Dinner’s done — now what? After the big Thanksgiving meal has been devoured and everybody’s stuffed, make memories with friends and family by enjoying long-time traditions or start a few new ones.
Here are a few ideas for family fun after the Thanksgiving meal has been served:
1. Host a game night.
Gather up your board games or ask guests to bring along their favorites. Be sure to have games on hand that are appropriate for all the kids who will be at your house, including teenagers and preschoolers. After the meal is cleaned up, pull out the games and help everyone find one to play. You can also play a group game, such as Pictionary or Charades.
2. Head outdoors.
Divide your guests into teams and have fun playing a friendly game of touch football. Or, play Hide and Seek, Kick-the-Can or Capture the Flag with a big group. Find a few fun outdoor game ideas here. You could also head to a nearby park and explore local hiking trails together. 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.
3. Write thankful letters.
Have each guest think of one person for whom they are especially thankful this year. Hand out pens and paper and encourage your guests to write the person a letter telling them why they are special. Include preschoolers in this activity by having them dictate the letter to an adult or an older child. Another option is to write letters for seniors living on their own or to military personnel deployed for the holidays.
4. Share family stories.
Family stories are a big part of the holiday season. Whether your Thanksgiving meals are sedate or filled with drama, this is the time of the year when we find ourselves saying things like “Remember the time Dad tried to deep fry a frozen turkey . . . ” Plan some story-telling moments into the celebration. Take it one step further and record your stories for posterity.
5. Decorate for the holidays.
Thanksgiving is REALLY late this year! Consider decorating for the holidays on Thanksgiving evening. Another idea is to make holiday decorations together after dinner. Some simple ideas include paper chains, salt dough ornaments and bead ornaments.
6. Volunteer together.
Consider heading to a local shelter to help serve meals. Or, use the time after Thanksgiving to help an elderly neighbor with a special project like raking leaves. Another option is to organize a food drive. Ask guests to bring non-perishable items with them on Thanksgiving. The items can be delivered to a local food pantry after the holiday.
7. Host a family talent show.
Gather everybody up and let each person who wants to, share a special talent. You may want to give your guests a heads up, so they can think of something to share before Turkey day. If people, don’t know what to share, here are a few ideas: sing a song; play an instrument; tell a joke; recite a poem; act out a skit; do a cheer; dance, demonstrate athletic skills like gymnastics, basketball, karate, etc. or many other possibilities.
Whatever you do with your downtime on Thanksgiving, be sure that you spend it with family and friends. You may find yourself starting traditions that everyone looks forward to throughout the year.
Do you have any fun Thanksgiving traditions that your family looks forward to?