Solo On Thanksgiving? What Do You Do?

What do you do when you are alone on Thanksgiving?

Too many people find themselves alone during the holidays. Sometimes it is by design. Maybe we just can’t face the family. Maybe it is too expensive to travel. Or perhaps you are like me. My husband works odd hours, and he will be doing his thing on Thanksgiving Day.

Instead of feeling sorry for yourself (no, you are NOT a loser) make your own adventure. “Well, Gina”, you might be thinking, “where am I suppose to go when everything is closed?”

Sun, sleet, rain or snow, I have the perfect place. Not only can you feast your eyes, but you can have a tasty lunch and get some holiday shopping done as well. I know what you are thinking, but it’s not the local mall. It’s miles better. It’s the National Gallery of Art.

The National Gallery of Art

One of my favorite eye candy exhibits is Andrew Wyeth: Looking Out, Looking In. The curators collected sketches, watercolors, and completed oil paintings of windows and doors that this master draftsman produced throughout his career. As an artist myself, I enjoyed seeing the thought process, mistakes, and corrections in Wyeth’s sketches alongside the completed work. The images are lush, mysterious, and captivating. The question that most comes to mind while viewing the work is “what surprise lays just outside that window?”

"Christina's World" by Andrew Wyeth 1948

“Christina’s World” by Andrew Wyeth 1948

When you leave Wyeth’s World (yes, a nod to his most famous painting, Christina’s World) take a stroll through the marble halls to one of the other exhibits. Here is a link to the current shows.

By now, you’ll want to rest your feet. The perfect place to take a break is in the Garden Cafe. Located on the ground floor between the galleries, this cafe has an open, airy feel, and the best menu of all the museum’s cafes. They’re serving Cornish game hen, pumpkin bisque, and creme brulee. You can have your Thanksgiving dinner right here and not feel like you are missing out on anything. The Garden Cafe is open on Thanksgiving from 11:30 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

The Garden Cafe at the National Gallery of Art

The Garden Cafe

Now that you are rested and sated, it’s time to get into the spirit of the holiday season by wandering through the gift shop. There are so many tempting items to buy for friends and family that you can spend a couple of hours taking it all in. Jewelry, clothing, books, prints, toys, and so much more. In my opinion, museum gifts are more interesting than things you can get in a department store. I also like the feeling of supporting the museum and keeping the doors open for free to the public when I buy items here. Now for a bit of disclosure. I couldn’t wait until Thanksgiving to buy a treat for myself. I recently picked up this delightful silk scarf because I am currently obsessing over the color orange. It’s called “Amber Pebbles” and it was $39.00.

Amber Pebbles silk scarf, $39 at the National Gallery of Art gift store.

Amber Pebbles silk scarf, $39 at the National Gallery of Art gift store.

On my wish list is this fabulous art deco shawl. It’s reversible with silk print on the front and solid black felted silk on the back. At $250, it will most likely continue to live on my wish list because I would rather spend the money on someone’s present.

Art Deco Shawl

Art Deco Shawl

Need a stocking stuffer for the artistic friend or relative? I love these water-soluble sketching pencils. You can get more depth with them than with regular sketching pencils. The ability to add water and blend selected areas of your drawing makes a big difference in the look of your work. They come in a tin case of 6 pencils at $11.95.

Water soluble sketching pencils

Water soluble sketching pencils

Are you tired of looking at the bad art in a coworkers office? Choose one of the many fine art reproduction posters the NGA makes available. Here’s one from the Wyeth exhibit that would look striking on any office wall. It’s only $19 unframed and $180 framed.

Exhibition poster, Andrew Wyeth's "Wind From The Sea"

Exhibition poster, Andrew Wyeth’s “Wind From The Sea”

You have spent the day feasting your eyes and body and have checked off a good portion of your holiday shopping list. I consider this a successful day. Happy Thanksgiving from me to you.

The National Gallery of Art is located at 6th and Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20565 right across the street from the National Mall. 202 737-4215


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