Seasonal Happenings

7 Fun Things To Do After Thanksgiving

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AAfter Thanksgivingfter Thanksgiving dinner, families usually head to the living room to relax and watch football games on television. Since quality time with friends and family can be hard to find these days, consider spending the time after dinner creating a new family tradition and making memories.

Have a Game Night

When you invite guests to your house for Thanksgiving this year, ask them to bring their favorite board game. Katie Roger’s family always played games together after dinner and says, “Some of my favorite memories growing up are from these times.”

Be sure that you have games on hand that are appropriate for the ages of all the kids who will be at your house, including teenagers and preschoolers. After dinner is cleaned up, pull out the games and help everyone find a one to play. You can also do a group game, such as Trivial Pursuit, Charades or Pictionary.

Head Outdoors
Carrie Schlegel remembers, “growing up we played touch football in the front yard after Thanksgiving dinner.”
Divide up your guests into teams, clearly communicate the rules and then have fun playing a friendly game of football together.

You could also play a group game of Hide and Seek or Kick-the-Can. If you have a large area, Capture the Flag can also be a lot of fun.

Find a local apple orchard and spend an hour picking apples with friends and family.

If you’re feeling adventurous, head to a nearby canyon, beach or wilderness area and explore local hiking trails together. You can find a guide to trails in your area at You can also take a family walk or bike ride in your neighborhood. Remember to have guests bring walking shoes or bicycles when you invite them to dinner.

Create a Family Scrapbook

Have each adult and child bring a few of their favorite family pictures to Thanksgiving dinner. Provide some cardstock, patterned paper, glue sticks, sticker, pens and scissors. Have each person create a scrapbook page using the pictures and write their memories on the scrapbook page.

When everyone is finished, add the pages to an album. Be sure to include the date and artist on each scrapbook page. Next year, create more scrapbook pages and add to the album each year.

Write Thankful Letters

Have each guest think of one person for whom they are especially thankful for this year. Hand out pens and paper and encourage your guests to write the person a letter telling them why they are special.

You can include preschoolers in this activity by having them dictate the letter to an adult or an older child. When everyone is done, give them an envelope and stamp for their letter and drop the letter into a mailbox.

Decorate for the Holidays

Consider decorating for the holidays on Thanksgiving evening to include your guests in the festivities. Some families pick out their Christmas tree together on Thanksgiving to decorate later in the weekend.

“For several years, we have gone to a ... Christmas tree farm to cut down our own tree. We also take our picture for our Christmas cards then, too,” says Jim Thompson, a father of two.

Another idea is to make holiday decorations together after dinner. Some simple ideas include paper chains, salt dough ornaments and bead ornaments. When coming up with a project, be sure to include young children who might want to participate and provide alternate crafts if you have guests who celebrate winter holidays other than Christmas.

Volunteer Together

Consider heading to a soup kitchen or food shelter together to help serve meals to needy people.

Mary Ford is planning to start volunteering on Thanksgiving with her kids. “I want my kids to see the blessing they have while at the same time serving others that are not as fortunate.”

Another option is to use the time after Thanksgiving dinner to help an elderly neighbor with a special project, such as painting or raking leaves. You can also use the holiday afternoon to organize your own food drive. Ask each guest collect to non-perishable food from their friends and neighbors before Thanksgiving, and bring the food to your house. After dinner, you can take a field trip to the food pantry to deliver the food.

Have a Talent Show

When Carrie Schlegel was growing up, her family had a talent contest each year on Thanksgiving night. The kids and the grown-ups took turns performing, such as quoting Shakespeare, singing and playing the violin. Each year someone won a trophy for the best performance. Schlegel looked forward to this tradition throughout the year and is planning to host her own family talent show this year.

When you invite guests to your Thanksgiving dinner, be sure to let them know ahead of time about the talent show. Encourage everyone, including children, to share their talents. Remind everyone to bring any props or costumes they will need for their performance.

Whatever you do with this downtime on Thanksgiving, be sure that you spend it with your family and friends. You may find yourself starting traditions that everyone looks forward to throughout the year.
Jennifer Gregory is a mom of two kids. Her family enjoys playing football in the yard each Thanksgiving and her son has been planning for this year’s game for months.

Find more fun crafts to do before Thanksgiving here >>

Published: October 2009