Although I already know that some of y'all are gonna make a traditional Thanksgiving happen, come hell or highwater, pandemic or not, if you're someone who, whether it's due to social distancing preferences, your finances being on the fritz or both, would prefer to be way more low-key this year, a twist that you can put on Thanksgiving festivities, is to stay home with your boo and make a romantic day and night out of it.
It's pretty easy to pull off and doesn't have to cost you much money at all. In fact, you might just check out my 10 tips and then come to the conclusion that you should've been observing Thanksgiving, exactly in this fashion, all along.
1. Prepare the Meal Two Days Before
Out of all of the romantic tips that I offer in this article, this might be the best one. Thanks (yet no thanks) to how romantic movies typically present things, sometimes we fail to forget that romance can—and should—have a level of practicality to it.
That said, I don't know anyone who would be in the mood to be all lovey-dovey-mushy after spending all day long in the kitchen. That's why my first recommendation would be to prepare your Thanksgiving meal a couple of days before the holiday itself. That way, all you'll have to do on Thursday is heat up the food and set the table. Now how awesome is that?
2. Get Up Late and Have Breakfast in Bed
Another reason why I highly recommend preparing your Thanksgiving dinner ahead of time is so you won't have to get up early on Thanksgiving Day. It takes roughly 13 minutes per pound for a turkey alone to bake, so if you wait until Thursday to cook, you are gonna have to get up early, just to prep your bird alone. But if your food is already basically ready, you and yours can sleep in, watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and have something that I recently happened upon that is a definite decadent palate game-changer! What do y'all know about Apple Pie Stuffed French Toast (recipe is here)? You know what they say—the smoother your day begins, the easier your day will go. Some extra zzz's, a late breakfast and perhaps even some morning sex can truly make this Thanksgiving one of the best yet!
3. Go All Out on the Table Décor
When it comes to having a romantic Thanksgiving dinner, if there's one area where I think you should definitely go all out, it's when it comes to how you decorate your table. Use a linen or lace tablecloth. Pull out your finest plates and wine glasses. How about a couple of linen napkins and a centerpiece for the table (even if it's just some roses in a fishbowl)? Basically, set your table to look like a five-star restaurant. Ambiance is key when you want to be as romantic as possible.
Speaking of ideas for your table, one I saw, that I thought was simply beautiful, featured some champagne flutes that were turned upside down and had a flower (without the stem) underneath the glass. Then, the base of each glass had a tealight candle on the top of it. Easy, inexpensive and very romantic too.
4. Use Nothing but Scented Soy Candles for Your Lighting
Did you know that there's a science behind why a lot of us find candlelight to be so wonderful? It's because the flame of the candle is able to reduce stress and put us into a meditative state. Plus, it's sexy as all get out. So, when you're out making your runs, stop by a local arts and crafts store (avoid Hobby Lobby if you can; they are big time Trump supporters) and get yourself a couple of packets of soy (soy lasts longer and burns cleaner) scented tea lights or even some taper candles (they're the long ones)—or both. Then, once everything is out on the table, light the candles and turn out all of the overhead lighting. Good luck making it through dinner without moving all of the dishes out of the way and getting on the table yourself with that kind of setup.
As far as scents that will totally put you in the romantic mood—rose, vanilla, sandalwood, jasmine, lavender, cinnamon and pumpkin are all great libido-boosting suggestions.
5. Play Some Romantic Music in the Background
Earlier this year, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, "Before You Pull Out Your Playlist, This Is How Music Affects Your Sex Life". One of the things I mentioned is the fact that music has the ability to affect us in the same way that food and sex does. Well, since I'm hoping that you'll get plenty of food and coitus before Thanksgiving Day is over, find a music playlist that can serve as the soundtrack for what you have in mind. You can never go wrong with 90s R&B (like…ever) yet whatever you decide, just make sure that it's super soft, sexy and sensual.
6. Dress Way Up or WAY DOWN
I've been teasing my godchildren's mother because, sometimes when I'm doing a Google Hangout call with my babies, I notice that the youngest one (who is just about a year-and-a-half) oftentimes looks like she's dressed for church. Whenever I ask her mom what the heck is going on, she usually says something along the lines of, "Girl, this pandemic has kept her from being able to wear all of these clothes. She's gonna wear them somewhere."
2020 has caused us all to become more interested in sweatpants and tees than probably ever before. So, why not use this Thanksgiving as an opportunity to dress to the nines? I mean going way past dressy casual; look like you're going to a ball—you in a formal dress with your man in his finest suit 'n all. Or, go to the total other extreme and wear barely nothing at all. A married male friend of mine once said to me that he prefers lingerie outside of sex. "When a woman only puts lingerie on right before sex, it feels like she's saying that's the only time we want to see her that way. When it's time to get it in, I want my wife to be naked. Lingerie just to lounge in is what's sexy AF to me." Enjoying dinner in a black lace teddy by candlelight with some Joe playing in the background? C'mon, y'all.
7. Serve Aphrodisiac Appetizers
Some foods are considered to be aphrodisiacs because they balance out our hormones and/or increase blood circulation to our nether regions and/or they help to keep us in a good mood. While turkey itself is actually a food that can turn you and yours on (due to the zinc that's in it and zinc increases our sex drive), whether you decide to go all out on the menu or you end up ordering some takeout Chinese or a pizza, consider enjoying some appetizers that have an aphrodisiac twist to 'em. The Roasted Root is a site that actually features a whopping 60 recipes that all feature aphrodisiac ingredients. You can check them out here.
8. Offer Up “Why I’m So Thankful for You” Toasts
As a 'words of affirmation' (and physical touch) person myself, I wasn't shocked in the least when I read that, according to science, receiving affirmations and affirming others are important because they motivate us, encourage us, and help us to overcome any negativity that may try and bring us down. Between politics and this pandemic, if anything tried to push us to our absolute breaking point, it was 2020, and if there was ever a time when you may have been more critical towards your partner, this year may have been it. Still, after all is said and done, with only a few more weeks before a new year, you're still together and that is something to truly celebrate.
One way to do that is for you both to think about the things that you are truly grateful for; not "in general" but when it comes to your partner specifically. What do you appreciate when it comes to their approach to the relationship? What do you adore about their personality? What are you attracted to on the physical and sexual tip? What have they done to make you a better person? Why do you still choose them, again and again? After sharing the answers to these kinds of questions, toast one another. Your relationship has withstood a season that other couples did not. BE. GRATEFUL.
9. Have a Romantic Movie Night
I know it's pretty traditional to watch football on Thanksgiving. Eh, I'm not sure how romantic that move is, though. An alternative can be to watch a romantic movie together instead; something that you both wanna watch (because, even as a woman, some of these Hallmark movies and rom-coms can be a bit…much). It could be a film that you both watched together on your first date, something that brings back feels of nostalgia for you both (Love Jones never gets old for me), or something that you've never seen before so that the two of you can create some new memories together. It's a great way to wind down, enjoy some pomegranate (which is an aphrodisiac) vodka, and cuddle up together.
10. Take Dessert into the Bedroom
I'm pretty sure there's a peach cobbler, red velvet cake or chocolate brownies somewhere in that kitchen, right? Put it all on a tray and take it into your bedroom, along with some spicy hot chocolate and a few of those candles that were on your table. Whether you eat your dessert off of the plate or each other, it's the perfect way to end a Thanksgiving Day that was full of romance—and then some.
Join our xoTribe, an exclusive community dedicated to YOU and your stories and all things xoNecole. Be a part of a growing community of women from all over the world who come together to uplift, inspire, and inform each other on all things related to the glow up.
Featured image by Shutterstock
- 4 Vegan Soul Food Dishes for A Guiltless Thanksgiving - xoNecole ... ›
- 10 Delicious Ways To Repurpose Your Holiday Leftovers - xoNecole ... ›
- Repurpose Holiday Leftovers Meal Ideas - xoNecole: Women's ... ›
- 20 Recipes Perfect Thanksgiving - xoNecole: Women's Interest ... ›
- How To Have Safe Thanksgiving During COVID-19 - xoNecole ... ›
- 20 Recipes Perfect Thanksgiving - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
Take Our 2-Minute Wellness Quiz To Up Your Self-Care Game!
Black women are not a monolith. We all are deserving of healing and wholeness despite what we've been through, how much money we have in the bank, or what we look like. Most importantly, we are enough—even when we are not working, earning, or serving.
Welcome to Black Girl Whole, your space to find the wellness routine that aligns with you! This brand-new marketplace by xoNecole is a safe space for Black women to activate their healing, find the inspiration to rest, and receive reassurance that we are one small act away from finding our happiness.
Want to discover where you are on your wellness journey? You don't have to look far. In partnership with European Wax Center, we're bringing you a customized wellness quiz to help you up your wellness game. Answer our short series of questions to figure out which type of wellness lover you are, what you need to bring more balance into your life, and then go deeper by shopping products geared towards clearing your mind, healing your body, and soothing your spirit.
Ready to get whole? Take our quiz now!
What Are Intrusive Thoughts & How Do We Manage Them?
TW: some depictions of intrusive thoughts may be disturbing for readers.
Have you ever caught your mind drifting off to entertain the most disturbing scenarios imaginable? Maybe you can’t stop thinking of all the ways a loved one could pass away or worrying that you left every candle lit in your apartment to which you’d return to a home in ruins. If distressing ruminations like these have crossed your mind, you may be experiencing an intrusive thought.
What Are Intrusive Thoughts?
Intrusive thoughts are unwanted or distressing thoughts, images, or impulses that pop into your mind without your control or consent. These thoughts can be repetitive, unsettling, or even violent in nature, and can cause anxiety and frustration for those who experience them.
“Generally they're unwanted thoughts that come up in our head that interrupt what we're doing or thinking, and can feel very foreign,” says Adia Gooden, PhD, licensed clinical psychologist and host of the Unconditionally Worthy podcast. “It’s any thought that intrudes or interrupts what you are doing. They can be distressing and upsetting for us because it feels like we are not in control of them, and they're coming up out of nowhere and aren’t in line with how you normally think.”
What Causes Intrusive Thoughts?
Certain trauma or stress can contribute to the development of intrusive thoughts, so having a challenging experience from the past or current life situations may trigger them to form. “An intrusive thought could come in the form of a flashback, image, or a thought about something that's happened to you,” Dr. Gooden tells xoNecole. “When it gets to the point where you feel like you can't function or make clear decisions, that's when intrusive thoughts become really challenging.”
While some of the 1 billion videos found under the #intrusivethoughts hashtag on TikTok would lead you to believe that these thoughts are nothing more than casual displays of our imagination going untamed. Intrusive thoughts are more than sticking your hand in a soap dispenser, wanting to cut all your hair off at 3 a.m., or having a random impulse to eat fake bread in public.
The Anxiety & Depression Association of America reports that approximately six million individuals, equating to roughly two percent of the American population, encounter intrusive thoughts. Intrusive thoughts are often linked with obsessive-compulsive disorders, but they can also manifest in individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or anxiety.
Examples of Common Intrusive Thoughts
Because of the explicit nature of intrusive thoughts, they tend to cause shame and internal conflict in those who experience them. Although these thoughts can differ from person to person, these ideation can consist of:
- Violent or aggressive thoughts towards oneself or others, such as harming or killing someone;
- Sexual thoughts that are unwanted or inappropriate;
- Repetitive thoughts, such as a song or a phrase that keeps repeating in your mind;
- Contamination or germ-related thoughts or the fear of contamination and getting sick;
- Religious or blasphemous thoughts, such as questioning one's faith or having thoughts that go against religious beliefs;
- Doubts or uncertainty about one's own actions or decisions, such as fear of making a mistake or fear of not doing something right.
Intrusive Thoughts and OCD
That’s why Dr. Gooden encourages everyone to understand the difference between our fleeting thoughts and impulses and true, intrusive thoughts. “What level of distress does it cause and is it something you would never consider,” she says. “If you're finding that these thoughts are getting in the way of you living your life and that you're controlled by the thoughts, those are some signs that it would be good to get some support in navigating it.”
She also emphasizes the importance of understanding that while we may not always have control over our thoughts, we can control our behavior. “On TikTok, people are sort of blaming intrusive thoughts on their behavior, and our behavior is always a choice,” she says. “If we are in our right mind and we're not having a psychotic episode, our behavior is our choice — we are not obligated to follow any given thought that we have.”
Are Intrusive Thoughts Normal?
With intrusive thoughts, it’s natural to question whether these thoughts are “normal” to have. However, these thoughts are not meant to define who you are as a person but simply indicate that you have a functioning human mind with automated thoughts that you, or any of us, can’t control. These thoughts may come, but they don’t have to be acted upon, nor do they define who you are.
“I've worked with clients in the past who say, ‘Why am I thinking these things? What's wrong with me?’ But if you're not acting on the thought, then it's probably not a huge issue,” Dr. Gooden says. “If you are thinking a harmful thought towards yourself or someone else and you are making plans to act on that thought, then yes, we need to do something about it.”
How To Manage Intrusive Thoughts
If you are struggling with managing unwanted thoughts, Dr. Aida suggests taking these tips to help manage your mindset when they occur:
- "Recognize that it's a thought and thoughts are just thoughts. We often put a little bit too much weight on our thoughts, and that can create a lot of distress. But remember that thoughts are not facts."
- "Having a thought that's disturbing or upsetting doesn't make you a bad person, and it doesn't mean that you are suffering from a mental illness."
- "Sometimes the best thing you can do is say, 'Huh, that was an interesting thought. I'm going to let that go. That thought is not helpful for me right now."
- "Ask yourself: is this helpful? Is it helpful for me to buy into this thought and believe this thought? Asking that question can be really helpful because we are not at the mercy of our thoughts. If it's not helpful, you can let it go."
Intrusive thoughts can feel bizarre and foreign when they come up, but they aren't inherently "bad." Our minds can sometimes be filled with random and inappropriate thoughts, but that's what our stream of consciousness does: it thinks. Fortunately, we can release those thoughts at any moment; you don't have to follow through with them.
And ultimately, not every TikTok diagnosis is one that we should label ourselves with.
"It's important for people to acknowledge what they're experiencing but not run too quickly to diagnose themselves with some mental illness or disorder," Dr. Gooden advises. "It ends with confusion, and we miss the opportunity to understand the people who really do have that mental health challenge."
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Westend61/Getty Images