14+ Thanksgiving Team Building Activities

It’s time to celebrate Thanksgiving in the workplace. Check out the best 14+ Thanksgiving team building activities for both in-person and remote teams here.
14+ Thanksgiving Team Building Activities
Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday season - it’s a day to be grateful and express gratitude for the blessings of the year.

The Thanksgiving spirit flies around workplaces two, three, and even four days before Thanksgiving.

Consequently, one of the greatest ways to give thanks to the universe is by being part of a Thanksgiving celebration with team members and coworkers.

Let’s discover the best Thanksgiving team building activities for both in-person and remote teams.

Officemates having fun

Benefits of Thanksgiving Team Building Activities

The benefits of team building activities are widely known by companies and enterprises all over the world.

However, Thanksgiving team building events are slightly different. Among the main benefits of Thanksgiving activities in the workplace, we have the following:

  1. It has been proven that team building events promote team bonding, improve employee engagement, encourage creativity, boost productivity, and encourage employees to perform better in their professional duties. 
  2. A report conducted by Insider shows that most employees believe that working on Thanksgiving is not bad at all - employees usually get paid more, and holiday parties are enjoyable and engaging.
  3. Team building events during holidays are sought after by employees. A study conducted by HR News shows that 82% of UK employees demand more team building activities, especially during holidays. 

How to Choose Team Building Games for Thanksgiving

Choosing a team building game for Thanksgiving is different from choosing team building activities for other occasions. There are three points to take into account before choosing an activity that celebrates Thanksgiving with your team members. 

1. Choose a Quick Team Building Activity

Most employees want to participate in the holiday traditions of Thanksgiving with their coworkers, but they also want to go home and celebrate with their family members.

Choose events or play games that do not take several hours to finish - a Thanksgiving team building activity should be quick, fun, and meaningful.

2. Thanksgiving Games to Express Gratitude 

Celebrating Thanksgiving is about expressing gratitude to the universe. There are reasons to be grateful while working during Thanksgiving, and each team member knows it.

Therefore, it is important to find a Thanksgiving team building activity to encourage gratitude among the whole team. 

3. Consider Virtual Thanksgiving Ideas

Remote team members should not be left behind - there are many great tools to gather with your virtual team and celebrate Thanksgiving virtually. 

Don't forget about your remote employees if your company runs distributed teams, as Thanksgiving virtual team building events are also on the menu.

14+ Best Thanksgiving Team Building Activities

Thanksgiving team building events should include team members from all over the world. Consequently, this guide will focus on two different types of Thanksgiving activities: in-person events, and virtual team building activities.

Keep on reading to choose a Thanksgiving event that suits the needs of your team members accordingly.

7 In-person Thanksgiving Team Building Activities

In-person team building events for Thanksgiving are engaging, fun, and create long-lasting bonds between office members. 

These are seven of the most fun Thanksgiving team building events suited for in-office teams. 

1. Make a Wreath Together

Wreaths are part of the Thanksgiving tradition - to get started with the holiday spirit, gather your team, and start making a wreath together.

To make a wreath, the most common materials needed include grapevine or willow wreath bases, fall foliage, and pinecones.

Making a wreath with your in-person team is a fun event that lasts from 30 minutes to 1 hour. Then, the whole team can hang the wreaths on the wall of the office to express gratitude for this special holiday. 

Feeling like making something other than a wreath? Go ahead and create entire terrariums.

2. Group Volunteer Event

There’s no Thanksgiving without “giving.” Finding a great group volunteer event boosts the morale of all team members while also helping others in a fulfilling way.

There are several local places all over the country where people can go to help the homeless or senior citizens. By doing so, team members feel more connected to each other, and they will also be part of a magnificent contribution to the lives of other people.

At the end of the day, team members can write what they are most thankful for on post-it notes and add them to a gratitude wall. 

3. Play Football or Outdoor Sports

Watching football is a classic thing to do during Thanksgiving - the NFL season is hotter than ever these days, so people gather with their whole family to watch their favorite teams.

But instead of watching football, organizing a football match between your team members is a great way to have a fun and healthy time together.

To play a football match, you need to rent a football court where everyone can play. But other sports are on the table too - you can play volleyball or basketball together. The point is to have fun and have a great time together.

4. Donate and Celebrate Thanksgiving

Donating and giving clothes, food, and even money, are some of the most fulfilling things to do on Thanksgiving.

Reach out to local nonprofits and ask them about their needs. Some will require winter clothes, and others will be glad to receive food for the homeless.

Go on a donation drive with your team and let them all experience the joy of giving to others.

Events such as a food drive or a local fundraiser are all over the place during Thanksgiving, so don’t skip on the chance to make other people happy. 

5. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Themed Event

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a classic among the American people. Although the parade takes place in New York, you don’t need to travel all the way to Manhattan to enjoy a similar event with your coworkers.

To replicate this iconic day parade, you would need balloons and decorations such as banners, streamers, and flags.

Gathering the materials and decorating the office to look like Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is a fun way to engage with coworkers and have a great time together during one of the most important days of the year.

6. Have a Great Thanksgiving Meal

They say that a Thanksgiving party isn’t a party without delicious dishes! If you have a dinner table inside the office, it’s possible to have a nice Thanksgiving meal together.

Everyone can share their favorite Thanksgiving dish, such as hand turkey and mashed potatoes.

Some prefer pecan pie, others love pumpkin pie - it’s all about learning about the variety of dishes that this holiday brings for us.

If you want to take things a step further, then organize a cooking class with your team. Team building cooking classes will test your team member’s cooking skills, and you can all enjoy dinner together after learning how to prepare special and unique Thanksgiving recipes. 

7. Have a Thanksgiving Happy Hour with Gifts

One of the best ways to end the day is by having a Thanksgiving happy hour party in the office

Bring some drinks, learn how to prepare cocktails, and gather together to discuss the positive things that have happened in the office throughout the year.

You can also give each other a Thanksgiving gift as if you were playing “Secret Santa” together - remember, giving is one of the best ways to celebrate and embrace the true essence of Thanksgiving.

Colleagues drinking at the office

7 Best Virtual Thanksgiving Ideas

Team members can also participate virtually in Thanksgiving events, so there’s no need to leave them aside. There are different video call platforms that connect people from different parts of the globe, such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom. 

The following seven virtual Thanksgiving ideas work for remote teams from different parts of the world.

1. Play Virtual Thanksgiving Bingo

Virtual bingo is energetic, fun, and exciting to play on Thanksgiving day. Organize a virtual bingo activity for Thanksgiving, and gather your remote team in the next team meeting during the day.

They’ll be surprised and entertained by the activity, and it can be personalized by adding events related to Thanksgiving, such as including fun turkey stories or naming 3 things they are grateful for.

2. Virtual Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are always fun, even for remote teams. Online scavenger hunts can be personalized to match Thanksgiving themes.

The clues of the hunt can be highly related to Thanksgiving, such as finding a football or naming 3 different American tribes.

Virtual scavenger hunts last from 45 minutes to 1 hour, and by adding the touch of Thanksgiving's true essence, team members will feel more connected to each other after finishing the activity. 

3. Play Fun Games Online

Online video games are a timeless classic that all remote teams will most likely enjoy.

There are tons of Nintendo, PC, PlayStation, and other fun games that you and your team can play together.

Finding a game that everyone enjoys (such as Mario Party or Mario Kart) is crucial. Likewise, make sure that everyone has the game system required to play the game.

Organize a friendly competition, and don’t forget to express gratitude toward the universe on Thanksgiving day.

4. Virtual Gratitude Wall

A gratitude wall is a place where people write what they are grateful for and share their thoughts with others.

There are different ways to build a small gratitude wall online, such as creating a group chat or setting up a space entirely dedicated to grateful messages.

By implementing a Thank You Wall, remote team members will feel appreciated and beloved by the universe.

5. Thanksgiving Trivia

It’s trivia time! Trivia is always an enjoyable activity regardless of the time of the year.

To play Thanksgiving-based trivia, gather some curious questions about this special holiday.

The questions might be related to certain Thanksgiving recipes, iconic football teams, Canadian Thanksgiving, and more. Organize a small contest where remote team members win a little something by answering questions correctly.

6. Participate in a Virtual Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving foods have no boundaries - even a remote dinner during Thanksgiving sounds fun. 

Set the time of the dinner, and gather your remote team members via video call. Ask them about their Thanksgiving dishes, and make them talk about their favorite ingredients in the dish.

The great thing about this activity is that it can be combined with in-person Thanksgiving dinners, which helps companies connect remotely with in-office team members.

7. Virtual Thanksgiving Holiday Party

The best way to end the day is by having a cool virtual holiday party, in this case, celebrating Thanksgiving!

Virtual parties and virtual happy hours are more suited for the end of the day, so make sure not to push the duration of the activity.

While your remote team celebrates together, remember all those achievements and milestones accomplished throughout the year. Talk about how grateful you are and connect with each other while celebrating the holiday season together.

Summary: 14 Best Thanksgiving Team Building Activities

Thanksgiving celebration activities in the workplace are fulfilling, enjoyable, and highly effective in motivating team members.

Companies understand the importance and the benefits of Thanksgiving team building activities, and thanks to this guide, you are ready to unleash the power of this special date. The following table is a summary of the best Thanksgiving ideas and activities for both in-person and remote teams.

In-person Thanksgiving Team Building Events

  1. Make a Wreath Together
  2. Group Volunteer Event
  3. Play Football or Outdoor Sports
  4. Donate and Celebrate Thanksgiving
  5. Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Themed Event
  6. Have a Great Thanksgiving Meal
  7. Have a Thanksgiving Happy Hour with Gifts

Best Virtual Thanksgiving Ideas

  1. Play Virtual Thanksgiving Bingo
  2. Virtual Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt
  3. Play Fun Games Online
  4. Virtual Gratitude Wall
  5. Thanksgiving Trivia
  6. Participate in a Virtual Thanksgiving Dinner
  7. Virtual Thanksgiving Holiday Party

Author Details

Written by:
Najeeb Khan
Head of Training & Events
Leadership Development, Team Training, Belonging, Diversity & Inclusion, & Innovation
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