File photo. 

With the season of giving thanks upon us, we’ve brainstormed some activities to keep you engaged during the times this weekend when you just might not be breaking into leftover cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and turkey. You in Long Beach for the weekend? Listen up.

That annual event designed to reduce the impact of your caloric intake on Thanksgiving AND simultaneously raise money for charity, Justin Rudd’s annual Turkey Trot, begins with its first wave at 7:00AM. Though the deadline to register online was yesterday, you still have a shot at participating: you can register in cash today at the packet pickup line, or race day (tomorrow) at 6:15AM. The 5K race, which is untimed due to the costs incurred, begins and ends at the Granada Boat Launch, with a turnaround at Junipero Avenue. The 10K also begins and ends at the Granada Boat Launch, but its turnaround is located Gangway V, Shoreline Village. The money raised from the entry fees (currently $35) goes toward the general fund for CAT, which will help fund events like the Haute Dog Howl’oween Parade this Sunday, the Miss Long Beach Pageant in November and the National Bulldog Beauty Contest in March.

Maybe you or your family isn’t all that interested in the hard labor and soon-to-erupt tempers that homemade Thanksgiving meals often involve. There are five cures for your Thanksgiving day and dinner freak out, and they’re all located just beyond this sentence. Give thanks, stress-free, by hauling the fam to one of these Long Beach eateries and getting your grub on without a care in the world (except for all those things you’re thankful for, of course): The Sky Room, Fuego Hotel at the Maya, The Reef, The Aquarium of the Pacific and Working Class Kitchen. 

Ahh, then there’s Black Friday. That harried, frenzied, maybe not-so-wonderful day of the year…but one that may involve some great deals! As our own Jason Ruiz reported, some Black Friday deals aren’t really deals after all. But maybe you’ll have to check out the prices in person, at big-name stores like those at The Pike Outlets, City Place, Long Beach Town Center and some of those stores on Second Street (Gap, Banana Republic) just to be sure. 

A growing alternative to the crowds and clamor of Black Friday has been Small Business Saturday, a movement championed by American Express in 2010 that motivates people to shop at small, brick and mortar locations in their communities instead of at big-box giants. Long Beach businesses have capitalized on this idea in past years, putting on their own sales the day after Black Friday to help drive sales for local shops and eateries. To help sales, downtown Long Beach will offer free metered parking to all on Saturday. The DLBA will be supporting a “Makers Mart” on First Street that will include food, entertainment and local artisans selling goods. It will also be distributing a DTLB holiday gift guide that includes more than 75 local businesses’ suggested gift items. Similar festivities are planned in Bixby Knolls where live music will play from 1:00PM to 4:00PM districtwide, and shoppers can capitalize on sales at CloverLongBeach, Lucy’s Boudoir and even earn a shot at a free Apple Watch from Red Eye Media. 

After all that, move forward and be merry, for the holiday season is officially here! To get an official start on the season venture over to MADE in Long Beach (240 Pine Avenue) and check out a 10-foot gingerbread display. Photo opps aplenty, for all you social media users out there.

The holidays are here, and we couldn’t be happier.