Heading home for Thanksgiving break can afford some much-needed time away from campus stress. However, not all of us have the luxury of traveling for only a two-day vacation, especially with winter break right around the corner. For those of you who are staying on campus this Turkey Day, we’ve compiled a list of the 5 best ways to celebrate in Evanston.

1. Befriend a faculty member.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user hinnosaar

It’s not uncommon for professors and staff members to invite students they’ve gotten to know over the course of the quarter to their family’s Thanksgiving if they find out the student has nowhere to go. It might be too late to start buttering up a professor you’ve never talked to before, but if you’ve already gotten to know one, casually mentioning that you’re staying on campus for Thanksgiving can’t hurt. If you live in a residential college, your fellows are often eager to get to know their residents, so strike up a conversation before Thursday.

2. Host a Friendsgiving, even with new friends.

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If you live in a dorm, you definitely aren’t going to be the only one staying there over Thanksgiving instead of going home. Chances are a lot of your fellow residents are in the same situation. Find out who else is staying on campus, through word of mouth or your dorm’s Facebook page, and plan your own Thanksgiving dinner. It doesn’t have to be fancy. There are plenty of simple Thanksgiving recipes you can make in your own dorm kitchen.

3. Venture into Chicago.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user hinnosaar.

There are plenty of events happening downtown this Thanksgiving, and if you’re staying on campus you have nothing holding you back from checking out any of them. If you’re an early riser, head downtown for the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade, then treat yourself to dinner at one of the best Chicago restaurants open on Thanksgiving Day.

4. Find a campus event.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user notahipster

Some campus organizations offer events for students staying on campus for the holiday. Most notably, the NU Quest Scholars host a campus-wide Thanksgiving dinner each year, with more information to come on this year’s event. So pay attention to your Facebook invites in the next couple weeks, and you might find a place to get a free meal on Thanksgiving.

5. Volunteer!

Photo courtesy of Flickr user bsabarnowl

Once your own Thanksgiving festivities, use your free time to help those less fortunate. Check out Evanston and Chicago food banks, soup kitchens, shelters and the Salvation Army to find ways to give back on Thanksgiving. The warm, fuzzy feeling you get from helping others will definitely put you in the holiday spirit.