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In 2021, over 50 million Americans traveled for Thanksgiving break. It’s not a secret that this day is an important one, and your employees deserve to make the most of this gracious holiday.

Key takeaways

  1. Have a delicious Thanksgiving dinner potluck
  2. Get into the giving spirit with a donation drive
  3. Host a Thanksgiving scavenger hunt
  4. Set up a hot cocoa or cider bar
  5. Host a Thanksgiving recipe swap

Some festive team-building activities are the best way to encourage bonding, improve engagement, and treat your workers to some energizing antics. A Thanksgiving company event is perfect for getting everyone into the holiday spirit while nurturing a healthy workplace culture.

Keep reading, and I’ll share my top Thanksgiving team-building activities for you and your employees!

See Related: 5 Giving Tuesday Ideas With A Corporate Master Of Ceremonies

#1. Have a delicious Thanksgiving dinner potluck

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, your employees are likely getting ready to enjoy a four-day weekend. However, it’s important to keep them engaged and excited if you want to continue to nurture a positive workplace environment!

As a corporate emcee, I’ve played my part in countless company events, and I’ve led endless team-building exercises. And it’s always amazing to see how activities led by a Master of Ceremonies can really energize and empower a crowd.

There’s nothing that a great speaker can’t do!

a thanksgiving meal on a table team member macy's thanksgiving day parade fun games holiday traditions holiday parties happy thanksgiving meal virtual happy hoursThanksgiving team-building activities are the key to motivating and revitalizing your team

If your employees are starting to lose interest in putting forth their best, some team-building exercises might give them some extra motivation. Though it might seem simple, this is actually key in making sure your company can thrive.

Especially around the holidays and when the colder weather hits, the winter blues might make an unwelcome appearance. That’s where some heartwarming team bonding activities can help boost morale and increase engagement.

A classic and timeless idea for celebrating Thanksgiving as a team

The best team-building exercises are all about spending time together. And there’s nothing better than hosting a team Thanksgiving dinner potluck to bring everyone together!

Everyone knows that the Thanksgiving holiday is all about food. It’s what this entire day was built on. So, it only makes sense to go in that direction if you want to host a workplace holiday function in November.

a group of people eating together team member gratitude wall thanksgiving gift thanksgiving celebration family members thanksgiving spiritYou can never go wrong with plenty of food to keep the people fed

Putting together a potluck meal is both incredibly enticing (who can resist the delicious eats of the holidays?) and easy to facilitate. All you need to do is create a sign-up sheet for people to bring things like appetizers, drinks, snacks, salads, main dishes, and other non-food options like paper plates or silverware.

Be sure to double-check everything beforehand, so if no one signed up to make a pumpkin pie, you can easily supplement by hiring caterers or the like.

#2. Get into the giving spirit with a donation drive

Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for what you have. But it’s also about giving and making a positive difference in the world!

With a donation drive, you’ll be able to help your team and your organization give back to the community. Not only does it get everyone working together for something good, but it also keeps everyone’s heart warm, no matter how cold it might get in November.

Find a way to give back to the community that really speaks to your team

Each company is unique, and all employees have a different tie to their community. It’s important to capitalize on what matters to them.

You can do anything from donating school supplies to doing a food drive. Other popular options include donating winter coats or supplies for nonprofits to use.

Bonus: 7 Halloween Office Party Ideas You’ll Want To Celebrate With A Spooky Emcee

people gathering food for a food drive holiday season approaches healthy competition distributed teams senior citizens hand turkey mashed potatoes cooking skillsMake this Thanksgiving team-building activity a regular part of your day-to-day

One of the great things about this choice of team-bonding exercise is that you can make it simply part of your daily activities. An effortless way to incorporate it into the workplace is by setting up donation bins in the breakroom and then encouraging employees to drop off what they can!

Feel free to also turn it into a fun competition, where you can further encourage teamwork, collaboration, and camaraderie.

#3. Host a Thanksgiving scavenger hunt

Scavenger hunts are always a great idea for a team exercise. They’re fun, easy to put together, and end in a memorable evening all around!

So, why not put a Thanksgiving spin on it?

A great way to celebrate Thanksgiving as a team

To play a Thanksgiving-themed scavenger hunt, start by dividing everyone into teams. Or, if you have a particularly small workforce, you can also get by with doing it individually.

Then, give them a set amount of time to find items on a list. The more festive and seasonal the items are, the more Thanksgiving-y it’ll feel.

a group of people putting their hands together express gratitude dinner table fun way turkey trot other fun games entire turkey friendly competition work teams Some ideas to get you started…

The key to a great Thanksgiving team-bonding scavenger hunt is having the right items on your list. Let me give you a few ideas to get you started. But remember, you can take it in any direction you’d like.

Another great thing to keep in mind is that this is one of the best virtual Thanksgiving ideas for you and your team. It’s easy to set up a video chat and have your team race to find these things around their home:

    • Cloth napkin
    • Something orange
    • Something you are thankful for
    • Sweatpants
    • Turkey baster
    • Cranberry sauce
    • Something with a football on
    • Coffee mug
    • Hot cocoa mix
    • Fuzzy blanket
    • Changing leaves
    • Family board game

#4. Set up a hot cocoa or cider bar

One of the best parts of the Thanksgiving season is all the warm, stomach-soothing beverages that make their annual debut. So, why not bring some of that comfort into the office?

By setting up a hot cocoa, cider, and coffee bar in the office, you can encourage your employees to both relax with a mug of their favorite holiday beverage while taking time to bond with each other. What’s not to love here?

Plus, it’s simple and easy to execute!

a mug of hot cocoa favorite thanksgiving dish year round bingo cards one point team bonds thanksgiving bingo fun activity more ideas team members encourage gratitude virtual teamYour employees deserve to have a little time during the day to unwind at work

What’s even better is if you find some personalized mugs for your team that they can use to enjoy their at-work beverage or even take home for more frequent use. It’s a fun little treat all around for your hardworking employees!

Don’t forget to load up your station with decorative treats like marshmallows, peppermint, and cinnamon sticks so the drinks can get dressed up.

#5. Host a Thanksgiving recipe swap

If the hot cider and cocoa are trademarks of Thanksgiving, then so is pumpkin pie and stuffing.

Your employees likely have a few recipes up their sleeves that they’re saving for the holidays. However, sharing is caring! So, encourage your team to get into the giving spirit!

A recipe exchange lets your team work together on something that’s not work-related (providing a much-needed break) while encouraging them to bond and be together. Plus, everyone gets to walk away with a new, delicious recipe to try out just in time for their own Thanksgiving holiday party!

a group of people working together virtual thanksgiving team members happy hour encourage employees team members in person celebrate teams celebrateWhy are team-building exercises important during the holiday season?

Everyone knows that team-building exercises are essential in the workplace. But the real question is why?

Both you and your employees can greatly benefit from some extra focus on bonding and support. Let me use the acronym HOLIDAY to spell out seven ways that team-building activities can benefit your company.

(1) H – Helps promote healthy and harmonious relationships

The relationships your employees build in the workplace are critical to both their overall success as well as their happiness. After all, humans are social creatures, and harmonious relationships are a must in the workplace.

Team-building exercises are essential for promoting harmony among team members. By incorporating these exercises during the holidays, you’ll be able to help foster positive relationships and a sense of unity between your employees.

(2) O – Opens channels of communication

Communication is the lifeblood of any great organization. It’s important to prioritize open channels of communication so that your employees feel comfortable sharing ideas.

These types of team-building ideas are key to encouraging open communication. Plus, they break down barriers and improve the exchange of ideas within the team.

(3) L – Leads employees into confidence and empowerment

Happy employees are empowered and confident in their skills. And it’s important to show them support so that they can thrive and become their best!

Team-building enhances the leadership skills that your employees need. It helps them to take on different roles and responsibilities during the activities, which then extends into their day-to-day routines.

a group of people working together slack channel remote team in person thanksgiving twist celebrate thanksgiving teams fun play games virtual thanksgiving(4) I – Inspires innovation and creative thinking

Team-building activities often involve plenty of creativity and new ideas. That’s an important part!

By engaging in creative and challenging tasks, team members learn to think innovatively. This also helps lead to increased problem-solving abilities.

(5) D – Develop essential decision-making skills

Decision-making skills are essential in the workplace. This is how your employees will find purpose and empowerment while supporting your company’s mission.

Team-building exercises often involve making group decisions. And this, in turn, helps hone your employees’ collective decision-making skills.

(6) A – Adapts your team to change

It’s important for both individuals and your company as a whole to be able to adapt to change. If not, you can be sure that everything will crash and burn eventually!

Through various challenges and team-building exercises, your workers will be able to better learn to adapt to change. This is important in developing resilience, a crucial skill in a dynamic work environment.

(7) Y – Yields an improvement in engagement and productivity

There are a few key metrics that are essential for everything at your organization to run smoothly. A couple of these include employee engagement and productivity.

Investing some time in team-building will help yield positive results, such as improved morale, productivity, and overall team performance.

Final thoughts

Finding the right Thanksgiving-themed activity will help boost morale and create lasting memories for you and your employees. Anything that brings teams together is a great way to go!

Keep Reading: The Importance Of Choosing The Right Venue For Your Next Corporate Event

Adam Christing has been called “The Tom Brady of emcees.” He has hosted more than 1,000 company meetings, special events, gala celebrations, and more. He is the author of several books and founder of For more event tips, follow Adam Christing on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube.