I know I wrote about Halloween last month, but I have a confession: It’s my least favorite holiday. In fact, it kind of makes me cranky. So I was more than happy to wake yesterday morning and turn the calendar (proverbially speaking, I don’t have a paper calendar anymore) to November. Now that my least favorite holiday is out of the way, it’s time to start gearing up for holidays that make me happy.


Of course, the consumer frenzy also starts this month. My boys started their Christmas lists over the weekend. It will be difficult to get around consuming material possessions over the next couple of months, and I know that in my family some will definitely be consumed. But I’m hoping to make sure that we consume lots of experiences, too.

Here are five experiences that you can consume this month.

Get in a last day or two at the farmers market. Many farmers markets have already closed up shop for the season, but some that are seasonal stay open until the weekend before Thanksgiving. Buy several quarts of apples and make some easy applesauce in slow the cooker or stock up on local honey for the winter. Spend a little extra money if you have it to give the farmers and other local producers a last shot of income before the season is over.

Provide Thanksgiving dinner for those less fortunate. My church does a yearly Thanksgiving basket drive. They provide church members with a list of everything that a charitable organization in Camden, N.J., needs to create a single Thanksgiving basket. Each year, I take my boys shopping to get everything to create an entire basket, and we limit that shopping trip to only those things. Find a charitable organization near you that is accepting food specifically to give for Thanksgiving, and donate some or all that is needed for an entire family. Yes, this does cost a bit of money, but knowing you’re helping someone else can be an awesome experience. 

Rake a neighbor’s lawn. If you have an older neighbor or one who has difficulty raking the lawn, head out with your rake. Don’t ask. Just do it. And, while you’re at it, jump in a big pile of leaves a couple of times.

Decorate with nature. Spend some time in your backyard or in the woods searching for natural decorations for the season. Before you head out, check out the slide slow on Better Homes and Gardens for some ideas.

Keep a gratitude journal for the month. This idea, made popular years ago by Oprah, makes perfect sense for November. Every day, write down five things that you are thankful for. As the month progresses, the holiday frenzy will start to increase, and keeping a journal like this will help you to put aside the craziness for a short while and focus on what’s important. 

For more on experience consumption, check out my original post Why I'm optimistic about 2010: Experience consumption as well as the ideas for January, FebruaryMarch, April, May, June, JulyAugustSeptember and October.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Experiences to consume in November
TV commercials may be telling you it's time to start consuming stuff at a startling rate, but the upcoming holidays are the perfect time to consume experience i