As many companies have employees returning to the office on a regular or hybrid schedule, it’s time to consider the upcoming holiday season. There are many reasons to give thanks, and it’s important to show gratitude to one another, especially in the workforce.
Employees who feel appreciated often work harder and build stronger workplace relationships. These connections are essential to keep the team motivated and ensure everybody is doing the best work possible.
Whether you have a hybrid or on-site team, it’s worthwhile celebrating each other face-to-face. If you want to show your thanks and celebrate your employees, here are 26 office Thanksgiving activities that your team will love.
List of Office Thanksgiving Ideas for You
Food and Festivities
Decorating your surroundings while adding in the aromas of flavorful foods will bring the holiday to the office.
1. Decorate the Office and Have a Gratitude Scavenger Hunt
Add a splash of Thanksgiving décor throughout the floor of your offices. Orange, yellow, and brown bring warmth to the area, making it festive. Prepare a scavenger hunt list focusing on gratitude and thankfulness where employees, divided into teams, can enjoy roaming the offices in search of the items on the list.
2. Have a Potluck Lunch
On most holidays, even modest chefs like to take part in making a particular dish for the big day. Or, at the very least, picking up a traditional something at the supermarket.
So, stretch those chef muscles a little further this year and hold a team potluck lunch. Request that each person brings a favorite dish, so it will become a large feast for all to enjoy.
3. Anything but Turkey Lunch
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, a handful of people dread the six days of turkey leftovers that they will be subjected to very soon, so instead of doing an extra day of turkey, make an anything-but-turkey lunch for the office.
Order ethnic foods to get tastes from around the world. Mexican and Chinese food are always fans’ favorites!
4. Turkey Day Tailgate
Thanksgiving and football go hand and hand, so why not have a turkey day tailgate party in the office? Have employees wear their favorite jerseys, paint their faces, and even put together a barbeque at work. You’ll have to ask HR about a friendly game of touch football, though.
5. Leftover Buffet
Some companies must go to work on Friday, so keep the holiday going by having a leftover buffet. Have each employee bring in leftovers to share. That way, everyone can indulge in turkey, mashed potatoes, and pie just as if they were still at home for the day.
6. Kids Cooking Class: Thanksgiving Side Dishes Contest
Let employees bring their kids to work and have a kids’ cooking class and Thanksgiving side dish contest. Provide or have an employee bring in specific ingredients that are easy to prepare in the office setting. Have a competition for the best dishes, but either way, everyone wins since there will be a ton of food for all.
7. Peanuts Thanksgiving Party
Not everyone will want to have a turkey lunch before Thanksgiving Day, so in the office, add a classic twist on the holiday of thanks.
Show a viewing of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving while taking a note from Charlie Brown and his friend’s food selections. They did it right when they celebrated their Friendsgiving with candy, toast, popcorn, and sundae dishes.
8. Pie Swap Showdown
Make the holiday sweet in the office with a pie swap showdown. Have employees bring pies in for sharing. Each employee that brings in a pie gets to keep one slice from their pie and go down the line, taking a piece of pie from all the others until their pie pan is back to full.
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9. Have a Catered Lunch
If you’d rather give employees a full day of rest inside the office walls, why not hire a caterer to handle lunch for the team?
Ordering food from a fan-favourite or higher-end spot can show your staff how much you care for them. Good food speaks volumes when it comes to expressing your gratitude.
10. Recipe Exchange
A recipe exchange is a great event for the office leading up to the holiday. Traditional dishes make it to every Thanksgiving dinner, but it’s nice to share the wealth of those family recipes now and again. Learn a new recipe shared by your co-worker to implement in your Thanksgiving dinner this year.
Whether you have a hybrid or on-site team, it's worthwhile celebrating each other face-to-face. If you want to show your thanks and celebrate your employees
The holiday is all about giving thanks, so find creative ways to say thanks to co-workers and the community by way of giving back.
11. Create a Wall of Gratitude
Decorate a wall in the office and set up a station with paper, pens, and pins or tape. Tell employees to visit the wall each day and place a note of gratitude on the wall. It can be an outlet to thank co-workers, family, friends, and more. Honestly, the list of gratitude is endless.
12. Send Thank You Notes to One Another in the Department
Remember when you were in elementary school and had to write Valentine’s cards to each kid in the class? Give employees a list of each team member and have them write a thank you note.
Some employees already know each other, but this can open up new communications within the department. After all, everyone loves to hear thank you.
13. Have a Homecoming Half Day
Homecoming is usually known as a time for school spirit where people come from far and wide to rally their hometown community, so why not implement something like it in the workspace?
Have a team meeting pep rally for your company because your team is like a family or a community. This celebration is a great way to build team morale and inspire members to keep giving their best.
14. Do a Food and Clothing Drive
It’s the time of year to give back in appreciation for all you have been blessed with each day. Having a clothing and food drive in the office for the season can make employees feel good about helping others.
You can schedule a pick-up with an office or find a drop-off location to donate.
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15. Give Employees a Volunteer Day
Companies have been on board with volunteer days because good people know it’s important to donate time to great causes. Many people feel that the only way to get ahead in life is to give back. So, companies can schedule a volunteer day where employees still get paid for the day but learn essential team-building skills while helping others.
16. Schedule a Clean-Up Day
Keeping the earth clean creates a better world for our future. It might not be a world event, but scheduling a clean-up at the office or a local park is another way to give back to the community.
In addition, a clean-up day builds character and teamwork. Allow employees to invite their children and family members so everyone can get involved.
17. Give Back to a Deserving Family In Need
Life can be challenging for even the strongest of us. Picking a family in need to benefit for the holiday can be a fantastic way to give back as a team.
Have employees nominate a family in need. Pick a family or two, and collect food and supplies for the family to have a beautiful holiday dinner.
Fun and Games
The holiday is the perfect time to play games and have some fun with co-workers, so get creative because there’s nothing wrong with some friendly competition and camaraderie.
18. Family Photo Contest
Add a bit of fun to the office with a family photo contest with a Thanksgiving theme. Ask employees to create a family photo that embodies the spirit of Thanksgiving. Put the images on display on an office wall or social media. Then, have employees vote on their favorites.
19. Thanksgiving Turkey Craft Decorating Contest
A little competition can be good for morale. So, why not make a Thanksgiving turkey craft decorating contest?
First, put a load of crafting supplies in the breakroom for employees to choose from, whether you have singles or teams. Then, have the staff create the best Thanksgiving decoration within the day and put it on display. Then, have upper management vote on their favorite decoration.
20. Have an Office Thanksgiving Day Parade
This idea is an office favorite. Allow employees to come dressed in parade favorites. Think Superman, a famous boy band, a Muppet, or a Rockette. Then, while wearing their favorite costume, have a parade around the office.
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21. Play Two Holidays and a Lie
Like the game Two Truths and a Lie, play the game with the rules of telling two true holiday stories and one fable. Then, let your co-workers guess which story is a fake one. This fun game allows you to learn more about your co-workers and create more bonds within the office.
22. Give Employees a Mini-shopping Spree From the Office Supply Catalog
Nothing says thank you like giving a gift that says I appreciate you, and here’s something that you need.
Give employees an allotted amount to spend in the office supply catalog, where they can get some supplies they might need for the office.
23. Have a Raffle
Having a raffle can be exciting for the office. Ask the company to donate a trip or gift cards to raffle off throughout the week leading up to the holiday. Also, collect money from staff for a chance to win money. Instead of one big jackpot, split it into three tiers to give better odds of winning.
24. The Gratitude Soiree: Stories of Thankfulness
Try putting together a workshop on thankfulness where employees or guest speakers share stories of gratitude. It can be an inspiring day of hearing beautiful moments of kindness. Make this gratitude soiree an event that employees can prepare for, along with a time limit if needed if you intend to have it as an open discussion.
25. Get a 360-Degree Photo Setup
A 360-degree photo setup is a new twist to the traditional photo booth. As the spinning disc holds one or more people, a moving camera snaps video and stills, combining it with music, and automatically sends it to the email or phone numbers given. It’s a fun way to show team morale.
26. Host a Cocktail Hour
Host a respectable cocktail party within the walls of the office space as a way to show your appreciation. You can set up a classy drinks cart, play some music, and order snack platters. If the office isn’t the place to host such an event, pick a place close by to house your staff for an afternoon or evening event.
So, there you have it! Here are 26 office Thanksgiving activities to give thanks and celebrate one another as we prepare to close another chapter on this year of lows and highs.
There is so much to be grateful for as we begin to close out the year, so spread kindness and cheer to your team. Together, you performed a job well done, so take a bit of playtime to enjoy each other’s company and give back to a community that can use a bit of kindness this holiday season.