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Creative Thanksgiving Activities For an Unusual Year

Multi-ethnic group of young people playing guessing game while sitting at table during thanksgiving dinner.

To say that 2020 has been a heck of a year would be the understatement of the century (and maybe the Millenium). We’ve weathered the global coronavirus pandemic since March, and it likely won’t be disappearing any time soon. As the holidays approach, you may be wondering how to host family gatherings in a safe and meaningful way. I have some great ideas for fun and memorable Thanksgiving activities for an extra-special Turkey Day.

Remind yourself that the holidays aren’t about being picture-perfect, but about family, friends, and feeling gratitude for all the good in your life. As long as you enjoy one another’s company and share a delicious meal, your gathering is a success.

Thanksgiving Activities For the Whole Family

One of the silver linings of nearly a year of social distancing is the return to family dinner at home. With restaurants closed for months on end, many of us have revisited the tradition of sitting down together to eat and catch up. Your Thanksgiving table may have fewer place settings this year, due to continued travel restrictions and safety concerns, but don’t despair. You can host a warm, intimate gathering that will bring your loved ones closer together and create lasting memories.

5 Games For Family Fun On Thanksgiving – TODAY

Don’t stress yourself trying to prepare a flawless Thanksgiving meal. It’s been a trying time for all of us, between job losses, working from home, virtual schooling, and so much more. This year, more than ever, prioritize people and presence over perfection. If you are the host, you might think about preparing the turkey, stuffing, and gravy and requesting that each guest bring a side dish. Ask someone to supply the traditional bottle of Beaujolais nouveau wine, freeing you up to prepare sweet and fruity alcoholic drinks. Keep things simple, collaborative, and lighthearted.

So what’s there to do besides eat, drink, and be merry? Before and after dinner, play some fun and goofy Thanksgiving games that will have everyone laughing. Check out some of my favorites below!

Easy Thanksgiving Games For Kids (of All Ages!)

It’s easy to include the whole family in these Thanksgiving activities, from your littlest niece to your great-aunt.  And if this is as close as you come to a real holiday workout, that’s okay. Days like this are all about celebration!

Family doing some thanksgiving activities with after dinner.
From Your Little Niece To You Great Aunt, Include The Whole Family In These Activities (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Pumpkin Toss

Check out this adorable bean bag pumpkin toss game for your yard (or rec room, if the weather is lousy). And here you thought pumpkin tossing was just something you did with your rotting Jack-O-Lanterns after Halloween. (If you want to do that, too, you’ll make it a happy Thanksgiving for the squirrels and deer in the woods.)

Thanksgiving Charades

Who doesn’t love a good game of holiday-themed charades? Check out these handy printable Thanksgiving charades words for inspiration and hilarity. You’d just better hope you’re not the one who draws “leftovers!” (But be sure to take pictures if you are.)

Turkey Bowling

Turkey is a Thanksgiving activity staple, as well as one of my favorite lean protein foods. It’s also the inspiration for this cute bowling game, which will be a big hit with younger kids. (Everything’s better with googly eyes, after all.) It’s the perfect activity to occupy a younger crowd, as they can make turkeys before dinner and let the glue dry while eating. When dessert is finished … game on!

Pin the Feather on the Turkey

If you’ve ever been a guest at a birthday party, this next activity probably needs very little explanation. Preparation is simple: Print out this super-cute turkey graphic and feathers, grab a blindfold, and watch what happens. Warning: The game becomes infinitely trickier after a glass or two of holiday libations—just make sure no one gets poked!

Thanksgiving I Spy

As adults, we tend to appreciate Thanksgiving—it’s a day off from work and an opportunity to visit with loved ones. (Also, there’s all that amazing food!) For kids, however, the holiday can feel dull and boring compared to Halloween and Christmas. Bring some cheer to your littlest guests with an easy game of Thanksgiving I Spy. You’ll be so popular, you just may be invited to sit at the kids’ table.

Thanksgiving Taboo

You remember Taboo from when you were a kid, right? The objective is to get other players to guess the word or phrase on the card you’ve drawn. You’re limited in the hints you can give, as the cards contain synonyms and related words you’re not allowed to say. It’s easy to make it a Turkey Day-appropriate activity with these printable Thanksgiving Taboo cards.

Take Time to Be Thankful

Your day will feel busy between preparing, serving, and eating a meal and enjoying Thanksgiving games with your guests. That’s to be expected, but at some point during the celebration, take a moment to pause and appreciate everything around you. It’s been an unusual year, and you may be visiting with loved ones you haven’t seen in months now. Set aside some time to sit down and catch up with one another.

5 Of Our Favorite Thanksgiving Activities – Somewhat Simple

When you’re enjoying your meal, resist the temptation to shovel in your cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes and reach for seconds. It’s fine to enjoy extra helpings on a holiday, of course, but try to eat mindfully. It will help you to better appreciate the delicious foods on your plate, and it will keep you from feeling like an overstuffed turkey when dinner ends. After all, don’t you want to save room for apple or pumpkin pie—or both?

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of hosting, socializing, and chowing down. And that’s fine, as it’s all part of the fun of the day. But do remind yourself to stop, take a deep breath, and feel gratitude for everyone and everything making your Thanksgiving what it is. Taking the time to really give thanks can help to improve your mood and reduce your stress level. After all, it’s what the day is truly all about. 

You’re going to be part of a lovely celebration this year. Happy Thanksgiving! Have a wonderful, safe, and healthy holiday!