It’s Wednesday, Nov. 25, and everyone in your dorm is saying their goodbyes and packing up their stuff as they vividly describe the Thanksgiving meal they are about to have. You, on the other hand, haven’t touched your suitcase since you moved in and have no idea what your future Thanksgiving meal will look like — because you’re not going home.
While this may seem like a bleak situation at first, chin up. You have a half a week to do whatever you want, without any parents to chime in. I propose the following schedule, which obviously is flexible to include any special plans you have.
Pre-Break: During the stressful few days before break, jot down all the things that you’ve been meaning to do but haven’t had the time for, like watching a certain movie or updating the pictures on your wall. Northwestern Thanksgivings were made for these kinds of things. Also, chat up your dorm-mates to see who else is staying over break — having a friend or two will turn the next few days from merely bearable into a Thanksgiving to remember.
Wednesday: Take the Metra to Bucktown (you’ll marvel at how much faster it is than the Purple Line) and explore for the evening. Chances are you’ll find an attractive dinner option — take it! Eating in Evanston will only make you miss your grandma’s famous peach cobbler.
If you want to make the trek all the way downtown, pass by 10Pin Bowling Lounge, located at 330 N. State Street: if you’re one of the first 10 people to get three strikes in a row, you’ll win a free Thanksgiving turkey.
Thursday: Veg out. Grab some friends and fulfill the truly American tradition of sitting in front of the television watching football (alternated occasionally with the parade) for longer than any person should. Or watch the parade in person at the 76th McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade: be sure to set your alarm to guarantee a prime viewing spot — the parade starts at 8 a.m. When you need a break, go grocery shopping and attempt to re-create a few Thanksgiving classics. If the results aren’t delicious, they’ll at least be humorous.
If you’re more of the active type, head down to Lincoln Park to participate in the annual Turkey Trot 8K Run and Walk — the fee is $30, and will benefit those who can’t afford their own Thanksgiving dinner.
Friday: Stimulate our economy and go shopping. It’s Black Friday, and it’s what you would be doing if you were at home anyway. Go to a typical Chicago shopping mecca, like Water Tower Place on Michigan Avenue to experience a true Black Friday. If you make it down to Millennium Park, visit Santa at the Daley Plaza and ask him for A’s on all your finals. At 6 p.m., enjoy a caroling performance at the Bean. End your exhausting trip with a movie, but catch it in Evanston for a significantly cheaper ticket.
Saturday: Take the day to explore some of Chicago’s lesser-known neighborhoods. After your ultimate tourist-y Black Friday at all the typical Chicago stops, this will be a nice change of pace. Try Ukranian Village or Andersonville for a fantastic array of eclectic eats and shops.
Sunday: Clean. No, not your room…yourself. Get that haircut you’ve been putting off since school started, and if you happened to be frugal on Black Friday, then treat yourself to a quick massage. Remember that list of activities you’ve been putting off? Now’s the perfect time to catch up on old episodes of Glee or The Office.
Monday: As your friends recount their delicious Thanksgiving meals, be sure to talk enthusiastically about what a great, relaxing, parent-free weekend you had — I guarantee more than a few people will be jealous.