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6 reminders for employees before Thanksgiving

Originally posted on https://ebn.benefitnews.com

This Thanksgiving, looking at the mess of the Affordable Care Act’s rollout, your employees might just be most grateful to retain their employer-sponsored health plans, but there’s always plenty to celebrate on the fourth Thursday of November. Between food, travel, and more food this Nov. 28, be sure to mark the occasion well. And from all of us at EBN, enjoy your holiday!

Here are six things to remind your employees before they leave for their Thanksgiving breaks. We look at the most popular travel destinations, as well as some Fodor-recommended ones. Perhaps most important at the workplace: don’t forget to set your out-of-office alerts.

1. Eat healthy?

More and more Americans are forgoing mere turkeys for the Frankenstein monsters that are Turduckens: a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken, like Russian nesting dolls of poultry. Each November, one store in Louisiana sells more than 5,000 Turduckens, which average 1,600 calories a serving. Human resources administrators probably won’t make many friends by encouraging people to watch what they eat on Thanksgiving of all days, but indulgence shouldn’t become a habit if you want to work on your wellness goals.

2. No, seriously – eat healthy

Did you know Thanksgiving was originally supposed to be a fast, not a feast? The settlers of Plymouth Rock were more likely to “celebrate” with prayer and abstaining from food, but the Wampanoag Indians brought their own harvest festival traditions to the table. So if you need an excuse to under-indulge this holiday, just think to yourself, “I’m only behaving like a pilgrim.”

3. Travel, most popular

According to data from Hotwire.com, these are Americans’ biggest destinations next week. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade keeps Manhattan on the top of the list, but be sure to book in advance and allow for extra travel time if you plan on hitting any of the following spots, ranked from No. 1 to 5: New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, Orlando and Los Angeles.

4. Travel, most recommended

According to Fodor’s Erin Gifford, it’s tough to beat a Thanksgiving spent the old fashioned way in Plymouth, Mass., but she has more surprising recommendations as well. In Leiden, Holland, for example, the pilgrims spent 11 years before continuing on to the New World, and local churches and museums always mark turkey day. For something closer to home, Gifford recommends Dana Point, Calif., famous for its 10,000-runner Turkey Trot on a scenic route up the coast.

5. Set your out-of-office alerts

Thanksgiving time off ranges from merely day-of to more than the entire week, so be sure your staff puts up their voicemail and email out-of-office messages. Be sure to say when you will be back at work and what to do in case of an emergency.

6. Attention, shoppers

The biggest shopping day of the year immediately follows Thanksgiving, and even if your business doesn’t need to prepare, your employees likely do. Holiday shopping gets off with a bang, and experts claim the economy relies on it. Still, it might be a good opportunity to encourage saving – the personal finance website NerdWallet says that more than 90% of 2013 Black Friday ads contain the exact same items and prices as last year. Talk about serving leftovers the day after Thanksgiving!