Thanksgiving Gratitude Activities for Families

Giving thanks around an oblong dinner table cluttered with turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and rolls can be tricky when you’re hosting or attending a large gathering with many, many people with hungry, hungry bellies.

While our physical hunger is not unsubstantiated, all souls have a deep hunger that can only be filled by faith, hope, and gratitude.

To emphasize the backbone of the holiday which is sometimes lost in the chaos of the moment, here are some fun and humbling family friendly activities that will emphasize the value of gratitude this Thanksgiving.

1) If you are hosting thanksgiving dinner, you can respectfully ask your guests that they not bring any gifts and instead maybe bring some cans of food that can be donated to a local food shelter, or some blankets that your family can distribute to the homeless in preparation for the cold winter.

2) Create or purchase a little “Thanksgiving Guest Book” in which guests can anonymously write one thing they are grateful for. This list can be shared with everyone at the gathering later to emphasize the abundance of things to be thankful for. Alternatively, you can make a “Guest Pumpkin” where you get a fake pumpkin, paint it a solid and opaque color, and leave out sharpies so that every guest can write out something they are grateful for on the pumpkin. It’s a great decorative piece that you can put out each year! Here’s an example that was actually used for a wedding guest book:

3) Gratitude Pumpkins are a really fun craft for kids and they require little more than construction paper, scissors, markers, and glue. Here’s a printable template for these pumpkins from

4) Having a Gratitude Scavenger Hunt is a great activity for both kids and adults that teaches us to be more mindful and present. This one from is super kid-friendly and fun:

5) If you are free Thanksgiving Day morning, afternoon, checkout any Thanksgiving Feasts
being thrown by a nonprofit or NGO in your city for low income and homeless families/individuals.
My family and I do this every year and it is an amazing and humbling experience. Below is a list of such events in major cities. It’s a wonderful tradition that we look forward to every year and allows us to bond as a family. Also there are tons of events held in the weeks preceding Thanksgiving that your family can volunteer at as well. If your city isn’t shown here, just do a google search for it and hopefully you will stumble upon it!

Here are some search engines that are specifically for volunteering:

Contact your local or state food bank as well to inquire about any Thanksgiving volunteer opportunities!


-Newark, CA:
-Los Angeles, CA:
-Santa Barbara, CA:
-Berkelely, CA:
-San Fransisco, CA:
-Boulder, CO :
-Salt Lake City, UT :
-Denver, CO :


-Houston,TX :
-Dallas,TX :
-Baton Rouge, LA :
-Tulsa, OK :
-Austin, TX :
-Pheonix, AZ :


-Chicago, IL :
-Cleveland, OH :
-Columbus, OH :
-Detroit, MI :
-St. Louis, MO :
-Iowa City, IA :


-Brooklyn and Manhattan, NY :
-Bronx, NY :
-Pittsburgh, PA :
-Boston, MA :
-Portland, ME :
-Baltimore, MD :


-Black Mt., North Carolina:
-Charlotte, North Carolina:
-Charleston, South Carolina:
-Greenville, South Carolina:
-Columbia, South Carolina:
-Tampa, FL :
-Atlanta, GA :

Hope you all enjoy a wonderful thanksgiving surrounded by the ones you love!

Hi Y’all! My name is Zahra and I’m a 19 year old college student passionate about growing spiritually, learning endlessly, and living healthfully. I love to express my deepest sentiments and ponderings through writing. I thank you for reading my words; I hope they nourish your soul!

November 14, 2017
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