With the holiday season fast approaching, it’s time to reflect on all that we hold dear: our family, our friends, and even our colleagues. This Thanksgiving, warm their hearts and their stomachs by planning a celebration everyone will appreciate. Here are seven simple ways to throw an office Thanksgiving that shows you care.
Prepare a Thanksgiving potluck
Food is the first thing on everyone’s mind this time of year, so bring your teams together over a shared meal that they all contribute to. Create a signup sheet ahead of time with a list of meal options. Your coworkers can choose which dish(es) they want to bring, and you’ll ensure you have a complete meal without duplicates. Here are some of the most popular Thanksgiving mains and sides to get your stomach growling:
- Turkey and/or ham
- Mashed potatoes
- Macaroni and cheese
- Sweet potato casserole
- Candied yams
- Cranberry sauce
- Green bean casserole
- Roasted or glazed root vegetables (brussels sprouts, carrots)
- Bread (rolls, biscuits, cornbread)
If a potluck is out of the question, many food vendors and stores like Whole Foods offer catering services that can include individual dishes or full menus. Search for Thanksgiving day catering in your city to find the best local options.
Say thanks with a toast
You’ve planned your potluck and the food has been prepped, but what do you do during the meal? How do you get everyone in the Thanksgiving spirit and encourage them to eat together? Try saying thanks, and offer words of gratitude in a series of toasts.
Have a higher up (like your company CEO, founder, or executive) begin by raising their glass to someone in the office. We recommend toasting to someone who is integral to the company, but might not typically be recognized for the hard work they do every day. This could be your office manager, or daytime porter, for example. After the CEO has said a sentence or two recognizing the coworker of his/her choice, that person will toast to someone else, and so on and so forth until everyone in the company has been recognized (the last person will then toast the person who started!). If you don’t want to put anyone on the spot, open the floor up to volunteers to show their appreciation.
Host a pie baking contest
Still have food on the brain? We don’t blame you. Your Thanksgiving meal wouldn’t be complete without dessert! Invite employees to squash the competition in your own version of The Great British Baking Show: Pie Week. You can narrow your prompt to include a specific type of pie—such as apple, pumpkin, or pecan—or let contestants get creative with their signature creation. Nominate a few judges to host a tasting at the end of the meal, then announce the winner and invite the rest of the office to enjoy the desserts.
Harvest your coworkers favorite Thanksgiving recipes and give everyone a chance to impress their friends and loved ones this holiday. You can collect hard copies and store them in your office kitchen for swapping, or create a shared Google file to give everyone the inspiration to try their hand at a new dish.
Give everyone the chance to enjoy a warm meal this Thanksgiving by organizing a food drive in your office. We recommend announcing your food drive at the beginning of the month, and accepting donations for at least two weeks. Set up a collection bin in a high-traffic area of your workplace, such as near the entryway or kitchen, and ask your employees to donate non-perishable canned goods to help stock the food pantries and soup kitchens in your community. Hang posters around the office, or send email and Slack reminders to motivate others to give back. Some of the most needed items include:
- Canned fruit and vegetables
- Canned proteins (beans, meat, fish)
- Canned or boxed soups
- Canned cranberry sauce
- Canned yams
- Peanut butter (plastic jar)
- Boxed macaroni and cheese, pasta
- Boxed cereal, oatmeal
- Boxed stuffing
- Juice boxes
Create a flock of thankful turkeys
Gobble up all the things your workplace is thankful for with our turkey template! In the week leading up to your Thanksgiving celebration, share our card with your office and ask each individual to make it their own. Employees can personalize their turkey cards by writing down something or someone they are thankful for on them. Exchange these cards on Thanksgiving in place of the traditional company shout out.
Start new traditions
Since Thanksgiving is a time of tradition, it’s a great opportunity to think about the traditions in your own office. Don’t have one yet? It’s never too late to start! Make one of these activities a Thanksgiving staple that employees look forward to for years to come.