the Student Center and play games of ping-pong, foosball, Pac-Man, and more.

If games aren’t really your forte, another on campus amenity is the Hampton University Museum.

The museum is an institution unique to the campus and a national reserve.

It is the oldest African-American museum in the United States, featuring several cultures of art and objects relating to the history of Hampton. Take a tour and gain an appreciation for the school’s history.

Of course, when people think about Thanksgiving, exercise isn’t usually a correlation. However, many major cities and towns have Turkey Trot races each year.

These races are a great way to raise money for charities in need while incorporating a good workout into your day.

Thanksgiving Day, Virginia Beach is holding their 40th annual Turkey Trot, with 1-mile and 10K races held at 8:15 a.m. and 9 a.m. Go get your run on!

Finally, understand that Thanksgiving is about being thankful. “I think everyone looks forward to the food and people forget that the real reason we celebrate Thanksgiving is to express our thanks for what we have,” said Jackson.

Sometimes we’re so used to routines that we forget we don’t always have to follow the same construct. There doesn’t have to be a big extravaganza to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Simply acknowledging the things you’re thankful for is enough.

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