Thanksgiving is coming up and sadly not everyone can come home for the big family meal. What’s a college student to do if they can’t come home for the holiday? Here are a few suggestions for you or your student.
Celebrate with a friend – Maybe you can’t join your own family for the holiday but perhaps you can celebrate with a friend or roommate’s family. One of the great things about college life is that you get to see how other people live. Why not be an adopted family member for a day? Just don’t go empty handed. Great ideas for what you can contribute to the family table include cranberry sauce, a dessert you pick up at the grocery store, veggie platter, fresh fruit, or a bouquet of flowers.
Volunteer – Lots of people don’t have access to a home, family and food. Why not volunteer your services to make someone else’s holiday cheerful. Check with a local hospital or nursing home to see if they could use some visitors to play checkers or lead a sing-a-long. So many senior citizens spend holidays alone and would love your company. Many homeless shelters serve Thanksgiving dinner and could use an extra pair of hands to dish out food or wash dishes.
If you will be in the Lehigh Valley area here are some agencies that may need your help:
- New Bethany Ministries, 610-691-5602; 333 Fourth St., Bethlehem
- Trinity SK, 610-867-4741; 44 E. Market St., Bethlehem.
- Bethany Evangelical Congregational Church (Everlasting Life Ministries), 610-434-1477; 224 N. Sixth St., Allentown
- New Generation Day Care, 610-434-2456; 42 N. Seventh St., Allentown
- St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Fellowship Hall, 610-435-9065; 36 S. Eighth St., Allentown
- Safe Harbor, 610-258-5540; 536 Bushkill Dr., Easton
- Trinity Episcopal Church, 610-253-0792; 234 Spring Garden St., Easton
For more suggestions call your local Red Cross. You can reach the Red Cross in the Lehigh Valley by calling Red Cross Valley Wide Help at 610-865-4400.
Catch up – Take the time to catch up on your homework, laundry or clean your room. It’s not exciting but it will be quiet and the washing machines will be available. You can take advantage of the peace and quiet to catch up on your sleep and get ready for the rest of the semester.
Explore – During the school year students don’t always have time to explore the city they live and study in. Take advantage of the museums, parks, concerts or libraries that may be available.
Host a gathering – Maybe you can’t host a traditional Thanksgiving dinner but you can host a gathering of other students who are still in the dorm. How about a holiday movie marathon or a game night where everyone brings his or her favorite board game? Be creative.
Visit a local mom/pop restaurant with friends – What a great time to get a few friends together and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner at a local mom & pop restaurant. You could enjoy the local cuisine and make some new friends with the employees there. If you really need the traditional turkey and stuffing, many chain restaurants serve up a great Thanksgiving meal. You might even check with some hotel restaurants. So many people travel that many hotel restaurants offer great family style Thanksgiving meal deals.
Video chat – You don’t have to miss visiting with the family on Thanksgiving now that we have skype and other video chat websites. Set up a time with the family back home and visit with the whole family. If you don’t have access to a computer then make a call and let everyone pass the phone around so you can say hi to everyone including great-Aunt Ann.
Most of all don’t forget to count your blessings this Thanksgiving. It might feel lonely to away from family on the holiday but having a family that misses you, the ability to get an education, food and shelter is not something everyone enjoys.