Holidays

9 Thanksgiving Alternatives You Can Celebrate This Week

If the day’s history makes you uncomfortable, here’s what else you can observe.

The National Day of Mourning is one Thanksgiving alternative you can observe if the holiday makes yo...
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In elementary school, like many of us, I was taught that Thanksgiving was a beautiful moment in our country’s history. Friendly white people sailed over on the Mayflower and befriended the Natives who taught them how to hunt and grow crops. The two groups celebrated their new friendship with a three-day feast that included turkeys, corn, and potatoes, and they all lived in harmony for years to come. It was a great story, filled with struggle and triumph. Unfortunately, that's just a myth.

Actually, the first Thanksgiving was likely a celebratory dinner in 1637 following what's now known as the Pequot Massacre. After killing over 700 men, women, and children of the Pequot Tribe, Governor John Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared the next day it was “a day of thanksgiving and celebration for subduing the Pequots.”

So, understandably, there are some people who choose not to observe Thanksgiving, given that the real story is rarely told. If you choose not to have a Thanksgiving feast, there are other ways to spend the day, the following day, or even the week. Below, you’ll find nine Thanksgiving alternatives you can check out, from National Day Of Mourning protests to The Indigenous Peoples Sunrise Ceremony.

1

National Day Of Mourning

The National Day of Mourning is an annual protest held on Thanksgiving Day. Protesters acknowledge the historical and current suffering of Native American people. The protest is held in Plymouth, Massachusetts at noon. If you can't make it to the physical protests, you can still stand in solidarity by teaching others about Native American history.

2

Unthanksgiving Day

Also known as The Indigenous Peoples Sunrise Ceremony, Unthanksgiving Day happens each year on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. Participants honor indigenous peoples and promote their civil rights. Unthanksgiving Day is currently only in San Francisco, but consider creating your own Unthanksgiving Day in your city if you can't make it out to the Bay.

3

National Day of Listening

National Day of Listening falls on the day after Thanksgiving. Instead of celebrating Thanksgiving, you can broaden your perspective by listening to someone who is a member of a marginalized group.

4

Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month. Instead of celebrating the myth of Thanksgiving, visit a museum or library to learn about Native American history and culture.

5

Restorative Justice Week

Restorative Justice Week is observed every year during the third week of November in Canada, but you can easily learn about restorative justice from home. Restorative justice is a philosophy that rethinks crime and seeks to find ways to resolve the harm done by crime. Learn more about how to reduce harm in families, neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces this November.

6

National Family Week

Many people enjoy Thanksgiving because they get to spend time with family. National Family Week (Nov. 21-27) is all the positive aspects of Thanksgiving and none of the negative. Break out the photo album and home videos and enjoy the much-needed quality time.

7

National Game & Puzzle Week

The holidays are really about having fun with loved ones. Pretend like it's the ‘90s and play Monopoly and Uno this National Game and Puzzle Week (Nov. 21-27).

8

National Farm-City Week

Farmers grow a lot of the food you consume, but do you know how they do it? Visit a local farm to chat with a farmer Nov. 17-24 during National Farm-City Week.

Editor's note: This story has been updated from its original version.