With Thanksgiving less than a week away, it’s time to give thanks for what we can do, even in 2020.

Here are few ideas for celebrating the holiday, whether you prefer to be thankful outdoors or inside your home or both.


Congratulations, you get to set the start time for your own Turkey Trot this year!

Sure, it won’t be the same as the annual Turkey Trot the Grand Junction Firefighters Foundation usually hosts, but it can still offer the pre-dinner calorie-burning run or walk you’ve become accustomed to on Thanksgiving.

Enlist others in your household to plan a route, don that turkey hat like any other year and get moving.

And you also can still support the Grand Junction Firefighters Foundation by making a donation at its website, gjfffoundation.com.


Turkey trotting is all well and fine, but some of us prefer an open trail. Fortunately, there are quite a few to be thankful for around here for both those on foot or on two wheels.

Tackle Mount Garfield or take in the Lunch Loops. Wander up the Palisade Rim Trail or give the Kokopelli Trail System a ride.

If you prefer a paved trail, the Colorado Riverfront Trail has got you covered.

Before you head out, put an eye on the weather. Usually, our Western Colorado skies are blue, but rain and snow do come up, so plan accordingly.

And speaking of snow, there are 31 miles or cross country ski trails on Grand Mesa. Accessible with either Nordic skis or snowshoes, there are plenty of beautiful views and terrain just off Colorado Highway 65 in the Skyway, County Line and Ward trail systems.

Hiking: visitgrandjunction.com/hiking-trails. Biking: copmoba.org. Nordic: gmnc.org.


Plenty of variations on this idea can be found online, but the gist is the same: Share what you are thankful for.

On a large sheet of paper — newspaper end rolls are ideal for this — draw a tree. It need not be fancy, just a trunk and branches.

Cut leaf shapes from orange, yellow and red construction paper.

On one side of a leaf write down something you are thankful for. Place tape on the other side of the leaf and attach it to the tree. Add as many leaves as you want because there can never be too much thankfulness.

This Thankfulness Tree can be created in the days leading up to Thanksgiving or as an activity for the holiday itself and has the side benefit of keeping youngsters busy for a little while.


Another way of having fun and keeping people occupied as the Thanksgiving meal is prepared is to design a Thanksgiving Day scavenger hunt.

Come up with a list of items, Thanksgiving related or not, that must be collected, brought back and shared at a designated time. A leaf, a cranberry, a certain signature, an orange sock — the list is yours to make.

Another option is to make this into a photo or video scavenger hunt. Items to be found could include the turkey being carved, a song being dramatically delivered or the dog doing a specific trick.

To take it up yet another level, involve family or friends who you plan to chat with online during the holiday.

Send them the scavenger hunt list beforehand, then share the results during that Thanksgiving Day Zoom, Google Meet or Facetime call.


You may be miles away from the family or friends you usually spend Thanksgiving with, but you can still eat together in a way.

Roast, saute or mix up the same recipes for Thanksgiving dinner. This requires some organizing and recipe sharing beforehand, but it also means more than one cook can get involved. For example, the kids could be put in charge of one or two dishes and the adults in charge of others.

At an appointed dinner hour, each household gets online for a video call and to eat the Thanksgiving meal together ... and to dish on how the cooking went.


While we’re on the subject of getting together with family and friends online, let’s throw in a game.

Games such as Charades, Scattergories, Taboo or Would You Rather are just some that could be modified to play online.

Pick one your group likes — plenty of other ideas can be found in a quick online search — and give it a go.


This hasn’t been the easiest year, so some have found it more inspiring to celebrate Thanksgiving by decorating for Christmas.

Go for it!

And while you’re at it, fit in this suggestion for mixing the two holidays: Write a Christmas letter or card to someone you are thankful for.

He or she may be someone you just spoke with over the phone or someone who will be completely surprised to receive a letter.

Even in the age of Zoom, and especially since there is a pandemic, receiving an actual letter is exciting. It’s tangible, physical and something to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!

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