We love to celebrate holidays, and in our house, Thanksgiving is a favorite. We enjoy time together with family and good food to eat, but most importantly, we enjoy a no-rush day. Thanksgiving at Home can be relaxed. We promise.
While a relaxed holiday with nothing to do is exactly what we adults like, it’s not always a pleasant experience for everyone. You know what I’m talking about. It’s not relaxing to hear, “I’m bored,” “When do we eat?” or even “Let me help. Let me help!” (Which you most certainly can do, it’s the whining that is hard to handle!)
If your family is even a little bit similar to mine, you know that I am not joking. Knowing that these attitudes are very likely, we simply need to have a plan in our back pocket. So continue reading below for a list to help make Thanksgiving a satisfying holiday for everyone.
Table of Contents
Take Advantage of Thanksgiving Menu Conveniences
- Make it a potluck – Every dish brought by a guest is one less for you to prepare.
- Order your groceries online and have them delivered to your house – While there are plenty of Twin Cities delivery options, if you live near a Jerry’s Food’s in Woodbury, Edina, or Eden Prairie, you have a local option. They have launched Good2Go Online so that you can buy your groceries and have them delivered to you.
- Pick up a full Thanksgiving to-go meal package
Several local restaurants offer Thanksgiving meals to go. Here are a few ideas:
- Saint Paul Farmers’ Market – Take advantage of special hours. This is the one day each year that the downtown market is open on a weekday. Stop by Wednesday, November 24th between 10am-4pm to get fresh, local Thanksgiving fixings.
Don't Forget Breakfast & Snack Ideas to Tide You Over Until the Main Feast
Easy Breakfast Plan
Joy and family traditionally start holiday mornings with a breakfast tray. Trays are prepared ahead the night before and are made up of whatever meats, cheeses, finger fruits and bread/crackers the family wants. No tray is ever alike, but its always an easy way to start out the morning. The tray will be left out for snacking until dinner is served.
Snacks to Tide You Over
Keep Kids Engaged with Thanksgiving Crafts
Make one of these for everyone on the guest list, and you can use them as place cards.
Thanksgiving Tree of Thanks Centerpiece
We offer these ideas for inspiration, but of course, you can pull out any time of craft or project you think will occupy the kids (and maybe some adults, too.)
Foster A Spirit of Selflessness with Volunteer Projects
These are some projects you can do together at home. Gather the supplies, store them in a box until Thanksgiving, and make serving others a party.
When you are in the hospital for an extended period of time, it can wear on your soul. Taking the time to send love to those in the hospital is a gift. They are seen and remembered. Even if you do not know anyone in the hospital, you can create cards or gifts for those who need them most.
Thanksgiving Activities and Games to Play
Thanksgiving Mad Libs
If you need something now, you can print Mad Libs freebies here. But if you are planning ahead, these little books are affordable enough that you can grab some for all the kids. We picked some of our favorites for our Bookshop*.
Participate in a Turkey Trot (Even if it is DIY)
If you don’t want to commit to an event. Get the family out for a walk or a run around the block. If you have a lot of active children to entertain, bring a stop watch and make it a race.
The City of Fridley’s Turkey Leg 5K can be run on your own schedule and course any time between 11/1/21 and 12/31/21. Registration costs $14/pp for individuals or $12/pp for groups of 3 or more and includes a t-shirt for completion.
Play Together in the Backyard
Thanksgiving afternoon may also be a good time to pull out our giant list of Outdoor Games or just toss around a football in the backyard.
Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from your living room on NBC from 9am-Noon in all time zones on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 25, 2021). Learn more here.
Connect with Loved Ones
Schedule a video call with friends and/or family members who couldn’t be with you this year – nana, a favorite cousin or anyone you love and miss.
Share These Thanksgiving Stories
We’ve included books by local authors and some favorite classics:
What to do with the Leftovers
Turkey Pot Pie
Turkey Pot Pie is a good way to freeze and enjoy your leftovers at a later date. Just pile leftovers from turkey and side dishes into a store-bought pie shell as you are cleaning up, cover with another pie shell and freeze until you are looking for a fast meal. Turkey, gravy, stuffing, potatoes, and veggies are obvious additions; but don’t be afraid to get creative. Maybe tuck these little flavor bursts into your pie crust: pear, sweat potato, cranberry sauce?
Leftover Mashed Potatoes Pancakes
Mix your leftover mashed potatoes with flour and eggs (and whatever flavors you want — cheese, onions, chives, garlic) to make an easy breakfast dish on Friday morning. Lisa from Twin Cities Frugal Mom shares a recipe for Potato Pancakes.
Get out and Have Some Family Fun Thanksgiving Weekend
Get Ready for Christmas
- Festive Homes and Holiday Lightings start showing up this weekend. Find your favorite Christmas & Holiday Light Displays.
- Early Holiday & Christmas Events around the Twin Cities
Thanksgiving Recipes to Try
As moms of big families, Anne, Joy and I know our way around an oven, but we are definitely not on the level of some of our local food blogging friends. These recipes for things to serve alongside your roasted turkey come from Minnesota food bloggers:
- Thanksgiving Pumpkins Rice from Dining with Alice.
- Fresh Green Bean Casserole. This gluten-free recipe is courtesy of The Rustic Foodie.
- Twin Cities Frugal Mom offers a true Minnesota Tator Tot Hot Dish from her church’s kitchen
- The Best Macaroni and Cheese from MSP Magazine
- Rustic Foodie: Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie.
- Rustic Foodie:
Need some help with the turkey. Dining with Alice can help you there, too.
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This article includes an affiliate link to Bookshop.org, an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. Family Fun Twin Cities receives a small commission on books ordered through our link. If you want to find a specific local bookstore to support, find them on this map and they’ll receive the full profit off your order. Otherwise, your order will contribute to an earnings pool that will be evenly distributed among independent bookstores (even those that don’t use Bookshop). Learn more here.