What comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving? Are you overwhelmed with images of family gatherings and a meal that could only be described as a feast? Maybe the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade with its magical floats and balloons is a prominent thought. Maybe, like many families, Thanksgiving summons up memories of Thanksgiving football games.
Does half of your family disappear on Thanksgiving to watch football? Are you left with the remaining family members wondering what exactly to do now? If so, check out this list of 25 things to do during the Thanksgiving football games:
25 Things to Do During Thanksgiving Football Games
- Gear up for the Thanksgiving feast: According to the Caloric Control Council, the average American will consume more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving Day with most of these calories coming from the all-day snacking in front of the TV while watching parades and sporting events. With that in mind, let your couch potato family members pack on the extra pounds while watching the Thanksgiving football games while you head out for a brisk walk or jog.
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen: A perfect way to remember the importance of the day is to volunteer at a soup kitchen, church or community center. I assure you, your time spent volunteering will be far more gratifying than anything else you could do on Thanksgiving Day. If volunteering on the day of Thanksgiving is not a viable option, consider donating prior to Thanksgiving Day. In the past, my family has donated to a local church by buying all the Thanksgiving fixings for families in need.
- See a movie: Has it been a while since you’ve been to the movie theatre? Why not take advantage of the free babysitting available (a.k.a. family members) and catch that movie you’d like to see?
- Participate in a local race: Does your community have a Thanksgiving Day race? Consider lacing up your running shoes and heading out for a major calorie burn. Toss in a little fun, by making a bet and challenging your family members.
- Immerse yourself in Thanksgiving crafts: If working up a massive sweat on Thanksgiving Day is not your idea of fun, perhaps whipping up a few Thanksgiving crafts are more your speed. To get inspired, check out my list of 25 Preschool Thanksgiving Crafts. (Please note: You need not be a toddler to appreciate these Thanksgiving crafts).
- Fun (and educational) Thanksgiving printables: If the kids are not interested in crafts, why not download a variety of Thanksgiving printables to entertain them? In my list of 25 Preschool Thanksgiving Printables you will find coloring pages, printable Thanksgiving finger puppets, Thanksgiving handwriting worksheets and much more.
- Learn about Thanksgiving: Boot up the computer and Google “What is Thanksgiving?” to discover what Thanksgiving is about. Consider making a Thanksgiving trivia game out of the facts you learn.
- Board Game Tournament: If you have a competitive family, go ahead and initiate a board game tournament. Is Grandma awesome at UNO or is Uncle Gary always the bigger winner at BINGO? Regardless of the game you choose, for added fun, have great prizes to win. (Piece of advice: Small ceramic figurines are not great prizes, sorry, Grandma. I am still not sure what I was supposed to do with the 20+ figurines I won).
- Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt: Team up with family members to participate in a Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt. Take a look at this Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt printable for ideas to create your family’s event.
- Organize a Mini Pumpkin Hunt: Instead of an elaborate scavenger hunt, perhaps the kids would enjoy a mini pumpkin hunt. Similar to an Easter egg hunt, hide mini pumpkins either inside or outside and let the kids go searching.
- Talent Show: Initially the concept of a talent show may lead you to think it is merely a Thanksgiving activity for kids, but nonsense, get the adults involved too. You may discover that Aunt Shirley can tap dance or that Cousin Sarah can juggle.
- Create a Personalized Mini Thanksgiving Book: Encourage the kids to make a Personalized Mini Thanksgiving Book to commemorate the day. Here’s a template to get them started.
- Family Toss Football Game: While your family members are glued to the tube, why not head outside and play your own game of football? You just may be able to recruit a couple of them to play with you.
- Carve Pumpkins: Gather family members together and get creative with craving pumpkins. This activity isn’t just for Halloween!
- Host a Dance Party: Have the family break out their dancing shoes and get moving.
- Thanksgiving Party Games: If none of my previous suggestions intrigue you, head over here to check out these No Stress Thanksgiving Party Games for the Whole Family including Mayflower Memory, Count Your Blessings, and Tearable Turkey.
- Videoconference Relatives Far Away: In a perfect world the entire family would be able to congregate for Thanksgiving Day, but in reality this is rarely the case. Thanks to technology we have viable options (at minimal cost) available to contact them and wish them a “Happy Thanksgiving!”
- Make Your Family’s Holiday Wish List: With the family together, now is the ideal time to start strategizing your holiday shopping and obtaining your family’s wish list requests.
- Shop: Black Friday deals start earlier and earlier every year with many beginning on Thanksgiving Day. Though I personally avoid fighting the crowds in the stores, I do adore taking advantage of online Black Friday deals. Why not check a few people off your holiday list and save cash at the same time?
- Decorate for the upcoming holiday: It seems like no sooner than the turkey is carved are we celebrating the next holiday, so why not get a jump start on decorating especially when you have a group of willing “volunteers” available to help?
- Eat: It is Thanksgiving after all, get started racking up the 4,500 calories the Caloric Control Council claims the average American consumes on Thanksgiving Day. While some family members are busy watching the Thanksgiving football games, go ahead and sneak that extra piece of pie or helping of dressing.
- If you can’t beat them, join them: If year after year you feel left out from all the cheers and groans and would like to know what the excitement is all about, ask your family to educate you about the game. Be prepared to be interrupted during your lesson as football fans are prone to being consumed during the Thanksgiving football games.
- Play charades: Institute a rigorous game of charades. All the cheering and yelling may actually lure some of the football watchers away!
- Take some family photos: Okay, this one may sound like it won’t take long but just wait until you’re trying to corral people together. Snap lots of photos including one of the whole family. All of those photos can be used to make a calendar which is a great Christmas gift! Tip: wait until half-time to take the whole family photo – it’ll be much easier to get the football watchers onboard then.
- Have a swap meet: Do you have old clothes, jewelry, books, etc. that you’ve been meaning to donate? Maybe your kids have old toys they’ve outgrown that are just taking up space. Bring all the stuff you’ve been meaning to drop off at Goodwill to Thanksgiving and tell your family members to do the same. Trade items or simply gift them. You’ll probably end up with some really great stuff like your cousin’s bracelet you were envying on the 4th of July.
This Thanksgiving, while many of your family members are absorbed in the Thanksgiving football games, you don’t have to be bored. Just refer to this list of 25 Things to do During the Thanksgiving Football Games and you’ll have tons of fun.
Can you think of other great activities to do this Thanksgiving rather than watching the football games? If so, please share them in the comments.
Now, for those of you who intend on being camped out on the couch for the better part of Thanksgiving, here are this year’s Thanksgiving Football Games:
12:30 p.m. ET – CBS
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
4:30 p.m. ET – FOX
Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys
8:30 p.m. ET – NBC
Pittsburg Steelers at Baltimore Ravens