One of the best things about hosting Friendsgiving is that it can be whatever you want it to be—but it should definitely be fun. Ideally, the convivial atmosphere will develop naturally, but there are plenty of things you can do to help it along, besides just breaking out Cards Against Humanity again (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Try these fun Friendsgiving games, icebreakers, and activities to get your party started, and keep it going as long as you like.
These are all just as fun to do with well-known, long-time friends as they are with newcomers, and great for bringing both besties and strangers closer together. Naturally, you can turn almost anything into a drinking game too if you’re so inclined (and unafraid to court disaster), but the goal is to make your gathering memorable in a good way, so use your best judgment and know your crowd.
Mini Solo Cups, 120 for $8.99 on Amazon
Finish your drink when someone says tryptophan.
Put Out Puzzles
Although they may seem terribly old-fashioned to some, jigsaw puzzles are a nice, low-key communal activity, and for those of us a little on the shy side, can be a good way to ease into the action. Bonus points if they’re on-theme (like this majestic turkey trio puzzle), but make sure you have a spare surface big enough to hold whatever size puzzle you select.
Try Trivia Games (or Classic Board Games)
Make the trivia holiday-themed and award prizes (and possibly penalties) for right and wrong answers. If you’re coming up short on Thanksgiving-related questions or just don’t want to curate a list of your own, try this book. Or cue flashbacks of a different sort: break out 90s Trivial Pursuit and see who wins the fight to use the latte and Kurt Cobain game pieces before the real contest even begins. You can find plenty of trivia game apps as well.
Related Reading: The Best Phone Apps for Hosting Thanksgiving
But if trivia makes you sweat even worse than ingesting five pounds of turkey and mashed potatoes, pick from the full stable of other old standbys, from Scattergories and charades/celebrities to Pictionary and Taboo, even Thanksgiving themed Mad Libs, or whatever newfangled board games you fancy.
Trivial Pursuit 1990s Edition, $49.99 on Amazon
For those of us of a certain age.
Make DIY Spinner Conversation Starters
In case conversations threaten to run dry (or fail to start in the first place), keep this DIY spinner game handy. You can come up with your own prompts if you prefer, and even make several different wheels so the fun doesn’t fizzle out too soon. Feel free to substitute your own questions (think favorite movies and dream vacation destinations, or see this list for more ideas).
Another option is to conceal conversation-starters and fun questions on the backside of these metallic leaves that can be scattered among your other decor elements.
Fall Colors Parchment Paper Leaves, 20 for $10.49 at World Market
Or use these colorful parchment leaves instead of making your own.
Play the “I’m Thankful For…” Guessing Game
This is way less awkward than having to take turns saying what you’re grateful for around the table, especially since you aren’t put on the spot. Set a big bowl, hat, or other container in an obvious area by the front door or in the main gathering space, along with strips of paper and pens, and ask everyone to write down what they’re thankful for—answers can be as heartfelt or as humorous as they want.
Remind them a few times throughout the party, in case anyone’s still struggling to think of something, and when everyone’s contributed, pull out the proclamations and read them aloud so everyone can guess who gave thanks for what.
Call Friendsgiving Bingo
Print out these Thanksgiving bingo cards, or use them as inspiration for making your own versions, and provide everyone with a pen or stickers so they can check off milestones in a race to declare bingo!—and be sure to have a prize ready for the winner, of course.
Giant Unicorn Strawberry Gummy, $9.99 at Target
A giant candy unicorn is a worthy prize.
Provide a Photo Booth
Designate a photo area—even just a corner of your room if you’re short on space. If the backdrop’s wanting, tack up a sheet and some string lights, maybe some colorful leaves (real or faux), and place some props nearby. These can be virtually any pieces from past Halloween costumes, but try to work in at least a few holiday-specific items, like a turkey headband, inflatable turkey leg, or Pilgrim hat (but please skip the feather headdress, because that’s just asking to get called out). You can also buy a pack of ready-made paper props to hold up.
But if you’ve got a group of “Friends” fans, it might be totally worth it to drop some dough on a raw turkey mask and giant novelty sunglasses for the ultimate photo op. (Little red fez optional, but highly recommended.)
Pummel a Pumpkin Pinata
If the thought of people taking swings at things with bats or sticks in your space doesn’t scare you, you can buy a turkey pinata, or make an equally seasonally-appropriate pumpkin pinata. Either way, fill it with whatever treats you like (from candy to mini liquor bottles if your crowd is a bunch of boozehounds), and let people have at it. It’s fun, tangibly rewarding, and a great way to work out any holiday aggression.
Exercise Your Creativity
Pass out these intricate turkey print-outs plus colored pencils and fine-tip markers for everyone to personalize their masterpiece. If you’re into the idea on a larger scale, you can even use a color-in tablecloth, or a sheet of plain butcher or craft paper for people to doodle on as they like (which will coordinate a little better with whatever tablescape ideas you’ve got going on); if you’re also into souvenirs, it makes a nice reminder of your get-together too.
Color Your Own Turkey Placemats, 12 for $9.99 at World Market
Not just for kids!
Queue Up Classics on Netflix
From “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” to “Home for the Holidays”—not to mention old Thanksgiving episodes of “Friends” and “The Office”—there are lots of great holiday movies and shows you can stream, whether just in the background or as an integral activity pre- or post-feast.
Set Up Lawn Games
If you have outdoor space, and if the weather cooperates, set up giant Jenga, a mini-golf putting station with a cornucopia as the hole-in-one, butternut squash bowling, and that perennial favorite, cornhole—maybe played with actual ears of bicolor corn for the occasion (or mini pumpkins, which might be easier to toss through the target).
If you’re stuck indoors and have the room (and don’t have downstairs neighbors who will hate you for it), you can try some of these inside too—but if that’s not feasible, clearly, you’ll still have plenty to do!
For more great tips, tricks, and hacks, see our Ultimate Guide to Friendsgiving.
Related Video: Get Sauced with These Thanksgiving Cocktails
Header image courtesy of Shutterstock.