Since I've started at UT Dallas, Thanksgiving has reminded me of one aspect of my life, in particular, I am thankful for, that is to be fortunate enough to go home and spend this holiday with my family.

However, if you are unable to make it home this year and have to spend the holiday on campus, there are multiple ways to fill your Thanksgiving with affordable and fulfilling fun this year. 

1. Winter Wonderland in Texas? WHHHHAAAAAAAAT!?

Photo by Annie Spratt | Unsplash

anniespratt on unsplash

Nothing gets me in the spirit of the holidays more than romantic Hallmark movies. There is something charming about enjoying the brisk air among all the little things that make the Christmas season that much more real: crafts, carriages, and caroling. The Watters Creek shopping center in Allen wants to satisfy the hopeless romantic that you’re stowing away. They will be hosting an event called “Light the Night,” November 19th from 4:30pm to 6:30pm, where you can surround yourself with the sweet things we love about the holiday season. Grab a bite to eat and do a bit of Christmas shopping while you’re at it. Whether it be with a date, your family, or friends, this is a wonderful way to get excited about the ending of the semester and the coming of Christmas. Who needs to wait for Thanksgiving anyway? Visit their website for more information.

2. Gazing on the Grass

There is something liberating about outdoor movie showings. From the 23rd through the 30th of November, the NYLO Plano at Legacy will host "Movies Under the Stars". Admission is free and will be accompanied by free popcorn and hot dogs. Bring pillows, blankets, or lawn chairs and a thermos of hot soup or chili. The weather will be getting progressively colder as we enter the holidays *does a little dance*. For the list of movies that will be shown, click on this link.

3. Food Baby Prep

As we creep into the colder times of the year and hear the slightest whispers from Christmas CD’s, we (or I know I do) forget about our work-out regimens and aversion to good, old home cooking with ‘lots of butter and cheese. To fit all your chunky food baby needs, The Richardson Food Truck Park will be hosting a Thanksgiving “Pregame” November 23rd from 11am to 10pm with happy hour lasting all day. For the address and any further information, you can search “Richardson Food Truck Park” on Facebook.

4. Free Thanksgiving Meal on Campus?

Photo courtesy of UT Dallas Residential Life

On Thanksgiving Day, November 24th, UT Dallas Residential Life and the International Center will be hosting a free Thanksgiving lunch from 11am to 1pm in Residence Hall North. If you’re looking for a delicious Thanksgiving quality meal and some fellowship while remaining in town for the holidays, take a brisk walk over and enjoy! Besides, what’s better than free food and potentially new friends? Families are also welcome! The only requirement, make sure at least one person in your party has a Comet Card to present prior to chowing down.

Photos courtesy of Sarah Amberson

5. How To Lose That Holiday Heft

After satisfying your dietary desires, why not get a little exercise? Studio 22 in Dallas will be hosting an Argentine Tango afternoon social dance November 25th from 12pm to 4pm. The cost is 10 dollars per person, but most clubs that offer dancing, like Red River, can cost upwards of 20 dollars. With soft drinks and small snacks being provided, this event is a cheap and great way to work on your moves, share the holiday spirit, and just have fun. Their website has an additional list of dance events that will be going on throughout the week of Thanksgiving as well.

NOTE: Don’t forget about our access to the DART and Comet Cruiser as students, as well as ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. If all you want is to have family or friends over and cook for them, or even eat yourself into a food coma, take a trip to Walmart and buy everything your little busy-bee heart longs for to eat on a day as wonderful and filled with food as Thanksgiving.