Ah, Thanksgiving, again. Such a sweet holiday. For most of us. Family, feast, fun.
The “for most of us” part is probably as important as any of the other parts of Thanksgiving. Maybe more useful to think about before Thanksgiving so that we can spend some time doing something about it. Which, oddly enough, turns out to be at least as deep as the kind of fun you can have by eating and playing together. Especially if you do things like celebrating with someone or ones who don’t have a family to celebrate, or are too far, or too broke. I wrote this little piece on thanks to further your gratitudinous contemplations.
In any event, I wanted to take this opportunity to once again share some ideas for how you might extend your celebrations, to each other, and to the others in your company.
Let’s start with some preparatory playfulness.
When you’re preparing the meal, you might want to consider adding some artful silliness. You might find a few good ideas from my articles on playing with food, or this one describing some Edible Fun for Thanksgiving. You might also consider involving as many people as you can in the preparation part – decorating the table, working on different parts of the meal, making menus, drinks – it’s surprising how much fun the sheer anticipation of more fun can be.
Then, the while-everything’s-cooking, before-you-start-eating fun:
I like to start with The Me-We Game – it invites everyone, kids, growns, to have a moment of glory, and an opportunity to be funny, in a most unthreateningly inclusive way. Then, after a few rounds, you might consider a game of Elephant, Giraffe, Toaster or The Unwrapping Game – exciting, engaging, moderately energizing.
For during-the-meal-games that are especially Thanksgiving-like, you might consider The Endless Blessings Game and, in a similar vein, a game based on a Jewish Passover tradition: Dayeinu. Sweet, thankful, appreciative games – candied yams for the collective soul.
Around dessert time, there’s Adverbially – an easy to adapt to any age word game that involves a wee bit of acting and a lot of collective guessing.
Then, after the meal, and the collective clean-up (the more collective, the better – but this can easily fall into the “you wish” category), I’d recommend a not-too-rousing but uniformly engaging guessing game like Panther, Person, Porcupine. And, as a final touch, the everyone’s together just before we leave game called Glass Cobra (more because of its fragility than its snakiness).
A playful path is the shortest road to happiness.
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