Published: Nov 10, 2020 | Updated: Nov 12, 2020

Fun Thanksgiving Tradition Ideas to Try

Looking for fun, new ways to celebrate Turkey Day? We're sharing our favorite Thanksgiving traditions for inspiration.

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Thanksgiving day is one of our favorite holidays. Family members celebrating together. The beauty and chilly air of autumn. Nostalgic memories and cherished thanksgiving traditions mingle with each new celebration.

And we can’t forget Thanksgiving dinners with mouthwatering roasted turkey and all our favorite side dishes like mashed potatoes, homemade stuffing, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole with tons of gooey marshmallows on top, and coffee with pumpkin pie for dessert! Nothing says American Thanksgiving more than the delicious food!

If this is your first time hosting Thanksgiving this year for your family, or you are just looking for some great tips on how to celebrate Thanksgiving in fresh new ways, we offer our favorite tips for things to do on Thanksgiving.

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Thanksgiving Day Family Sports/Backyard Games

Many families enjoy athletic games on Thanksgiving. Some people race in a local Turkey Trot, usually a 5K race, with awards for different age groups. Others have lighthearted flag football games for the kids and adults. For the more competitive families, only an intense tackle football game will do (be sure to wear your pads and helmets!).

Something most family members and friends can enjoy in the backyard is a friendly game of tag or Duck, Duck, Goose. For a little less cardio, set up a croquet game for everyone. Assign the teens to create an exciting scavenger hunt for the kids. Or go for a stroll together to enjoy the fall foliage in the woods, at the Riverwalk, or around the block.

Thanksgiving Shirts

Family members will be excited to each get their own custom-made family Thanksgiving t-shirts this year. Order them online with your own Thanksgiving 2020 design to make your family crack up or simply to bring everyone together with a sense of unity.

Thanksgiving Family Activities

Thanksgiving Bingo delights loved ones of all ages. Pick up a pack of cards on Amazon or make your own.

Start a new Thanksgiving Gratitude Tablecloth. Give everyone a permanent marker and let each family member share things for which they are thankful this year. Label it as 2020 in the center and treasure it as a family keepsake.

Set out a Thanksgiving Tree (Gratitude Tree). Use twigs in a vase or even a small Christmas tree. Give each person a cutout fall leaf (made of construction paper) and let them each write something they are grateful for on their leaf. Or give each person several leaves so they can write more than one thing on each. Then tie the leaves on the tree with a festive fall ribbon or a decorated clothespin.

A Thanksgiving Trivia Quiz can be a lot of fun for all ages. Set it up online with Kahoot to let everyone play on their phones or read out the questions and let people hit a buzzer or raise their hand when they have the answer.

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Outdoor Thanksgiving Activities

Thinking about an outdoor celebration this year? Here are some Thanksgiving weekend ideas for your crew to enjoy in your backyard.

Outdoor Thanksgiving Dinner 

If you have an outdoor kitchen or outdoor living space, this could be the perfect place for your outdoor gathering. Set up foldable tables and chairs on your patio or deck. Or even in the backyard or driveway if the weather permits.

Decorate the tables with pumpkins and gourds, fall garland, and flameless candles or lanterns. Set beautiful fall mums, black-eyed Susans, pussy willow twigs, or ornamental kale around the corners of the space.

Set out cozy throws and outdoor heaters if the weather may be chilly. And consider a pop-up canopy or two if you don’t have a covered space in case of light rain. Then set the table with your favorite fall place settings to complete your Thanksgiving tablescape.

Projector and Movie Screen

Get everyone outside to watch the Thanksgiving Day football games on TV. Maybe even set up a separate area for kids to watch a movie marathon or fun TV series marathon.

Enjoy cheering for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade together from 9 am-noon on Thanksgiving morning.

Fire Pit/Outdoor Fireplace

In the evenings, gather round for stories, singing, or s’ mores around a rustic fire pit or outdoor fireplace. Maybe even hang some colorful lanterns or strings of lights to create a festive atmosphere. 

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Thanksgiving Kids’ Table Ideas

Whether you have an outdoor or indoor gathering, the children will want a big piece of the action. You can help make this their favorite thanksgiving ever with a little creativity and planning.

Kids’ Thanksgiving Activities

If you have younger kids, they may enjoy some (free) Thanksgiving coloring pages at their place at the table. It will help keep them busy during the last 30-minute rush when the grownups are trying to get the food ready. Or use brown package paper for the tablecloth for the kids' table and give them a bountiful supply of crayons, markers, and colored pencils as an artistic outlet.

Draw an outline of each child’s hand ahead of time and have some cutouts ready in Thanksgiving colors for each child to create a Thanksgiving handprint wreath. They can write things for which they are thankful on each hand and then use a glue stick to attach the paper hands to a paper wreath for a keepsake.

Consider creating Thanksgiving gift baskets for the kids’ tables full of table games, activities, little toys, crafts, and some special Thanksgiving desserts for kids can help decorate or even assemble themselves. 

If you are in an environment that is easy to clean up, include some Play-Doh or clay for the kids to create their own Thanksgiving decor with turkey cookie cutters.

Kids’ Thanksgiving Decorations

Kids will love having their own Thanksgiving table decor. Spread cheerful Thanksgiving confetti, and arrange a few flameless candles on their table. Create a centerpiece with gourds, fall leaves, and pumpkins in a Thanksgiving cornucopia. Don’t forget to create a magical effect with some battery-powered fairy lights.

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Family Thanksgiving Outings

Spending time together doesn’t have to mean staying home the whole time. Here are a few ways your friends and family can celebrate a holiday gathering away from home.

Eat Thanksgiving Dinner at a Restaurant/Do Takeout

Some restaurants will be open on Thanksgiving day. Check in advance to see if you need to make reservations. Then you can have all the wonderful Thanksgiving turkey and trimmings without the stress of cooking it yourself.

Drive-Through Holiday Lights

Many holiday light displays at zoos and parks open the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving weekend may be a great time to load up the car and check out the Christmas and holiday lights together.

Volunteer for Thanksgiving

Whether you decide to go help serve Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless at a church in your town or through a charity of some kind, there are plenty of opportunities to serve those who are less fortunate. You can deliver dinners for Meals on Wheels, volunteer to pick up groceries for a neighbor or relative, help at a food bank, or work in a soup kitchen for a few hours.

As we think about what we are thankful for, we find even more gratitude for our blessings as we help those in need. Maybe your family would like to raise money to donate to a worthy cause you are all passionate about in your town as part of your celebration.

Share a Thanksgiving Dinner to Go with Loved Ones

Invest in some takeout containers and share your meal with loved ones and friends who aren’t able to get out this year who may be shut in at home or living in nursing homes. They’ll appreciate your loving concern and the delicious food. And you’ll feel great knowing you made someone’s holiday so much sweeter.

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Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours at Blythe Building Company.

If you are ready to build your dream home for hosting the holidays, we’re always glad to help.

Please contact us today!

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