5 Unusual Ways to Enjoy Thanksgiving

Jon Fesmire |

It’s nearly Thanksgiving, and that means big gatherings of family and friends, lots of great food, and naps on the couch. Maybe this year, though, you’d like to add something new, perhaps start a fun tradition and make your Thanksgivings stand out. Here are five ideas to get you started.

Game of Thanks

There are a couple of variations to this. Start this early in the day when people start arriving. Each person writes something that he or she is thankful for on a slip of paper. Make sure it’s specific. For example, instead of “Family,” a person could write, “The way my kids give me a hug every time I get home from work.” These are then either baked into rolls, or folded and put in a jar.

In the version with the rolls, once they are cooked, each person gets one and will find a paper inside. With the jar, people randomly select one of the notes. The notes are then read one by one, and the person guesses who wrote the note.

Activity Day

Many people complain about Christmas items and decorations going up in stores and such before Thanksgiving is even over. Thanksgiving doesn’t tend to have as many decorations, and it can take time to buy all those Christmas gifts.

This idea combines both holidays. Since most people have the Thanksgiving day feast in the afternoon, there’s plenty of time left for the usual activities: watching football, napping, and catching up, and putting away leftovers.

You have friends, family, and probably kids over, and it’s a great time to bond over an activity. This works especially well if you’re going to host Christmas at your house as well.

Bring out the card stock, crayons, markers, glue, and scissors, and make Christmas decorations! Have suggestions ready, and let everyone come up with their own ideas. You could make streamers, ornaments, and pictures to decorate your home. When your guests arrive on Christmas, they’ll get to see their contributions.

Make it clear that they can either leave their decorations or take them home. Otherwise, it may appear that you’re just trying to get them to do work for your home, rather than the true intention of this activity: to get everyone having fun together.

This can work even better as something for guests staying over to do the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday, as we all know, is a crazy shopping day. Fantastic deals are out there, but crowds and traffic are tough to deal with. Instead, your guests can forgo Christmas shopping and create wonderful crafts in preparation for the upcoming holiday instead. If you celebrate a holiday other than Christmas, you can do crafts for your upcoming celebration instead.

A Family Walk

If you want to delay that post feast Thanksgiving nap, and have a nice time with family and friends, one great option is to go on a walk. So, put on your coats, and head out the door together to enjoy the neighborhood! It’s likely not to be busy, with everyone warm and indoors, so you’ll feel like you have the town to yourself.

You could also head to a nearby park, where the adults can catch up while the kids play. Everyone can burn off some of that big meal, and by the time you get back, you might be ready for a little cold turkey!

Potluck Thanksgiving

Many who can’t get to see your extended family for Thanksgiving spend it with a group of friends instead. Often, that means everyone brings one of the dishes. It’s important to have people sign up for certain dishes, though, or to propose alternative but similar dishes. That way, you can get a good variety of things.

Whoever is hosting the party, however, should cook the turkey, or turducken, or whatever will be the main dish. Depending on how many people are coming, you can use anything from that once-a-year Thanksgiving china to paper plates.

Family Videos

Dinnertime conversation at the table can be a lot of fun, but if you’re looking for something different, how about show family videos during the feast? These days, you can watch on your flat-screen TV or with a video projector. Sure, watching TV shows during the meal is just going to distract people. However, reliving fun memories can spark some great conversations.

You could even invite visiting family members to share videos they’ve taken over the last year. It’s a good opportunity to share what’s been happening with kids and grandkids, clips from vacations, and more.

We hope you’re able to enjoy one or more of these suggestions. Happy Thanksgiving!