Family Thanksgiving Activities

Is Thanksgiving just an excuse to get together or do you take it literally? If you use this day for gratitude and appreciation, we have a few activity ideas that could be useful at your family’s Thanksgiving. 

1. Promises of Gratitude

Make promises to the causes and issues behind what you are thankful for.

If you’re thankful for your family, what’s a promise you can make to a family member who has supported you? If you’re thankful for your home, can you commit to helping someone who doesn’t have one? Ask your family members to make commitments to better the world by following these six steps:

Step 1: Print one Promise Card for each person at your Thanksgiving gathering.

You can find the free Promise Card template here: 

Print Free Promise Cards

Step 2: Ask each person to write something they are thankful for on the back of the card

Step 3: After everyone is done writing, go around the room and ask each person to share what they wrote and why. 

Step 4: Read aloud the following statement, either verbatim or in your own words:

“We are all thankful for something, but just saying “thanks” is relatively easy. Perhaps our gratitude is more meaningful when we make promises to the causes and issues behind what we are thankful for. For example, if you’re thankful for your home, what small thing can you do for someone who doesn’t have a home? If you are thankful to a person, what can you do to pay them back for their generosity? I want to challenge you to make a promise of gratitude. On the other side of the card that I have given you, the side that says because I said I would, write down a promise that helps bring what you are thankful for into someone else’s life OR write a promise that gives back to the person you are thankful for. To keep your words actionable, your promise should take no longer than 30 days to complete. But it doesn’t have to be a big promise. Small actions are great, too. This is not a contest and done is better than perfect.”

Step 5: Each person writes a promise that takes no longer than 30 days to complete on the front of their Promise Card.

Step 6: Each person shares their promise one at a time. Take a picture of each person with their Promise Card and post it to our Facebook Wall at

2. Unified Family Promise

Challenge everyone at your Thanksgiving gathering to come together and make one unified family promise to volunteer at a nonprofit of their choice for at least 2 hours before the new year.

Start a group text with everyone who agrees to this commitment. Tell everyone to respond to that group text with pictures of themselves at their volunteer opportunities.

If you would like to organize and lead an independent volunteer project, we have a library of ideas just for you! Check out our Volunteer Project Plans here.


If you have someone in the family who is good at video editing, take all of the pictures from the group text and make one big video thanking everyone for keeping their promises and wish them a Happy New Year.

3. Dinner Conversation Starters

Here is a list of conversation starter questions for your Thanksgiving dinner:

  • Who is the most reliable person in your life? 
  • Do you have a current goal you are working on? Why are you trying to reach that goal and how is it going?
  • You are suddenly given a billion dollars to give to one or more charities. What’s one organization you would give some or all of the money to? 
  • Have you ever had a New Year’s Resolution that you completed? 
  • Do you have an idea for what your New Year’s Resolution is going to be in 2022? 
  • Who is someone that you look up to? Why is that person admirable? 
  • What’s your favorite quote or saying? Why do those words resonate with you so much? 
  • Name one thing about a family member that you are truly impressed by. 
  • If you could teach every kid in the world one lesson or skill, what would it be and why?

Share Your Story

After you use the Promise Card(s), we’d love to hear your story! Take a picture and shoot us a message here or tag us on social media.