Thanksgiving is a day of routines, and they mostly revolve around food. We all anticipate the comforting heaps of sides and the golden turkey, as well as the cuts of ham and vat of gravy, but there are plenty of fun things to do on Thanksgiving that don't put all the pressure of the day's success on the dining table. This year, plan to create another tradition or two for your family to celebrate.
We rounded up 30 ideas of things to do on Thanksgiving—from an early morning turkey-trot to an afternoon touch football game and an evening wearing matching pajamas—so that your routines extend past the expected menu.
Make a Light Breakfast
It's never a good idea to skip eating altogether until the turkey hits the table. Whip up a light breakfast to keep your energy up—even if it's something as simple as a fruit salad and coffee—so that you don't feel out of sorts later.
Organize the Kitchen
Do you ever watch cooking shows and notice that the hosts always have the ingredients they need within reach? Make the chef's duties easier by organizing everything that's needed for the feast ahead of time.
Try doing this earlier in the day just in case you need to make a last-minute grocery store run.
Play a Game
Once the early afternoon is underway, the chef is likely scrambling to get things finished. Make sure guests who want to watch football are taken care of—with drinks and snacks, of course—and then lead others to play a game outside and away from the kitchen. That can be a simple relay race, hide-and-go-seek, touch football, or a simple DIY washer game from Sugar & Cloth.
Whether you pass out seasonal beers or flavorful mocktails, make sure everyone has a drink waiting for them before dinner.
Create a Buffet Line Based on Birthday Months
Now that the turkey is on display and the sides are ready to go, it's time to do what this holiday is all about: chow down. But instead of rushing to the front of the line, ask everyone to line up according to their birthday month. Flip a coin to see if you'll go forward from January or backward from December.
Have Conversation-Starters Ready
Nothing is worse than eating in an awkward silence, so have some lighthearted conversation starters ready for when everyone starts slowing down.
Dinner Winners Serve Dessert
Slices of pie aren't going to eat themselves, you know. Ask those who were served dinner first to be the ones to serve dessert.
Whip Out the Board Games
Since you have a big group together, this is the perfect opportunity to play board games, from Monopoly to Scrabble and foosball.