Five Ideas for a Fun-Filled Friendsgiving/Thanksgiving

Posted on Nov 17, 2021

Five Ideas for a Fun-Filled Friendsgiving/Thanksgiving

Holiday season is just about here! Many of us are choosing to adapt familiar traditions or to make new ones. One thing that hasn't changed: how much we all cherish connecting with our friends and loved ones. Five young adult Chase Oaks staff members share their favorite ideas for an easy and fun-filled Friendsgiving or Thanksgiving celebration, below.

1. Football Watch Party and “Picnic”

Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year for three reasons: family, football, and food. If I can’t have them all, then I’ll do my best to have at least one! I think a football watch party is a great way to bring people together, start conversation, and possibly build new relationships.

One option, if people aren't able to get together in one place, is to do the watch party online with picnic baskets for each household. Everyone in your group can donate some food to put in each basket, and one person can be the “basket maker” who puts everything together ahead of time. On the day of (or day before) your celebration, everyone can pick up their basket from the basket maker.

Food can be anything from popcorn, to frozen pizzas, or something more Thanksgiving-themed that just needs to be reheated. Or, if you have someone who loves to cook, you could have everyone pay a certain amount for a basket to be prepared and delivered on the day of your watch party.

- Jason Arnold

2. Pre-Friendsgiving/Thanksgiving Challenge

Every year, our family has a challenge activity that we have to complete beforehand (or the day of Thanksgiving). Then on Thanksgiving Day, we talk about it and share our experiences. It gives us something to do other than watch football, eat, and potentially get into arguments! Last year, our challenge was to “thank someone in the most public way possible,” with video proof that we shared with everyone else on Thanksgiving. This year, we've each been assigned a person to do something nice for (that costs little or no money).

A similar kind of group challenge could make Friendsgiving a lot of fun—even if guests don’t know each other that well—and could be shared virtually. You can also make the activity competitive, with winners and prizes.

My roomie and I are also hosting Friendsgiving at our place this year, and we are inviting a lot of acquaintances and people we know casually, with the goal to include as many as possible. We don't have to be super-close friends to enjoy Friendsgiving together. And we're eating chicken, not turkey!

- Darby DeBusk

3. Online Games

One idea for Friendsgiving with people who are not able to travel is to play virtual games together. Everyone has their favorites, but I like Online Codenames via Zoom. It’s SO fun and funny, and you can play it with a lot of people!

Some other hilarious game options that can be played online:
• Pictionary or (look here for an online word generator)
JackBox games (these require some computer savvy to set up)
Scattergories (online version)
Heads Up (an app-based variation on charades)
• Minute to Win It games (click here for a list of 50 fast and fun options)

- Hannah Lee

4. Thankful-for-You Letters

Everyone in your group can draw names so each person is assigned to another person. Then, each person writes their person a letter before Thanksgiving. The letter includes why the writer is thankful for the person receiving the letter, as well as the impact they’ve made on others. Each person could also add in a small but meaningful gift—one that reminds the giver of that family member or friend.

For example, one of the admins at Chase Oaks has a tradition of giving everyone in her family an ornament that represents who they are. She brought this tradition to our campus Christmas party and gifted everyone on staff an ornament. She gave me a cotton candy ornament because she said that I was the sweetest person she had ever met. She gave someone else an owl because they were a source of wisdom for her in times of trouble.

This could be adapted for Friendsgiving or Thanksgiving with stickers or keychains—something that isn’t expensive but it cute and thoughtful. If you can give the letters and gift in advance, you can include people who aren't able to be there by jumping on a Zoom call to watch as everyone opens their letter and gift.

- Ashlyn May

5. Cheap Eats for a Cause

In the past, we have had a dinner night where we made our own food instead of going out to eat. We chose a menu that was inexpensive to make, and then estimated how much our meal would have cost at a restaurant. Everyone donated the difference between our actual cost and the restaurant cost to purchase gifts for ToyZone, our annual toy drive for families in need.

Our group made pancakes – but this idea could easily be done with pasta, tacos, or another menu item. It can also be adapted for an online “meal” with a group of friends to benefit a cause that your group chooses together.

- Kelsey Kruzich

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