Thanksgiving is a special holiday. It’s doing what I truly love to do – gather around for dinner and drinks (and hopefully pie) with people I love. But as nice as it is to have a nice meal, it can also be awkward and boring.
I went to a few Friendsgivings this year and the way they were set up, really helped us all get to know one another beyond asking about the obvious things going on (or not going on) in each other’s lives.
So here are 5 Ways to Get to Know Your Family and Friends Better at Thanksgiving
1. Play a Game
Some people love games others don’t really do it. At my Friendsgiving, after we ate and had mimosas, we divided the room into boys and girls and played Pictionary. We had a big board to draw on and then tallied the points on the side.
It was honestly such a funny experience because we learned that men and women think so differently. A guy would draw a line and another guy would guess “flower” and win, while the women drew elaborate scenes. To be fair, it’s harder to draw an ion than it is a basketball.
If it’s warmer outside, I like to be more active, and would suggest tag or football. Even if you don’t know how to play football, it’s a fun time.
Some games that you can play with a large group are: Pictionary, Red Rover, Football, Life, Monopoly.
2. Plan an Activity
Whether it’s snowy or balmy, you can really only sit for so long. A great way to get to know your family and friends is doing something active.
I go to Los Angeles for Thanksgiving and we have done everything from visiting the Getty museum to going to Sky Zone Trampoline Park to going on a Malibu Safari Wine Tour.
Some activities you can do: go on a walk/hike, workout, look at Christmas lights, plan a trip for the next day like going to a paint class or a museum.
But one of the simplist things you can do is to go for a walk or hike. I love going to Los Angeles and going hiking. This year, my brother and I are going to go on a hike and then have Thanksgiving dinner. In the past, my sister in law would do a quick workout with me in the morning as we waited for the potatoes to boil. It doesn’t have to be crazy and it doesn’t even have to be a long activity, but having these activities really breaks up the day and helps you bond.
3. Ask Questions (this way)
Nobody likes asking questions at Thanksgiving, but there are some questions we never really ask each other.
At Friendsgiving this year, everyone got a scrap piece of paper and wrote down 1-2 questions to put in a bowl. We went around the room and picked a question and answered it and then had one other person answer the same question. I know, it sounds weird, but it actually helped us all get to know each other.
Some of the questions we asked were:
Do you like snow?
What is your love language and when was the last time someone showed love to you in that way?
Which relative do you love to spend time with?
What’s a family tradition?
When did you find out that Santa isn’t real?
4. Bring a Dish as a Conversation Starter
Okay, you can be basic and make a pie or you can bring something that people love but don’t expect at Thanksgiving. At one of my Friendsgivings, someone brought Jenni’s ice cream and it launched a whole conversation on ice cream shops and flavors. At another Friendsgiving, someone brought Krispy Kreme donuts and that also started not only a conversation of do you eat the pie or the donut, but it also inspired our group photo.
Traditions are great and there are some Thanksgiving dishes I look forward to like mashed potatoes and gravy, but don’t be afraid to mix it up. It can be as simple as adding sausage to the stuffing – which was really good, or pecans to the Brussel Sprouts.
5. Take a Group Photo Based off a Famous Painting
Getting the group selfie in is one thing. But to really put in the group effort, at one of my Friendsgivings, we recreated the famous photo of Jesus and the 12 Disciples. We didn’t have 12 people, but we did have a dozen donuts so we called it Jesus and the 12 Donuts. At first, it was just supposed to be a simple picture but since this was a bible study group, we thought of this and tried to recall the picture from memory. Eventually, we looked it up and everyone emulated a different character in the painting. It made for a nice photo and great memory.
I hope you have a beautiful Thanksgiving weekend with your family and your friends. It really is a great opportunity to not only eat delicious food but get to know your family and friends better. Cheers to more cocktails and connections.
Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.