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How to Host a Thanksgiving Family Event

Updated on July 4, 2015

Thanksgiving with Family & Friends

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for family & friends. We are hosting an event that will allow us to give thanks to family, friends and our veterans. This page will give you some ideas on how to host a similar event. I will cover food, table decorations, crafts, games, and other odd items.


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Food for a Thanksgiving Family Party

Our family party will be potluck, everyone will bring a side dish or dessert to share. I love the variety of foods that come to an event like this! I try to bring items that my kids (and other kids) will eat. I have brought a big dish of Kraft Marconi & Cheese. Who doesn't love that! I have found that most people will bring a casserole and most kids won't eat something that doesn't look familiar to them! I also love to bring deviled eggs to a potluck dinner. They are a big hit with the adults!

For our Thanksgiving family party we will be serving chili as the main entree. You may think this sounds funny for a "Thanksgiving" event, but we are trying to keep the costs down. I am also sure that most families will have a bird for Thanksgiving dinner so we don't want to spoil the fun for them! We are also going to serve peanut butter sandwiches - this was my husbands suggestions. When he was growing up, when they had chili at school they also had peanut butter sandwiches. I seem to remember just bread and butter sandwiches so we may have some of them also!

Photo: Al_HikesAZ

Table Decorations for a Thanksgiving Family Event

Table decorations can range from very simple to complicated. I am choosing simple! I will have help from my children to set up and create decorations for the tables. Our theme for the event is "Give Thanks". We are going to have "leaves" (made from paper) for everyone to write what they are thankful for. This could be anything from their family, friends to the veterans - past and present - who serve our country. We will take these "leaves" and hang them from a spot in the room for everyone to see. We may leave them their or let the families take them home that night.

I am also creating on a bigger piece a paper a sign that says "Give THANKS". It will stand up by itself and I will let my kids color it in. I am also thinking about having name cards on the tables. A little turkey holding a sign for the person's name. In the past we have taken small clay pots and painted them black. Then we took a piece of black foam and cut it into a circle bigger than the top of the pot. Once the black paint was dried, we painted the top rim of the pot white. We then glued the piece of black foam to the "top" of the pot - flipped it over and it became a pilgrim hat. On the white part of the hat, we wrote the person's name and put it at their spot on the table! Something that can be used year after year!

Photo: Hammer51012

Thanksgiving Crafts for a Family Event

I am keeping this event simple so there won't be any crafts for those attending to do. I may create a placemat for everyone to take home. I found a Thanksgiving poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson. I will find an appropriate clip art and place the poem on a piece of colored paper.

"For each new morning with its light,

For rest and shelter of the night,

For health and food,

For love and friends,

For everything Thy goodness sends."

Photo: riptheskull

Games for a Thanksgiving Family Event

I am going to have just a few things to get everyone mixing and mingling around. I don't want the focus of the event to be on "stuff" but on fellowship with everyone.

One idea I had was to create a quiz about Thanksgiving. You could also have questions about Veteran's Day also. You can search the Internet for some great questions. Here are some of the ones I am going to use: What is a male/female turkey called? Where will you find the turkey's wattle? Veteran's Day was known by a different name - what was it? Why was it called that? When/why did it change.

You could play a "Pin the Tale on the Turkey" or a "Cornucopia Catch". For older kids/adults - see how many words you can create with the letters from "THANKSGIVING". Or create a word find (lots of sites on the Internet to create with your own words) with words related to Thanksgiving or scramble a list of words for everyone to unscramble.

"Other" for a Give Thanks Event

Since you can hold a Thanksgiving event anytime in November, you can also focus on Veteran's Day. It's important to remind our children (and friends) that we should give thanks to those that have served our country - past and present. You could create a service project that would benefit a local VA hospital or local servicemen and women and their families. This would be a great opportunity to teach our children about giving - a little head start to the season of giving - Christmas.

Photo: The U.S. Army

Give me your thoughts or suggestions on what you would do for a Thanksgiving Family event!

Would You Host a Thanksgiving Family Event?

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    • profile image

      Kevin Goodwin 

      3 years ago

      Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Great food, great family time and a nice day just to relax and enjoy the day.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      3 years ago

      Great ideas, love the games especially. Thanksgiving is about my favorite day of the year, I just love everything about it. Voted up.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image


      9 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      We were only near 'family' a couple of times over the years - usually living far away. Instead we spent some 40 years inviting someone to dinner each Thanksgiving who would otherwise not have a traditional holiday meal, or be alone on Thanksgiving because their family lived far away. The shared fellowship made each of us feel thankful for the company.


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