Thanksgiving Ideas Other Than a Big Family Dinner

Have fun with a family-friendly Thanksgiving activity.

Your family can start celebrating and preparing for Thanksgiving this weekend, with story times, cooking classes, art projects, and more—and continue the festivities through the big day! Look for various venues that may be hosting virtual Thanksgiving activities for the whole family.

Enjoy the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade may look different this year (there will be no crowds and balloons will be carried by vehicles rather than people, among other changes), but the beloved tradition will still be broadcast nationwide on NBC. What’s more, there are a few new balloons and floats making their parade debut, Broadway shows will perform, and there are plenty of music acts to keep your whole family entertained for a few hours.

Watch a movie marathon.

After watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from the comfort of your couch, why not continue the day with some fall family favorites? Screen the classic A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, then watch as turkeys try to save the day (and their kin) in the animated Free Birds. Not rooting for any of the teams playing on Nov. 26, but still in the mood for football? Try Remember the TitansRudy, or Radio. And you can always start the holiday celebrations a little early with ElfHome Alone, or Miracle on 34th Street.

Have a friendly Thanksgiving dish competition.

Do the kids love making chocolate chip cookies? Does your sister usually make a mean sweet potato pie? Invite family members to drop their favorite homemade dishes at your house—and then do a Zoom competition where you “judge” the best dish. Don’t forget to make something for them, too!

Connect with family even when you’re not together.

Many families are making the difficult decision to not get together for the holidays to limit the potential of getting and spreading the coronavirus. But that doesn’t mean your kids can’t see their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins! Video-chat devices are available that will help your family connect, whether they’re down the block or across the country.


Invent your own tradition!

It will help take your mind off the impact COVID-19 has had on all our lives—whether it’s a new recipe, an excursion, or a new activity—do something that you’ve never done as a family. Now is the time to start a new Thanksgiving tradition with your family and incorporate it again next year!

Plan your own family turkey trot.

Running (or walking) your own 5K is a great way for the whole family to get some exercise. Who needs other runners? This way, you’ll all win!

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