November 17


Last Minute Thanksgiving Activities, Traditions, and Table Decor

By Anna Lowell

November 17, 2016

Do you need some last minute Thanksgiving ideas?

I often wait until the last minute to come up with ideas for the holidays. Then, I do a quick search on pinterest and am overwhelmed by the projects – projects that require days to complete, lots of materials that I don’t have money to buy, and more “crafting” skill than I will ever have.

Thanksgiving compilation FB

This list is not like that.

The ideas in this list can be pulled together quickly with inexpensive materials that you probably already have on hand.

So, what are you waiting for? Dig into this list and pick one or two ideas to add meaning and enjoyment to your Thanksgiving this year.

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Ideas for “Giving of Thanks”

1. Thankful Tree

The simple and inexpensive Thankful Tree includes paper leaves for “thankful messages”. Short on time? Don’t spray paint the branches and do have people cut out their own leaves.

2. Top Ten Reasons I Am Thankful for You

Remind your spouse or another loved one in your life why you are thankful for them with this adorable Top Ten Reasons I am Thankful for You printable list from Crafting Chicks.

3. Thanksgiving Gratitude Project

This Thanksgiving Gratitude Project booklet from Alice Golden is gorgeous! I could see these booklets and the memories they contain becoming more and more precious as the years pass. All you have to do is have the printables and a camera ready. You can put the book together after the busyness of the holidays is over.

4. I Am Thankful Box

This super cute turkey thankful box from i heart crafty things is made from a kleenex box. He is begging to be filled up with gratitude cards. You would need to make the box ahead of time, but it won’t take long.

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Last Minute Thanksgiving Table Decor

1. Thankful Place Markers

Welcome your loved ones to their very own places at the table with these fun place markers, each including a verse of Thanksgiving and a place for your guests to write their own thanksgivings. All you have to do is print them out!

2. Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart Utensil Holders

These beautiful printable utensil holders from Craftaholics Anonymous will add some class and a beautiful reminder to be thankful to your holiday table. Just print them and fold them.

3. Turkey Napkin Holders

You won’t be able to make these cute  Turkey Napkin Holders by yourself last minute, but you might be able to enlist the help of some kids, keeping them occupied and getting your table looking festive at the same time. Consider setting up a “Turkey Making Station.”

4. Pilgrim Hat Crayon Holders

If you are going to include coloring or writing activities on your table, you will need something to hold the crayons or pencils. Solution? Super cute Pilgrim Hat Crayon Holders from Lil’ Luna. These will come together pretty fast.

5. Thanksgiving Table Printable Set

This adorable printable Thanksgiving Table Set from Yellow Bliss Road features utensil holders, “I am thankful” cards, and 8 conversation starter cards.

6. Thanksgiving Place Mats 

Need a quick and easy idea to keep kids entertained at the Thanksgiving table? It doesn’t get any quicker or easier than these printable Place Mats from 3 Dinosaurs.

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Last Minute Thanksgiving Games

1. Turkey Tag

Adorable clothes pin turkeys and lots of running and laughing? Turkey Tag from Let’s Get Together sounds like a sure winner to me! This would take five to ten minutes to put together.

2. Turkey Bowling

Turkey Bowling from Make and Takes would be super easy to make if you already have plastic bowling pins, but could also be made with plastic pop bottles. If you are in a hurry, you could skip the feathers and just put the faces on the turkeys.

3. Pumpkin Roll

All you need for the hilarious Pumpkin Roll game from A Pinch of Joy is two left over pumpkins (or more) and some broom handles or something to roll them with. (But be forewarned: Those pumpkins won’t roll straight!)

4. Don’t Topple the Teepee

A fun Thanksgiving game that you can make in about thirty seconds with items on that you have on hand? Yes please! Don’t Topple the Teepee from The Inspired Tree House.

5. Thanksgiving Hymn Puzzle Hunt

This printable Puzzle Hunt from Not Consumed ends in a familiar Thanksgiving hymn sing. How fun is that?

6. Candy Corn Catapults

All you need to do is provide the rubber bands, plastic spoons, clothespins, pencils, bowl, and candy corn. Let the engineers at your party do the rest. (I have a feeling the adults might enjoy this one as much as the kids!) Here’s the link to Frugal Fun for Boys Candy Corn Catapults.

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Last Minute Thanksgiving Activities for Kids

1. Gratitude Activity for Kids: Thanksgiving Cootie Catcher

This fun paper craft activity from Bren Did is a great way to encourage kids to interact with adults and ask them questions. Just print the pages and show the kids how to fold them.

2. Thanksgiving Notebook

This adorable Thanksgiving Notebook features a double-flap cover, adorable illustrations, and writing prompts, making it the perfect project to work on while waiting for the turkey to cook.

3. Thanksgiving Kids’ Activity Pages

These Activity Pages from I Should be Mopping the Floor include a Thankful list, coloring page, and (best of all!) a word search hard enough to keep older kids entertained for a few minutes.

4. Printable Harvest Pumpkin Coloring Page

This Harvest Pumpkin Coloring Page from Homeschool Encouragement is perfect for older kids and might snag a couple of adults into coloring as well. My kids (7 and 9 years old) really enjoyed this pumpkin, and the results were beautiful.

5. Paper Bag Turkeys

These Paper Bag Turkeys from Teach Them to Fly are so full of personality! Set up a Turkey making station to keep the kids busy.

6. Thanksgiving Mad Libs

I have not done very many Mad Libs, but this Thanksgiving Mad Libs from Sister’s Suitcase looks like a lot of fun! I think my kids will have a blast with it this year.

Which idea will you use this Thanksgiving? I would love to hear about it. Please scroll down to comment.


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  1. Thank you for this practical and fun list! So excited to actually be able to choose a few things to do and NOT have to run to the store or spend hours creating them. Such a blessing!

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