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19 Most Popular Thanksgiving Party Ideas You Must Try In 2023

by Note with Love Team - Nov 11, 2023
An illustration of a cup of coffee, a headphone and an open planning diary on a green surface. A cat resting beside it.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. It means the holiday to celebrate love, family, friends and cherishing delectable food is here.

On Thanksgiving, friends and families usually get together to eat delicious food. The holiday is typically celebrated with a turkey dinner, but everyone has their own traditions, may be it's a large dinner party with beautiful Thanksgiving table settings or an intimate meal with music and indoor games. Whichever it is, planning a Thanksgiving party can be stressful.

However, with proper planning you can reduce the stress greatly. Use our Thanksgiving to-do list for that. To further lessen the hosting stress, explore these 19 Thanksgiving party ideas. You must try these for an impressive gathering for family and friends. 

1. Host A Potluck Dinner

If you have friends and family from diverse backgrounds, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to host a potluck-style dinner. To add variety to the menu, have your guest bring a favorite dish.

Besides that, it reduces the host's workload. After all, you're not going to spend a fortune on a dinner, are you? Simply prepare the turkey and gravy, then send an email to your guests to make sure who is bringing what.

2. Say Thanks Over Drinks

Photo by Monstera Production on Pexels

Nothing beats the cocktails served at a Thanksgiving table full of extended family and friends. With some fall-themed drinks like apple cider, wine, and cocktails, ask everyone to raise a glass in "gratitude". It's a lovely way to honor the true meaning of the holiday and be thankful for the opportunity to spend time with loved ones.

3. Set up A Thanksgiving Dessert Bar

Photo by Sunny Day Family

A festive dessert bar, separate from your Thanksgiving table, is the best way to showcase all of your Thanksgiving treats. Serve fancy Thanksgiving desserts such as pies, waffles, cakes, cookies, and more to your guests. Decorate your desserts with cranberries, sprinkle, and other natural ingredients to tempt your guests with sugary treats that look as good as they taste!

You don't need to spend days toiling away in the kitchen—just buy them from bakeries! If you are really looking forward to show off your baking skills, you can always bake a pie yourself and buy rest of the desserts.

4. Send Guests Home with Leftovers

If you don't serve leftovers for Thanksgiving, it really isn't a full-fledged Thanksgiving celebration. You can only eat so many turkey sandwiches!

Make your dinner party one-of-a-kind by sending guests home with leftovers. You can also ask guests to bring a Tupperware along with them for leftovers. You can add a special touch to it. Simply print out your special sandwich recipe or some other recipe and put it with the leftovers pack. If you don't want to give away your secret, then you can add a Thanksgiving message in the box. It will make an impression, and your loved ones will be delighted to receive such a gift during the holiday.

5. Take Turns With Thanksgiving Mad-Libs

Photo from Small Stuff Counts

This adorable take on the classic fill-in-the-blanks game Mad-Libs is a fun Thanksgiving activity to do with the family while they're seated at the Thanksgiving table for dinner. This simple activity is suitable for people of all ages and allows everyone to express their gratitude.

Use a pack of printable Mad Libs. After dinner, have everyone take turns reading their finished Mad-lib stories aloud to get the laughter started.

6. Host A Pie Baking Competition

A pie-baking competition is the most playful way to split the workload and lessen the stress on the host. After everyone is finished baking their pies, pit those pies against each other to see which can make the best Thanksgiving pie! With exquisite pie toppers, it's a great opportunity for everyone to show their artistic talent.

7. Throw A Thanksgiving Punch

Photo by Kobby Mendez on Unsplash

Throw a Thanksgiving punch to get your get-together off to a good start. In comparison to choosing from a wide range of liquors and mixers, these boozy, big-batch cocktails and drinks (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) are quick and much simpler to make.

Make a large batch of fall-flavored Thanksgiving punch. For an adult crowd, these drinks can also be spiced up. These festive punches are sure to please and keep the crowd hydrated.

8. Decorate A Thankful Tree 

Photo from Lifeway

To honor the spirit of Thanksgiving, make a heartfelt centerpiece for your own family. Among all of the Thanksgiving traditions, making a thankful tree for your home this fall season is a thoughtful gesture that only takes a few steps.

A bare branch from Etsy, a few twigs, a sturdy vase, a couple of gift tags or ornaments, and twine are all you need for this Thanksgiving DIY project. Place the twigs in the vase to make a miniature tree, then place the pieces of paper beside the "tree" and write on them with a pen. Allow your guests to write down what they are grateful for. To hang the sentiment from the branches, punch holes in the tags and tie twine to them. See a detailed process here.

This simple but meaningful decorative piece will capture everyone's attention this holiday season and will serve as a fun activity for you and your guests.

9. Ring the Pumpkin

Make the most of your outdoor space by hosting a "Ring the Pumpkin" contest. This is an excellent outdoor activity for Thanksgiving with friends and family.

Set up two rows of tables and hay bales with pumpkins at various distances between the bales. Every player takes turns tossing the ring around the pumpkin out of the hay bales. Every kid who successfully tosses the ring around the pumpkin gets a prize, such as Turkey cracker snacks or a Mayflower munch. You can also opt for a token Thanksgiving gift for each of your guest to increase the joy of the occasion by manifolds. Need ideas? Find some here.

10. Make Thanksgiving Cornucopia Centerpiece

One of the most popular Thanksgiving traditions is making a homemade cornucopia for the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving table. You can make it out of chicken wire and rope then fill it with the autumn harvest, plants, pumpkins, gourds, quills, flowers, and petals. It's a lovely and festive decoration that always puts everyone in the holiday spirit.

11. Make A Gratitude Basket

A gratitude basket would be a better replacement if you don’t like the traditional idea of making a cornucopia.

All you need is a basket and some stuffing, which can be found at any craft store. Wrap some fall ribbon around it to make it look fancy. Before dinner, take a piece of cardstock and have your guests write something they are grateful for on it, then place it in a wicker basket. Pass the basket around the table, and have each person select a random card to read aloud.

Each year It feels nice to look back and read what you were thankful for the previous year. Remember, even in your lowest points, you will always have something to be thankful for.

12. Play Thanksgiving Bingo

Photo from Crayons and Cravings

You can never be too old to play bingo. Among all Thanksgiving party ideas, this Thanksgiving Bingo game is ideal for a fun activity for kids while adults watch the Thanksgiving day parade.

Every kid loves playing this, and you'll get to make fun memories with them. All you have to do is have the game cards printed.

13. Prepare Thanksgiving Brunch

Photo by Emrah Tolu on Pexels

Thanksgiving is more than just the main course. A hearty brunch for your family or guests will keep their tummies from rumbling while they wait for the big Thanksgiving dinner.

Save all of your nibble-worthy quick bread, snacks to sweet potato hash, and pumpkin pancake recipes for a Friendsgiving brunch. To me watching the Thanksgiving day parade with a mimosa in hand sounds like a winning combo.

14. Host A Craft Competition

Photos from Yahoo

Of course, everyone loves fall-themed garlands and beautiful centerpieces for the Thanksgiving table, but nothing says Thanksgiving like a few good old turkey crafts.

Making festive crafts to celebrate Thanksgiving. The fall season is just as much fun for kids as it is for adults. While the adults finish the meal or clean up, you can keep the kids occupied by creating this seasonal decorations.

15. Create A Photo Booth

Photo from Temu

Add a touch of Thanksgiving magic with a family photo booth to capture all the fun memories from your Thanksgiving day! Add some props to your booth, such as a pilgrim's hat, hay bales seating arrangement, a turkey crown, or a pie, for fun photos that can also serve as party favors.

16. Hire A Live Band

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

One of the best Thanksgiving party ideas is to hire a live band to be the soundtrack for your event. A lively band can perform for you according to your musical preferences. Guests can drink, relax, and enjoy the music as the evening progresses, or they can let loose and show off their best dance moves if they're up for it.

17. Break the Wishbone

Photo from Daily Sabah

On the Thanksgiving table, the tradition of breaking a bird's wishbone represents good fortune, hope, and looking forward to the future. Set aside the wishbone to dry after curving the turkey. Draw two names after dinner to break the wishbone. The winner gets to eat dessert first!

18. Play Thanksgiving Trivia

While the pumpkin pies are baking, foster some friendly competition by asking Thanksgiving trivia questions. Test everyone's Thanksgiving knowledge with a round of Thanksgiving-themed trivia. The winner may receive a freshly baked pumpkin pie.

19. Say Thanksgiving Prayer

The act of expressing or feeling thankful is the only tradition that truly honors the holiday's meaning. Saying grace right before Thanksgiving dinner is an important way to reflect on why we gather on this day and what we are thankful for. If your family follows this Thanksgiving tradition, you can read prayers and blessings with your loved ones that discuss abundant feasts, amazing friends and family, health, a warm home, and many other things.

Concluding Thoughts

So, if you're hosting a Thanksgiving celebration this year, start sending out your Thanksgiving cards for the season. You can get some inspiration here for creating a personalized message for your cards. Make your celebration more than just a big meal. Spending time with those you care about is more important than ever.

Trending in Notes

I hope your day is as fabulous as you are! Much love and many smooches.
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I am thankful beyond words that fate brought us together. Happy Birthday My friend!
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A special birthday wish for the special one of my life. May all your wishes come true.
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I may have taken you for granted at times, and things may have been tense or uncomfortable recently. But I do want you to know how much I value you and how happy I am to have you in my life. This Thanksgiving I am thankful that I have you.
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Happy birthday to the beautiful, intelligent, charming person I call my best friend!
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