Thanksgiving Activities To Keep The Gratitude Going

By Songling Chen and Patrick Thomas |

With the Thanksgiving break in full swing, you might be feeling stressed or frustrated about your progress in your graduate studies. Around this time of year, some folks might make students feel guilty for being stressed or for needing to take a break, but you won’t find that here. On the contrary, stress and frustration are natural emotions almost all graduate students feel in some capacity throughout their careers. These feelings are normal and are bound to happen when you invest a lot of time and effort into your work. When you start to notice these emotions building, that’s when you know it’s time to take a break.  


[Image Description: A Lego man sits working on a laptop, growing increasingly frustrated as he smashes his hands on the keyboard before finally throwing the laptop across the room.]

Pictured: A visual representation of your inner feelings right now


The next time you feel frustrated with your progress, take a look back at how far you’ve come. Have gratitude for yourself as well as the time and honest effort you've invested into reaching this point of your educational journey. If you’re finding it difficult to have gratitude for yourself, take a break from your work and write a list of five things or people you are grateful for. Whether it be friends, family, or your department’s cohort: you probably have people in your corner supporting you. Graduate school can be a long ordeal and sometimes it takes having gratitude for things as small as getting along with your cohort to can make your frustrations feel smaller.


[Image Description: Lilo, from Lilo and Stitch, standing in her hallway saying: 'Ohana' means family! And family means no one gets left behind...or forgotten.]

Pictured: How you feel about your cohort


While a little stress may be healthy, we still want you to be able to manage your stress productively. To that end, we’ve listed some local holiday-themed activities that will help you de-stress:


Free Activities

1. UCR International Affairs Thanksgiving Dinner for International Students Only

  • When: Tuesday, November 26, 2019 at 5:15pm – 7:00pm
  • Where: HUB 302
  • **Space is limited, so be sure to RSVP early!

[Image Description: Cory Baxter, from That's So Raven, pulls on the waistband of his stretchy sweatpants as he says, "I've got on my eating pants." 

Pictured: How you should prepare for a Thanksgiving meal

2. Lincoln Park Thanksgiving Dinner (November 22)

  • This is a free event co-sponsored by the Lincoln Park Neighborhood Group. It is an opportunity for you to celebrate thanksgiving dinner with friends and neighbors.


3. 27th Annual Festival of Lights at The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa (Starting November 29)

  • Go to the Mission Inn during their free, five-week-long holiday extravaganza featuring one of the nation's largest holiday light collections of its kind. Now in its 27th year, the Festival of Lights is an annual gift to the community from property owners Duane and Kelly Roberts, who saved the historic hotel from destruction in 1992.


4. UCR Holiday Sweets (December 6)

  • If you have a sweet tooth and are in the spirit to enjoy some jolly treats, then this is the class for you. Get your jingle on by making tasty desserts that you can take to your holiday parties. 

[Image Description: A young boy dips a treat into a fondue pot full of melted chocolate. The boy gasps in exaggerated excitement at the sight of the chocolate.]

Pictured: How we all should react to chocolate


5. UCR Music - Holiday Carillon Recital (December 14)

  • Ring in the season with traditional holiday music both sacred and popular, on UCR’s magnificent 48-bell carillon.


Fees May Apply

1. Riverside Turkey Trot (November 28)

  • If you need to stretch your legs, the Riverside Turkey Trot will give you a chance to do so. You can do a 5, 10, 15 K run or a 1 K walk through the historic streets of Riverside. Registration can be found here.

[Image Description: An animated cooked turkey standing on its drumsticks while bobbing up and down and waving its arms in a little dance.]

Pictured: A turkey, trotting 


2. Riverside Festival of Trees (November 29-December 1)

  • Festival of Trees is organized by the Riverside University Health System (RUHS). It is an opportunity for you to give back to the community while enjoying beautiful holiday trees, sparkling lights, and the warm company of friends.


3. Riverside Reindeer Run (December 8)

  • Rudolph won’t be the only one running through Riverside this December. Dash into the holidays at the Riverside Reindeer Run Half Marathon, 5k and Kids Run on Dec. 8, 2019. This scenic course will be sprinkled with a flurry of holiday cheer including carolers at the finish line, Santa Claus appearances and the “Santa Lane”– a section of the course filled with holiday music, decorations and entertainment. Registration can be found here.

[Image Description: Claymation Santa rides on the back of a claymation reindeer. The reindeer runs across a paved road, leaps over a fence, and into the sky.]

Pictured: Santa, planning on winning that reindeer run


4. Holiday Wreaths Design at Nordstrom – The Galleria at Tyler (December 12)

  • Celebrate the Holiday Season with a fresh evergreen wreath workshop!


Los Angeles (Fees may apply)

1. Knott’s Merry Farm (November 22-January 5)

  • Every winter, Knott’s Berry Farm celebrates the merriest of seasons as the park transforms into Knott’s Merry Farm, a Christmas celebration for all ages. Spend the most wonderful time of the year with your family at Knott’s Merry Farm enjoying holiday attractions, live entertainment, a Christmas Crafts Village, festive food, lavish holiday decorations, and nightly snow in Ghost Town.


2. Citadel Outlet Moonlight Madness (November 28, 8 PM-November 29, 11 PM)

  • Citadel Outlets’ Moonlight Madness sale will provide you with an all-night, 27-hour shopping experience. In addition, they have the World’s Tallest Live-Cut Christmas Tree adorned with over 18,000 twinkling lights.

[Image Description: Shay Mitchell holding multiple bags in her arms, more bags hanging from her shoulders. She smiles wide and saunters out of view.]

Pictured: You, with all your shopping finds


3. The Hollywood Christmas Parade (December 1)

  • The HOllywood Christmas Parade is an annual parade that takes place on the Sunday after Thanksgiving in the Hollywood community in Los Angeles. The parade follows a 3.5-mile (5.6 km) route along Hollywood Boulevard, then back along Sunset Boulevard and features various celebrities among its participants.


Want to go to Los Angeles but don’t have a car? You have several options:

1. You may take Metrolink, which is Southern California's regional passenger rail system.

2. Find a carpool buddy:

  • UC Riverside has partnered with Zimride and Waze Carpool.  Choose to drive or ride, and match with people based on route and time of day.
  • Zimride can help you share the seats in your car or catch a ride into work. Visit UC Riverside's network on Zimride.
  • Waze Carpool can also help you find someone to share the ride with to campus. Download the Waze Carpool app (iOS/Android) and be sure to add your campus email address to your profile so that you are matched with others in the UCR community.

3. If you have a valid driver's license, you may rent a car with Zipcar as well as other car rental companies.

[Image Description: A corgi wears a box with a circle cut out of it for the corgi's head to fit through. Wearing this box, the corgi runs around the corner of a couch. Written above the image are the words: Your Uber has arrived.]

Pictured: Uber, waiting to hear who's a good boy