All Thanksgiving Office Ideas: 13 Ways to Celebrate with Your Colleagues
All HR and Workplace

Thanksgiving Office Ideas: 13 Ways to Celebrate with Your Colleagues

Author: Ravijojla Novakovic Last updated: February 22, 2024 Reading time: 11 minutes

Are you looking for some creative and fun ways to celebrate Thanksgiving with your colleagues?

Whether you work in the office or remotely, you can make this holiday special and memorable with these 10 Thanksgiving office ideas. 

In the past two years, we have faced many challenges and hardships, but we also learned to appreciate our families, friends, and coworkers more.

So, how can you bring the festive and appreciative spirit into your workplace and make this Thanksgiving party count? 

Read on to discover the best Thanksgiving office celebration ideas and tips and some messages that you can use to inspire thankfulness in the office.

Before you start, get these Secrets for Maximizing the ROI of Employee Recognition in 2021 and Beyond

13 Office Thanksgiving Ideas for a Memorable Celebration

ten ways to celebrate thanksgiving at work

The holiday season presents great opportunities to showcase employee recognition to your whole workforce.

Thanksgiving is one such holiday when you can enjoy the festive spirit in the office. 

Therefore, it presents a perfect opportunity to encourage your employees to appreciate one another, and also start some interesting Thanksgiving traditions that can make this holiday memorable for everyone.

With that being said, here are our 10 Thanksgiving office party ideas and suggestions to celebrate this special holiday. 

1. Send a Thank You Note to Show Your Appreciation 

One of the simplest Thanksgiving office ideas is to write a heartfelt, sincere message to your colleagues.

Therefore, encourage your peers to appreciate each other for their help, calm nature, bringing expertise to the team, or for other reasons. Also, sending Thank you notes is a simple, yet effective way to appreciate employees that work remotely. 

You can use these employee appreciation quotes for inspiration, and you can also download our appreciation cards to print out and give to your coworkers in person. 

2. Launch a “Thank You” themed employee recognition program 

Another way to celebrate Thanksgiving in the office is to start an employee recognition program that focuses on gratitude.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Ask your employees to participate in an employee recognition program that celebrates kind colleagues and the human side of workplaces.

It will fill up your social wall with messages of gratitude and make for an awesome social recognition moment! 

3. Have a cooking competition and share your recipes

If you want to spice up your Thanksgiving office celebration, you can organize a cooking competition among your employees. 

Thanksgiving cooking competition or choosing the best meal made by your employees is a traditional but fun way of celebrating Thanksgiving.

In general, food events are great for socializing, and in the office, it is a great way to promote employee health and include some competitiveness in the mix! 

Fun fact: more and more companies are offering food at work to encourage mingling among employees. In 2014, 20% of companies offered some refreshments at work, while in 2018, 32% did so, according to Indeed. 

4. Give employees time off to recharge

Getting extra vacation time is one of the most popular employee benefits at the moment.

As Thanksgiving is a holiday that is spent around family, give your employees a day or a few days off. After all, your employees will come back to the office rested and refreshed! 

5. Invite employees to volunteer to fuel their purpose

Cooking, cleaning, or serving food in public kitchens is a great way to give back to your community. Why not organize volunteering for employees?

You can also organize your own event – have a tent in front of your office building and invite employees to bring food to share with the less fortunate. 

6. Donate to local charities  

On this Thanksgiving day, you can pick a charity of your choice and invite employees to donate some means to it.

Donations do not always have to be financial – you can also find some local charities to give canned goods, clothes, or other supplies. 

7. Host the best thanksgiving family photo contest 

Here is another way your remote workforce can join in on the Thanksgiving spirit. Host the best Thanksgiving family photo contest!

Create categories like the cutest dog, the funniest family picture, the best out-of-the-box celebration, and more. Doing this will stir up conversation and get your employees to know one another better. 

8. Offer a healthy thanksgiving lunch 

With rising healthcare costs, employee wellbeing is one of employers’ biggest priorities right now.

Why not make Thanksgiving an opportunity to teach your employees to care for themselves better?

You can either offer a healthy version of Thanksgiving lunch to your employees or invite a nutritionist to give a healthy cooking class to your employees. 

9. Organize a Thanksgiving art workshop  

Thanksgiving day can also be more memorable with fun office Thanksgiving activities like organizing artshops.

Organizing art workshops for your employees can be therapeutical and help your employees relax in the office a bit.

Moreover, you can organize a Thanksgiving art workshop for your employees’ kids. It will be a great way for your employees’ kids to meet and their families to get closer! 

10. Swap recipes 

This Thanksgiving, you can organize recipe swapping for your remote and in-office teams.

Encourage employees to share their family recipes for Thanksgiving dinner and ask for pictures of recipes being made into reality!

11. Office Thanksgiving party

A traditional Thanksgiving party is a simple yet effective way to mark the holiday and foster a relaxed environment where employees can enjoy themselves.

This gathering can be held at one of the company’s premises, making it both enjoyable and cost-effective.

12. Scavenger hunt

If you want a more interesting and playful-themed party, then a scavenger hunt is something you can organize. Office games are usually a way for employees to have fun and socialize with their colleagues.

13. Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Throwing a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving party can be a great way to connect with employees, reminisce on childhood memories, and create lasting memories.

How Do You Celebrate Thanksgiving in the Office with Your Employees? 

Thanksgiving is a time to express gratitude and appreciation for the people in your life. It is also a great opportunity to create a positive and festive office culture and boost employee engagement. 

However, organizing a successful Thanksgiving celebration in the office can be challenging. You don’t want it to feel like a boring or obligatory event. You want it to be fun, meaningful, and memorable. So how can you do that? 

Here are some tips to help you plan a great Thanksgiving celebration in the office.

Plan ahead and prepare early 

Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare for your Thanksgiving celebration. Start planning early and communicate the details to your employees. You can also use an employee survey to find out what kind of celebration they would prefer. 

Do they want a potluck, a catered lunch, a gift exchange, a volunteer activity or something else? By planning ahead, you can ensure that more employees will participate and enjoy your celebration.

Start with senior leadership 

One of the key factors that influence employee engagement is the behavior of managers and leaders. Here’s an interesting statistic: managers account for 70% of variance in employee engagement. On the other hand, only 2.6% of management are highly engaged. 

This means that you need to get your leaders and managers on board with your Thanksgiving celebration. Ask them to support you and publicly thank their teams and coworkers. This will set a good example for the rest of the employees and make them feel valued and appreciated.

Therefore, explain to your leaders and managers to support you and publicly thank their teams and coworkers this Thanksgiving.

Recognize employees throughout the year 

While Thanksgiving is a special occasion to show your gratitude, you should not limit your recognition efforts to this one day. Employee appreciation should be a continuous practice, not a one-time event. 

Frequent and timely recognition can have a positive impact on employee performance, motivation, retention and satisfaction. Therefore, do not let employees recognize and be recognized only on Thanksgiving, Employee Appreciation Day, or their work anniversaries

Encourage your employees to recognize and appreciate each other all year round. This will make your Thanksgiving celebration more sincere and authentic, not like just another office party to get over with. 

Create a festive atmosphere 

Thanksgiving is a festive holiday that evokes cozy feelings, warm colors and delicious food. You can bring some of that spirit to your office by decorating it with pumpkins, cornucopias, leaves, or other seasonal items. 

You can also offer some treats like pumpkin spice latte, apple cider, pie, or cookies. Play some upbeat music in the background and provide enough space for employees to mingle and chat. Make your office feel like a home away from home.

Build on a firm foundation 

Finally, remember that all your appreciation efforts and celebrations will be meaningless if you don’t have a strong Total Rewards strategy in place. 

HR Professionals know that all the employee appreciation efforts and shiny office parties fall flat if a company does not approach employee satisfaction from the ground up. 

In other words, you should ensure that your Total Rewards strategy is adequate before investing too much in your Thanksgiving celebration. Your employees need to be fairly compensated, well-benefited, properly trained, supported, and developed. 

You also need to provide them with a clear vision, a positive work environment, a healthy work-life balance, and a sense of purpose. These are the essential elements that make employees happy and loyal to your company.

Why You Should Celebrate Thanksgiving in Your Workplace?

  • Improving employee experience. By creating a positive experience during Thanksgiving celebrations, you are adding to your employee experience efforts.
  • Signaling a positive company culture. An inspiring, motivational company culture in which employees feel safe is what every employer aims for. By creating inclusive Thanksgiving celebrations, you will be doubling down on improving your workplace culture.
  • Increasing employee retention. It’s as simple as this: when employees feel appreciated for, they are much less likely to leave. Yes, celebrating Thanksgiving alone will not directly affect your retention rate – but it will help to make your employees feel like a part of a workplace community.

Happy Thanksgiving Messages to Send to Your Employees

Gratitude for an amazing team

This Thanksgiving, I am reflecting on the things I am most grateful for. Among them are you, my fellow employees! Your commitment, creativity and professionalism inspire me to work harder every day. Thank you for making this office such a great place to work at. I wish you and your families a happy Thanksgiving! 

Gratitude for dedication

Thank you so much for your hard work in resolving our customers’ issues every day. I really appreciate your sincere wish to help them, and I know this attitude of yours will help you achieve great things in your future career! I am grateful to have you on my team. Happy Thanksgiving! 

Gratitude for support and collaboration

This time of year helps me realize how people like you make my life better. Your assistance throughout our joint projects and your support for my ideas mean the world to me. I am truly grateful to have you as a colleague! I wish you a happy and abundant Thanksgiving. 

Gratitude for being a good employee

I am sending you my warmest wishes this Thanksgiving! You were working so hard last quarter and really gave your best. I believe our company is happy to have you, and I know I am grateful to have you as a teammate. I wish you all the best, and I hope your turkey is amazing this year! 

Gratitude for being an office buddy

This Thanksgiving season gave me an opportunity to spend more Time thinking of what I am thankful for. Well, I realized that my time at the office would not be the same without you. Your bright personality really makes my day. Thank you for being an amazing office buddy, and happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. 

Gratitude for amazing team members

Happy Thanksgiving! This year, you are on my list of things to be grateful for. Such a great addition to our team! You are truly amazing, and your hard work inspires me so much. I hope you spend a nice couple of days off with your family. 

At the end, check out on which dates you can organize more employee appreciation events to make your recognition efforts continuous. Get our employee recognition holidays calendar and start planning all-year-round appreciation in your company. 


These are some ways to celebrate Thanksgiving in the office with your employees. Whether you choose to write thank you notes, start a recognition program, host a cooking contest, or any other activity, you will surely foster a culture of gratitude and appreciation in your workplace.

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