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Claire Easton / Staff Illustrator

For many, Thanksgiving rhymes with good food, family reunions, and awkward political discussions with extended relatives that nobody want to have. However, for the international students at Columbia and all the people who have decided not to partake in the Thanksgiving myth, Thanksgiving rhymes with an empty campus and daily quests for cheap food due to closed dining halls.

Although this might sound like a grim way to spend one’s break, not going home for Thanksgiving gives you so many opportunities to do things you never found the time to do throughout this semester! Make the most of your Thanksgiving break with this list of fun activities you could do if you are staying in the city.

1. Get a head start on studying for your finals

All your friends might be going home to their families and enjoying being spoiled by their parents after not seeing them for so long, but they will also be procrastinating and avoiding all their work. Unlike them, you can actually get any homework you got assigned for the break over and done with earlier on so you can have the rest of the break and the beginning of December to get a head start on all the studying you have to do for finals. Think of how organized and put together you will seem to all your other friends who have procrastinated their break away. Now, that is something you’ll definitely be thankful for after all your hard work pays off and you ace all your finals in December.

2. See the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Watch one of the world’s largest parades right here in New York City on Nov. 22. The parade kicks off at 9 a.m. on West 77th Street & Central Park West and travels on downwards to Columbus Circle, moving on to Sixth Avenue until it reaches Macy’s on 34th Street. Viewing and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis so you will have to plan beforehand at what time and where you will be watching the parade. Keep in mind, people usually start camping out around 6 a.m. at the kickoff location so you’ll definitely want to plan your day if you want to watch the parade.

3. Organize a “Friendsgiving” with other friends staying on campus

If you really don’t want to miss the Thanksgiving festivities, you should think of organizing a “Friendsgiving” with your other friends who are staying on campus. You could turn it into a cooking party and cook the dinner together, or simply assign each other food items to bring. Add in some activities, like some board games, arts & crafts, or a Netflix marathon to make it an even more entertaining evening!

4.Go to a winter market!

It’s still November and winter isn’t any time soon, but the Christmas markets are already in full swing in New York City! You can get a head start on your Christmas gift shopping by exploring all the different stalls and stands at the various markets around the city. These markets are also famous for their various snacking opportunities. From deconstructed hot chocolate, chimney cakes, and truffle caramel popcorn, you’ll have too many Instagram-worthy treats to post about. Some of the best holiday markets include the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park, Winterfest at the Brooklyn Museum, and the Union Square Holiday Market. It’s never too late for some Christmas festivities!

5. Go ice skating!

One of the many perks of this chilly weather is definitely the ice rinks that are finally starting to open up around the city. Organize an outing with a group of friends (or go alone if you don’t want to embarrass yourself with your beginner’s level ice skating skills). Enjoy some after-skate hot chocolate at the rink at the Winter Village at Bryant Park, admire the fall foliage at the Wollman Rink in Central Park, or go for the more typical tourist experience at the iconic Rockefeller Center ice rink.

6. Go Black Friday shopping

If you’re feeling adventurous and really want to feel the thrill of a near-death experience without having to jump off something, go Black Friday shopping! The many department stores around the city offer amazing deals that you don’t want to miss! If you still need to get that winter coat your mom has been nagging you about, this is the perfect opportunity. Just like the Thanksgiving parade, you’ll have to plan ahead for this one since people usually wake up at the crack of dawn to start lining up at store doors.

Barnard Columbia Thanksgiving Staycation
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