What to Wear for a Family Thanksgiving

cute Thanksgiving outfit houndstooth skirt and suede boots

(Hint: It’s all about the sweaters)

I’ve seen lots of cute outfit ideas for Thanksgiving Day, but since my family Thanksgiving celebration spans several days and cities, I needed several cute, versatile outfits that weren’t exactly what I wore last Thanksgiving. We also planned to run a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day and hike Sharp Top Mountain on Friday, so I knew if I didn’t pack well I would have to raid my mom’s closet for activewear. Here’s what to wear for an active Thanksgiving trip home without packing a ton.


On Wednesday, H and I left straight from work for Lynchburg. For the car trip, I wore this comfortable oversized cable-knit white sweater with light-wash jeans. To keep the outfit interesting, I added a huge black watch scarf and suede smoking slippers. These smoking slippers were the lynchpin of my fall wardrobe—they’re trendy, but not too trendy, and the color goes with everything. We made it to Lynchburg in time for dinner with my parents, aunt, and uncle at our favorite Chinese restaurant, which is such an ingrained tradition I’m pretty sure the Pilgrims got Chinese food the night before Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving travel day outfit


The next morning, H and I ran a Turkey Trot with my aunt and uncle. To beat the early morning chill, I wore a long-sleeved t-shirt, a sweatshirt, leggings, a knit headband, and gloves. I wasn’t cold once we started running, but I was glad for the layers when I was standing at the start line.

I kept training after H and I ran the Virginia 4 Miler in September, and I wanted to beat my personal 5K record from the year before at a Turkey Trot in Connecticut. The Lynchburg Turkey Trot didn’t have any mile markers, though, so I struggled to set my pace and ran slower than I had during practice 5K runs. I did beat my personal record, but I was fuming at the finish line about the lack of mile markers since I know I could have run faster. Everyone else was focused on having a good time and participating together as a family, though—my dad even asked if my aunt, uncle, H and I ran the race side-by-side (we did not).

cute Thanksgiving outfit

Post-Turkey Trot, we got back to the house during the lull between putting in the turkey and preparing all the side dishes, so I hurried upstairs to shower. I had two possible Thanksgiving Day outfits: a comfortable option, which was a sweater with a fox on it and the jeans from previous the day, and a cute option, which was a denim shirt, houndstooth skirt, and suede boots. I compromised and wore the jeans and sweater before the meal for the cooking and changed into the cute outfit right before Thanksgiving dinner. After dinner, a requisite two hours of lounging, pie, and more lounging, I changed back into the sweater and jeans for our annual trip to the movies.

comfortable Thanksgiving outfit with fox sweater


Friday, we hiked Sharp Top Mountain, which is part of the Peaks of Otter. Everyone piled into the cars for the 45-minute drive, and those who didn’t want to hike hung out at the Peaks of Otter Lodge after dropping the hikers off at the base of the mountain. When we got out of the car the air was frigid—we checked the thermometer in the car and the temperature was in the twenties. Undeterred, H, my uncle, my cousins (and my cousin’s pet Corgi), my mom, and I set out on the trail. My uncle, H, and I were moving fast to stay warm, and my cousins and mom were walking slower, encumbered by the Corgi’s short legs, so we separated into two groups.

sharptop mountain

We climbed to the summit in about an hour—the hike is a mile, but it’s very steep, and the last quarter of a mile is straight uphill. I wore a plaid flannel shirt, leggings, and Bean boots, with a fleece and vest layered on top. After we had been hiking for a while, I was warm enough to shed the fleece and vest, although I put them back on when the wind picked up near the top. We took our time at the cold, windy peak enjoying the 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains with fog rolling over them, but after about twenty minutes we decided to head back down without waiting for my mom and cousins.

climbing sharptop mountain

H and I hiked out to Buzzard’s Roost, a castle-like mound of rocks, for another breathtaking view and then started back down the mountain. I had taken off my fleece and gloves for pictures at the summit, and I thought my hands would never be warm again. I put on my fleece, gloves, and hat and finally started to warm up on the 45-minute hike down. My dad was waiting in the warm car at the bottom of the mountain since there was no cell service, and the second group got back about 20 minutes later. We all drove back to the house together, talking about how incredibly cold we had been and how sore we were going to be the next day.

Friday night, H and I went to dinner at El Jefe, a taqueria downtown. The tacos and margaritas there are amazing, and it’s usually crowded but we practically had the place to ourselves—everyone else must have been eating Thanksgiving leftovers! I wore the flannel shirt I had worn on the hike with my white sweater, jeans, and smoking slippers from Wednesday.


On Saturday we celebrated Thanksgiving with my mom’s side of the family near Charlottesville. I wanted to be comfortable for the drive, so I wore a classic Thanksgiving sweater with pheasants on it, jeans, and Bean boots. The Bean boots were essential since it was raining steadily. I was glad I wore something simple, since I spent most of the day playing with my little cousins and niece.

What did you wear this Thanksgiving? Do you dress up for Thanksgiving dinner or wear something comfortable? Let me know in the comments!

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