Exploring Thanksgiving Traditions: What Do You Do?

Thanksgiving is a time when family and friends come together to celebrate, feast, and express gratitude for all the blessings in their lives. It’s a holiday that holds great significance for many, with traditions passed down from generation to generation. But have you ever wondered what other people do to mark this special day? In this blog, we will explore a variety of Thanksgiving traditions, from fun activities to meaningful gestures, to help you make the most of this holiday season. So, what do you do on Thanksgiving? Let’s find out and be grateful for Friendsgiving, a newer tradition where friends gather together to share a meal and enjoy each other’s company before traveling home to join family.

Embracing the Thanksgiving Spirit

As we gather with loved ones on Thanksgiving, it’s important to embrace the true spirit of the holiday. It’s a time to show gratitude, foster togetherness, and create lasting memories. So, how can you do that? Let’s explore some fun Thanksgiving activities that will help you make the most of this turkey day.

Hosting a Family-Friendly Turkey Day Scavenger Hunt

One way to add excitement to your Thanksgiving festivities is by organizing a family-friendly scavenger hunt. This friendly competition is perfect for all ages, bringing family members together for a day of fun and adventure. Plan clues, hide them around your home or backyard, and let the games begin! The hunt can have a Thanksgiving theme, with clues related to gratitude, turkey, pumpkins, gourds, and more. Make sure to have small prizes for the winners to sweeten the victory!

Scavenger hunt this way signpost in lush forest woodland


Crafting a Fall Wreath: A Symbol of Prosperity

Thanksgiving is also a great time to unleash your creativity and engage in meaningful crafts. One activity you can try is crafting a fall wreath, symbolizing prosperity for your future self and the year ahead. Gather leaves, pinecones, acorns, and other natural elements to create a beautiful wreath for your home decor. This activity not only adds a festive touch to your surroundings but also serves as a reminder of gratitude for the abundance in your life.

The Joy of Pumpkin Painting Session

Pumpkins are a quintessential part of Thanksgiving, and what better way to celebrate than with a pumpkin painting session? Get the whole family involved, from kids to adults, for a day of artistic fun. Provide paint, brushes, and decorations, and let everyone’s creativity shine. Whether you go for traditional pumpkin faces or create unique designs, this activity is sure to bring joy and laughter to your turkey day celebrations. If you have a lot of younger children in your family, consider setting up a festive arts and crafts table somewhere in the house where the kiddos can keep themselves occupied all day long. Sure, things might get a little messy, but who doesn’t love a hand-stencil turkey?

Tantalizing the Taste Buds

Thanksgiving is synonymous with delicious food, and no feast is complete without a feast for the taste buds. Let’s explore some mouthwatering activities to enhance your culinary experience on this special day.

Hosting a Thanksgiving Pie Swap

If you’re tired of the same old pumpkin pie year after year, why not spice things up with a Thanksgiving pie swap? Invite friends and family members to bake their favorite pie, and then have fun swapping and tasting different flavors. From apple pie to pecan, sweet potato to chocolate, the pie options are endless. This activity not only adds variety to your dessert table but also allows you to discover new family recipes and create new traditions.

Pecan Apple and Pumpkin Pies

Baking and Sharing Thanksgiving Cookies

Baking is a great way to bond with family members on Thanksgiving, and what better treat to make than Thanksgiving cookies? Gather your loved ones in the kitchen, roll out the dough, and have fun cutting out turkey, pumpkin, and leaf-shaped cookies. Decorate them with colorful icing and sprinkles, and then share the joy by gifting them to friends, neighbors, or even those in need. This activity not only satisfies your sweet tooth but also spreads holiday cheer to those around you.

Trying Out Signature Thanksgiving Cocktails

A great way to elevate your Thanksgiving festivities is by trying out signature Thanksgiving cocktails. Mix up some fun and festive drinks for you and your guests to sip on, toasting to togetherness and gratitude. From apple cider mimosas to pumpkin spice martinis to hot chocolate, there are endless possibilities to explore. Get creative with garnishes, add holiday-themed decorations, and enjoy the perfect blend of flavors with family and friends.

Game Time: Boosting Thanksgiving Fun

After a big meal, it’s time to have some fun and burn off those turkey day calories. Let’s explore some games that will keep everyone entertained on this joyous holiday.

Thanksgiving Bingo: Fun for All Ages

Thanksgiving bingo is a classic game that can be enjoyed by all ages. Create bingo cards with Thanksgiving-themed words or images, and have fun calling out the items for players to mark on their cards. You can make it even more exciting by offering small prizes for the winners, such as mini pumpkins or small treats. This game is perfect for family togetherness, friendly competition, and lots of laughter. Additionally, playing a board game like Monopoly with family and friends is another great way to spend quality time together during Thanksgiving.

The Excitement of Turkey Tag

Turkey Tag is a fun game for family and friends to enjoy on Thanksgiving. It involves tagging others with a turkey feather, adding excitement to the day. The game can be played indoors or outdoors, with designated safe zones to avoid collisions. The person with the turkey feather must try to tag others, while the rest of the players try to avoid being tagged. It’s a game of speed, laughter, and friendly competition, perfect for creating unforgettable memories on this turkey day.

Playing a Gratitude Game: Count Your Blessings

Thanksgiving is a time to express gratitude, and what better way to do that than with a gratitude game at the dinner table? Gather your family members, sit in a circle, and take turns sharing what you are thankful for. You can use gratitude prompts to guide the conversation, such as “What is something you appreciate about each person in the family?” or “Name one thing you are grateful for this year.” This game encourages reflection, gratitude, and togetherness, making it a perfect way to celebrate Thanksgiving with your loved ones.

Remembering the Meaning of Thanksgiving

As you celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s important to remember the true meaning of this holiday. It’s not just about turkey, football games, and pumpkin pie, but also about gratitude, togetherness, and giving back to the community. Let’s explore some meaningful activities that will help you embrace the spirit of Thanksgiving.

Volunteering at Local Shelters: Giving Back to the Community

One way to give back to the community on Thanksgiving is by volunteering at local shelters. Many shelters provide hot meals to those in need, and lending a helping hand can make a big difference in someone’s day. Spend a few hours with your family members, friends, or even on your own, serving meals, engaging in conversation, and spreading holiday joy to those who may be less fortunate. This activity not only helps you express gratitude for what you have but also fosters togetherness with your loved ones.

Delivering Baked Goods to Friends and Neighbors: Sharing the Joy

If you have a knack for baking, why not spread the holiday joy by delivering homemade goodies to friends and neighbors on Thanksgiving? Bake an assortment of cookies, cupcakes, or mini pies, pack them up with a heartfelt note, and hand-deliver them to those you appreciate. This small gesture of gratitude not only brightens someone else’s day but also strengthens your bonds with friends and neighbors. It’s a sweet way to express thankfulness and create meaningful connections in your community.

Writing Thank-You Cards: Expressing Gratitude

In this digital age, a handwritten thank-you card goes a long way in expressing gratitude to family, friends, and loved ones on Thanksgiving. Take the time to write personalized thank-you cards, sharing what you appreciate about each person and how they have made a positive impact on your life. Whether you mail them, hand them out at dinner, or leave them on each family member’s plate, these thank-you cards are meaningful tokens of gratitude that will be cherished for years to come.

Thank You card in an envelope

Unleashing the Creativity

Thanksgiving is a perfect time to unleash your creativity and engage in fun activities with family and friends. Let’s explore some creative ideas to enhance your holiday celebrations.

Making a Family Tree: Tracing the Roots

Making a family tree on Thanksgiving is a meaningful way to trace your family history and heritage. Gather old photos, interview family members, and piece together the puzzle of your ancestry. This activity not only teaches children about family traditions and stories but also strengthens family bonds as you discover new things about your shared history. Display the family tree on a prominent spot during your Thanksgiving festivities, and let it serve as a reminder of the strength and togetherness of your family. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to ask Grandma about her China collection, or that quirky display of cast iron skillets on her kitchen wall. She’ll appreciate the conversation, and you’ll walk away with a newfound appreciation for your family’s most sentimental pieces.

Preserving Kids’ Handprints: Cherishing Memories

Kids grow up so fast, and what better way to cherish their childhood than by preserving their handprints on Thanksgiving? Use non-toxic paint to capture their tiny handprints on canvas, cloth, or paper, and write their names, ages, and the year next to each print. This activity creates lasting memories for both parents and children, serving as a time capsule of gratitude for years to come. Display the handprints on your Thanksgiving table, or create a special gallery on your wall to document their growth year after year. Additionally, you can enhance the craft experience by providing a variety of crayons for the kids to decorate their handprints and add vibrant colors to their creations.

DIY Wool Pumpkins: A Touch of Artistry

Add a touch of artistry to your holiday decor with DIY wool pumpkins. Gather wool, twine, or yarn in various autumn colors, and wrap them around small pumpkins to create cozy, textured decorations for your home. This activity is perfect for the whole family to enjoy, with each member creating their own unique pumpkin masterpiece. Display the wool pumpkins on your table, mantle, or entryway, and let their warmth and charm add to the festive ambiance of your Thanksgiving celebrations.

Physical Activities for Thanksgiving

After indulging in a delicious feast, it’s important to get moving and burn off some of those turkey day calories. Let’s explore some physical activities that will keep you active and have fun on this holiday.

Participating in a Local Turkey Trot: Fitness and Fun

Kickstart your Thanksgiving day with a fun, family-friendly activity by participating in a local turkey trot. Many communities organize turkey trot events, which are fun ways for people of all ages to earn and burn the calories consumed during the Thanksgiving meal. Dress up in turkey-themed costumes, enjoy the fresh air, and get your blood pumping with a bit of exercise. You can even make it more exciting by setting small prizes for the fastest trotters or for the best turkey costumes. It’s a great way to have fun, bond with family members, and start your day on a healthy note.

Runners of all ages participate in a Turkey Trot race, decked out in festive attire, promoting health and community on Thanksgiving. It's a display of awesome holiday fitness.

Going for a Thanksgiving Walk: Appreciating Nature

Take time to appreciate the beauty of nature on Thanksgiving by going for a leisurely walk with your family members. Whether you stroll through a local park, meander along a scenic trail, or simply explore your neighborhood, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the crisp autumn air, admire the changing leaves, and have meaningful conversations with your loved ones. This activity allows you to slow down, reflect on gratitude, and appreciate the small wonders of the holiday season. Bundle up and enjoy the Christmas lights that a few neighbors couldn’t wait any longer to put up!

Exploring a Corn Maze: An Adventure in the Heart of Autumn

For those looking for a fun, adventurous activity, why not explore a corn maze on Thanksgiving? These mazes, often found on farms, provide a great way to immerse yourself in the beauty of autumn while testing your navigation skills. Get lost with family members, have friendly competitions, and enjoy the thrill of finding your way out. Corn maze adventures are perfect for creating new Thanksgiving traditions with friends, family, and loved ones, making memories that will last for years to come.

Capturing the Thanksgiving Moments

Thanksgiving is a time for creating meaningful memories with family and friends. Let’s explore some activities that will help you capture those special moments to cherish for years to come.

Taking Photos for Holiday Cards: Making Moments Memorable

Capture the holiday spirit by taking photos for your holiday cards on Thanksgiving day. Gather family members, friends, or pets, and have fun with props, decorations, and holiday-themed outfits. The photos can be traditional or silly, depending on your family’s style, but what matters most is the joy you share together. These holiday cards with your family’s smiling faces will serve as cherished memories for friends and loved ones near and far.

Filming a Thanksgiving Video: Creating Everlasting Memories

Take your holiday memories to the next level by filming a Thanksgiving video with your family members. Capture fun activities, heartfelt conversations, and meaningful moments throughout the day, and edit them into a beautiful montage to be cherished for years to come. You can even incorporate interviews, gratitude reflections, or family traditions to make the video even more meaningful. This activity allows you to create everlasting memories on this special day, preserving the essence of togetherness for future generations to enjoy.

Capture the Moment: A Picture Worth a Thousand Words

Sometimes, a single picture can capture the essence of a holiday, telling a story of gratitude, togetherness, and joy. Encourage family members to capture candid moments throughout the day, whether with professional cameras, smartphones, or disposable cameras, to create a meaningful photo collection of your Thanksgiving celebrations. These snapshots of laughter, hugs, and shared moments will serve as a reminder of the love, warmth, and togetherness you experienced on this turkey day.

Breaking the Monotony with Unique Ideas

If you’re looking to spice things up or add a twist to your Thanksgiving festivities, let’s explore some unique ideas that will break the monotony of tradition.

Hosting a Petsgiving: Celebrating with Furry Friends

Pets are an integral part of many families, so why not include them in your Thanksgiving celebrations with a petsgiving? Set up a special meal for your furry family members, with pet-friendly treats, decorations, and activities. You can even invite other pet owners to join in for a fun day of togetherness and gratitude. This activity is perfect for creating new traditions, celebrating the love you have for your furry family members, and strengthening the bond you share with them.

Organizing an Ugly Sweater Contest: Adding a Twist to Festivities

Ugly sweater contests have become popular holiday traditions, and Thanksgiving is no exception. Organize an ugly sweater contest with family members, friends, or even at your workplace to add a fun twist and the chance to win fun prizes to your festivities. Encourage everyone to wear their most outrageous, gaudy, or festive holiday sweaters, and have fun with friendly competition. This activity brings laughter, joy, and a lighthearted spirit to your turkey day celebrations.

Lovely Couple In Ugly Sweaters During Christmas

Arranging a Mini Pumpkin Hunt: Fun for Kids

Kids love scavenger hunts, so why not spice things up with a mini pumpkin hunt on Thanksgiving day? Hide mini pumpkins around your home or backyard, and watch the excitement on their faces as they hunt for these fun holiday treasures. You can even have small prizes for the kids who find the most pumpkins, adding to the friendly competition and holiday fun. This activity is perfect for keeping the little ones entertained, fostering family togetherness, and creating new traditions for future thanksgiving celebrations.

Is Starting a Fresh Thanksgiving Tradition a Good Idea?

With so many activities to choose from, you might be wondering if starting a fresh Thanksgiving tradition is a good idea. The answer is a resounding yes! Starting new traditions allows you to infuse new energy, fun, and meaning into your holiday celebrations. It’s an opportunity to explore activities that resonate with you and your loved ones, creating new memories for future generations to cherish. So, go ahead, try something new, and make this year’s Thanksgiving festivities truly unique and special.


Frequently Asked Questions


What are some common Thanksgiving traditions in the United States?

Thanksgiving traditions in the United States vary from family to family, but there are some common activities and customs that many people partake in. The most iconic tradition is, of course, the turkey dinner with all the fixings, such as mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and, of course, pumpkin pie for dessert. Many families also enjoy watching football games, playing board games, or socializing on social media with friends and family members near and far. Some families have a tradition of breaking the wishbone to see who gets the bigger piece, while others enjoy popcorn while watching holiday movies or football games on TV. In New York City, thousands of people line the streets of Manhattan to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This particular parade is known for its giant inflatable balloons that float between the skyscrapers, high above the onlookers. These activities have become staples of Thanksgiving, evoking feelings of togetherness, gratitude, and holiday cheer.

Are there any unique or lesser-known Thanksgiving traditions from other cultures?

While Thanksgiving is primarily celebrated in the United States, many cultures have their own unique or lesser-known traditions that revolve around gratitude, togetherness, and thanksgiving for the year’s harvest. For example, in Korea, a similar holiday called Chuseok is celebrated with a special rice cake called songpyeon, which is shared with family members to express gratitude for a bountiful year. In Japan, Labor Thanksgiving Day is celebrated with food drives, donations to those in need, and events that promote thanksgiving for the year’s hard work. In Ghana, Homowo Festival is celebrated with a special dish made from mashed yam and palm oil, symbolizing gratitude for a successful harvest season. These traditions, although unique to their respective cultures, share the common thread of gratitude, togetherness, and thanksgiving for abundance.

How have Thanksgiving traditions evolved over time?

Thanksgiving traditions have evolved over time, reflecting the changing dynamics of society, family structures, and cultural influences. While the core values of gratitude, togetherness, and thanksgiving have remained constant, new activities, foods, and customs have emerged to adapt to modern lifestyles. Traditional foods like turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie have stood the test of time, but new dishes, such as vegan options, have gained popularity to cater to diverse dietary preferences. Parades, football games, and board games have become integral parts of the holiday for many families, creating new traditions that evoke fun, competition, and socialization. Additionally, social media has influenced how people express gratitude on Thanksgiving, with friends and family members sharing what they are thankful for on platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Overall, Thanksgiving traditions have evolved to reflect the changing times, while still holding on to the core values of gratitude, togetherness, and thanksgiving for all the blessings in life.

Can I start my own Thanksgiving traditions with my family and friends?

Absolutely! Starting your own Thanksgiving traditions with family and friends can be a fun and meaningful experience. By having your first celebration in January, you’ll familiarize the people in your Three-Family group with each other and set the stage for them to consider joining your larger Thanksgiving gathering next year. It allows you to create new memories, strengthen family bonds, and infuse new energy into your holiday celebrations. Whether you incorporate activities from different cultures, try new recipes, or explore unique games, the possibilities are endless. Remember, what matters most is spending time with loved ones, expressing gratitude for what you have, and creating meaningful traditions that resonate with you and your family. So, go ahead, start new Thanksgiving traditions, and make this holiday season truly special for you and your loved ones.


In conclusion, Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, togetherness, and creating lasting memories. Whether you choose to embrace the Thanksgiving spirit through fun activities, tantalize your taste buds with delicious treats, engage in physical activities, or capture the special moments, there are endless ways to make this holiday truly memorable. Additionally, it’s interesting to explore common and unique Thanksgiving traditions from different cultures and understand how these traditions have evolved over time. And if you’re looking to add a personal touch to your celebrations, starting your own Thanksgiving traditions with family and friends can be a wonderful idea. We would love to hear about your favorite Thanksgiving traditions! Leave a comment below and share your experiences and ideas.

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