Thanksgiving Cheats: Where Westchester Families Can Score Some (or All!) of Thanksgiving Dinner

Turkey Day is coming—and we all know what that means! More appetizers, main courses, side dishes and desserts served up in one meal than most people are normally able to cook in a week.

No knife skills skills? No time? No kitchen? No problem! Westchester is full of shops and restaurants ready, willing and waiting to put that turkey dinner (or vegetarian alternative!) together for you. Pick up or delivery, precooked or just prepared, this list has something for every level of commitment.

And if you're already thinking about how to stay active this time of year, check out our post on turkey trots and fun runs happening throughout Westchester. And don't forget our November GoList for more fun events happening all month long! 

15 Family Thanksgiving Dinner Options at NYC Restaurants

What busy New York City parent doesn't secretly hope someone else will cook Thanksgiving dinner for the family this year? Luckily, there are plenty of great NYC restaurants serving up kid-friendly Thanksgiving dining options. Whether your preference is for a traditional meal, southern style, vegetarian or even a modern, updated dinner, we've rounded up a number of options in Manhattan and elsewhere for an easy-breezy (no dishes!) Thanksgiving holiday with the family.

With all that free time, why not brave the crowds at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade or take a stroll along Fifth Avenue to check out the early holiday window displays

Holiday Craft Fair Shopping in Fairfield County

When it comes to holiday gift giving, each year I scratch my head over why our list seems longer than ever. True, there are the legions of coaches and teachers and babysitters and buddies who've gotten us through the year and smoothed out so many bumps along the way. But because I don't have Oprah's gift buying power -- no one on my list should expect a car --  and because there are only so many trays of holiday cookies I can face baking,  I turn to my default gift resource:  holiday craft fairs.  Fairfield County has a treasure trove of them. (Also check out our Holiday Guide.) Holiday craft fairs are where I love to find one-of-a-kind, handcrafted items, that are useful and decorative, as well as homemade specialty foods and treats that easily eclipse anything I can make. Oh, and another bonus of shopping at holiday craft fairs? Lots of jolly, holiday spirit.

Restaurants Open for Thanksgiving Dinner in New Jersey

Thanksgiving dinner is a big undertaking. There’s the turkey, the stuffing and all that dessert! And let’s not forget about the massive after-dinner cleanup. It’s hard enough to be a mom, work and take care of the kids -- let alone get a complex and time-consuming holiday dinner on the table. Luckily, you don’t have to! Be thankful, because there are lots of restaurants open in NJ on Turkey Day. So, sit back and enjoy the party… don’t worry, they won’t make you do the dishes. Of course, if you’d rather be home, but don’t want the hassle of cooking, try out some of these Thanksgiving crafts with the family and order up some turkey takeout. And to always be "in the know" about great family-friendly activities in NJ, subscribe to our free weekly newsletter.

Zip Line Adventures in SoCal for Kids Who Long To Fly

If you're raising a kid who loves a good rush of adrenaline, and roller coasters barely scratch the surface, maybe it's time for a family outing in the tree tops. Zip lining is a thrilling, exciting, and safe activity that is great for adventurous kids and their parents. There are several zip line locations around Southern California, and most feature a a 2–3 hour tour with several different lines. 

The locations below are all day trips or weekend trips from LA. It is possible to zip a bit closer to home with some advance planning; Malibu's Shalom Institute has a zip line in the woods, available for use at any of its annual festivals (like the Family Hanukkah Festival), and Ventura Ranch Campground near Santa Paula has a fairly thrilling zip line available for camping guests.

Volunteering with Kids in Fairfield County

With all the getting that goes on this time of year, you have to be intentional to get your kids to understand the importance of giving as well.  If you'd like to go beyond the family gift exchange to teach your kids about the needs in their community, there are several ways to do it here in Fairfield County -- even if they're quite young. For those in Litchfield County and Hartford County, we've listed some options for volunteering with kids there as well.

All Aboard The Polar Express: Christmas Train Rides Near Boston

What is it about trains and Christmas? The two have become inextricably linked, especially since The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg's picture book about believing in the magic of Christmas, began capturing the hearts and imaginations of kids and adults alike. During the holidays, train rides complete with hot chocolate and visits with Santa bring Christmas train stories like The Polar Express to life for all who believe.

Although we could make the trek to New Hampshire's White Mountains for a magical Christmas train experience, we have plenty of delightful options much closer to Boston. The seats fill up very quickly, though, so we recommend getting your golden tickets now.

Best Things To Do with NYC Kids: November GoList

Get your calendars ready! Here are the top 14 things to do with kids in New York City this November, eight of which are FREE.

While Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade may be the month's main event, it's certainly not the only must-do outing to put on your family calendar. November is when high-end department stores unveil those festive holiday windows, spectacular light displays go up in Dyker Heights and other festive neighborhoods, and Santa flies into town for a month-long stay at Macy's Santaland. And if you already feel your inner Scrooge coming on, don't worry: There are some fantastic non-holiday events for families, too, like the opening of the American Museum of Natural History's new interactive installation The Secret World Inside You, a high-energy concert by two-time Grammy nominee Justin Roberts and the Brooklyn Museum's annual Children's Book Fair.

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