Thanksgiving is a time for traditions. Agonizing over planning the perfect meal. Eating turkey until you don't think you'll ever want to eat again. Family, family, and more family. Then fighting the crowds and maxing out the credit card in the most intense shopping frenzy of the year. Or, if you want to do things a little differently this year and you're in the Austin area, here's a guide to get you through Thanksgiving.

First, let Gateway Guesthouse help you with your Thanksgiving dinner. Join their Fearless Feast cooking class the Tuesday or Wednesday before the big day, and let a professional chef aid you in preparing your meal. Impress your guests with a fresh meal that you cooked yourself on Thanksgiving Day.

 

If you'd rather avoid the whole cooking process, or even the eating at home ordeal, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema will be serving a turkey dinner along with their film screenings. Share Thanksgiving with your movie-loving family this year.

 

Trade in tryptophan for endorphins on Turkey Day by participating in the TCS Turkey Trot. Choose between the 5 mile family course, a 1 mile walk, or even a kids' course to raise money for Caritas, a local charity that supports people in poverty.

 

 

Black Friday shopping has become synonymous with Thanksgiving, but that doesn't mean you have to spend your day fighting the mobs at the mall. Check out Bright Friday instead, an "alternative" shopping experience. Organized by the Amala Foundation, this family-friendly, community event presents the opportunity for Austinites to gather and support local, fair and direct trade artisans the day after Thanksgiving.

Emphasizing the giving part of Thanksgiving is the Chuy's Christmas Parade, taking place the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The one-hour parade through downtown Austin was created to raise awareness for Operation: Blue Santa, a local toy drive. Spectators bring toys with them to donate, and Santa's Helpers will collect them during the parade. Fun and a great cause are the perfect Thanksgiving combination.

Photo credits: http://www.gatewayguest.com/austin-cooking/

http://drafthouse.com/austin/the_ritz

http://thundercloud.com/turkey-trot/

https://amalafoundation.org/youth-programs/bright-friday/

http://www.chuysparade.com/parade_info.html