Thanksgiving Celebrations in the DC Metro

While most people celebrate Thanksgiving at home with their families, there are some large celebrations for the holiday.  Here’s a quick run-down of some of the Thanksgiving events going on in the DC Metro this Thanksgiving.

There are many different restaurants in the area that will be open and serving Thanksgiving meals on November 25th.  If you don’t want to cook, you might want to visit one of these great restaurants and let someone else handle the dishes!

  • 701 Restaurant
  • Adour
  • Ardeo
  • Bibiana Osteria-Entoeca
  • 1789 Restaurant
  • Bourbon Steak
  • Carmines
  • Citronelle
  • J & G Steahouse
  • Old Ebbitt Grill
  • Oval Room
  • Spirit of Washington

There also a number of places that offer a “Thanksgiving to Go” package.  Put in your order, pick up the meal, and head home to enjoy it with your family.  A few of the places offering meals to go include the following:

  • Georgia Browns
  • Carmines
  • Balduccis
  • Safeway
  • Whole Foods Market
  • Ritz Carlton
  • Cityhouse

Turkey Trots, the festive name for marathons and other run/walk events, are held during this time of year.  These events are scheduled throughout the week.  For example, the Cranberry Crawl will take place on November 19th at the East Potomac Golf Course, while the Thanksgiving Day Trot for Hunger is held on Thanksgiving Day at the Freedom Plaza.  There are many others, including events in Alexandria, Arlington, Leesburg, and Centreville.  Most of these runs are benefitting charity.

If you’re in or near Reston, you might want to attend their annual holiday parade on November 25th, the day after Thanksgiving.  It begins at 11:00 am at the corner of Market Street and Freedom Drive.  Santa will stop by for photos, and the official Christmas tree will be lit at 6:00 pm.

The National Harbor Christmas Tree Lighting is also on Friday.  It starts at 5:00 at the Waterfront Plaza.


Early Thanksgiving Preparations

What, prepare for Thanksgiving already?!  November just started!  Well, that is true, but do you really want to be running around like crazy on November 23rd?  It’s really no fun realizing you’re missing cranberries the day before (or the morning of) Thanksgiving, so start preparing now and you’ll avoid this type of last-minute panic.

Get a guest list together.  While it is still a little early, most people have an idea of where they are spending Thanksgiving.  If you’re hosting the holiday, you’ll certainly want to know how many people will be coming.  Ask early, and be sure to ask again the week before if anyone is uncertain.  One or two extra guests isn’t that bad; five or six can mean a shortage of food.

Make a menu.  If you know exactly what you’ll be serving on the big day, you can do all of your shopping the weekend before.  Also, you’ll be able to more easily delegate a side dish or dessert to guests who ask if they can bring anything.

Plan your shopping.  Go ahead and pick up dry goods a week or so in advance—they’re not going to go bad.  Save that day-before trip for only the essentials.  You’ll be glad to get in and out of the busy store.  Also go ahead and pick up Thanksgiving-themed napkins and paper plates if you’ll be using them.  These items do sometimes sell out.

Decorate.  For some people, this just means a centerpiece.  For others, it means going all-out with turkeys and pilgrims.  Whatever you do, plan it out and do it early.  If you’re going to order flowers for your centerpiece, you can make the order now and have them delivered closer to Thanksgiving.

The Week of Thanksgiving

Do your baking early.  Some things, like cookies and pies, can be baked a day or two early.  They’ll still taste just as good!

Delegate the cleaning.  If you’re married, assemble the troops (aka the spouse and children) and give them specific cleaning tasks to do the day or two before the holiday.  If you’re not, set a goal for each day of the week.  Clean bedrooms and other areas where your guests most likely won’t be first.  That way, if they do get a little messy again before Thanksgiving, you can give them a quick once-over and have them looking good.

Thanksgiving Events in the DC Metro 2010

Thanksgiving is Here!

Thanksgiving is Here!

Thanksgiving is almost here!  Wondering what to do in the DC area?  Here’s a list of some of the top rated events going on in the metro on Thanksgiving and the days before and after it.

There are a number of different Turkey Trots in the area.  What’s a Turkey Trot?  It’s basically a marathon or other type of run (or walk, in some cases).  Some Turkey Trots are for charity, while others are just for fun or to challenge yourself.  The Thanksgiving Day Trot for Hunger begins at 8:00 am on the 25th at the West Potomac Park.  It’s a 5K run that helps raise money to fee the homeless.  Other nearby runs include the Turkey Chase in Bethesda (Nov. 25 at 8:30 am), the Alexandria Turkey Trot (Nov. 25 at 10:00 am), and the Virginia Run Turkey Trot held in Centreville (Nov. 25 at 8:00 am).

Another way to help those less fortunate is to volunteer for Thanksgiving.  There are a number of charities and kitchens in the DC metro area that are in need of help, including SOME (So Others May Eat), Food and Friends, Bread for the City, and the Capital Area Food Bank.

Ready for Christmas?  If so, attend the National Harbor Christmas Tree Lighting on November 26 at the Waterfront Plaza in National Harbor, Maryland.  The 65 foot tree will be decked out with more than 20,000 lights.  Story tellers, hot chocolate, and live holiday music will round out the evening.  Alexandria will also hold a tree lighting ceremony on the same day at the Historic Market Square.

Finally, Black Friday shopping is another great activity to do the day after Thanksgiving.  Many of the stores in the area will have great deals, but you’ve got to get up early to get them!

Need Thanksgiving flowers?  MyFlorist has many great options!

Planning a Beautiful Thanksgiving Table

Beautiful Thanksgiving Tables & Centerpieces

Beautiful Thanksgiving Tables

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to celebrate family and be thankful for our blessings. It can be enjoyable to create an atmosphere that your family will appreciate when they come to Thanksgiving dinner. Using a few simple ideas from this list, you can create a beautiful Thanksgiving table and dining room without a lot of time or effort.

A centerpiece draws the eye to the table and can set the whole tone for the room. There are many options for creating a Thanksgiving centerpiece. Use the colors and textures of the season, and bring them into the room. Try carving out a small (or a couple) pumpkins or gourds and use them as vases. Fill them with flowers (such as mums, sunflowers) add a few sprigs of fall leaves or a couple pinecones or berries and you will have a beautiful centerpiece. Or, just use a small pretty dish filled with a few pinecones, acorns, leaves, and berries for an even simpler look.  If you are rushed for time, consider ordering a fresh flower centerpiece from your florist.

Tablecloths and Runners.
When choosing a tablecloth or runner for the table, use autumn colors. You can set the look of your table with this, depending on the type of material you choose. If you want a more formal look, pick a more tailored material. If you are looking for a country style, maybe you would choose a plaid material or skip the runner altogether. Browns, oranges, golden wheat, and reds are perfect for creating a Thanksgiving look on your table.

Placemats & Napkins.
Find matching napkins and placemats that fit the theme or your runner if you are using them on the table. Don’t forget to tie the napkins with something that is reminiscent of fall. Use a bit of raffia with an acorn or pinecone attached to it for a perfect look.

Name Tags.
If you choose to use nametags for your table, you can easily create them out of heavy card stock. Either type or print the person’s name on the card, and then add a bit of Thanksgiving embellishment. You could add a tiny leaf in the corner, or a turkey, or whatever design ‘fits’ with the theme of your Thanksgiving table.

Dishes and Serving Pieces.
There are beautiful sets of plates and dishes available in many shapes and sizes, and if you can find some that are in the colors of autumn, that would add a very nice touch to the table. Check out your local department stores and discount stores to see if there are pieces you could use, or maybe a whole set. It is worth taking a look at.

Window Treatments.
You can add a bit more Thanksgiving into the room by adding color to your window treatments. Since most of us can’t afford to change our treatments with the seasons, add a string of beads either horizontally or vertically against your window, depending on the type of treatment you have. Or add Thanksgiving Garland across the top of the window for a different Thanksgiving look.

Candles on the table and around the room add warmth and coziness during Thanksgiving. You can either mix them in with the centerpiece or you can set them on the buffet. When you choose candles, make sure you pick colors that reflect autumn, but try to burn scent free candles. You don’t want the scent of the candle to mix with the food on Thanksgiving. The dinner should give the house a wonderful smell by itself.

If you have pictures or artwork on your wall in the dining room, consider changing one or two of the pieces with a couple fall wreaths. Wreaths add beauty and depth to a room and are relatively inexpensive. Check out your local discount stores and add a few embellishments to the wreath if necessary.

If you have a chandelier in the room, try draping garland around it, or hanging pinecones tied from fishing string from the bottom of it. Experiment with different looks to get just the right finishing touch for your Thanksgiving table.

By using some of these tips you will create an unforgettably beautiful Thanksgiving table and dinner for your family!

Kathryn Mitschelen
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