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Themed games add new twist to traditional Thanksgiving Day

Nov. 19, 1999



After the Thanksgiving Day parades end, the Thanksgiving dinner is eaten and the table is cleared, many families search for sources of entertainment to complete their Thanksgiving Day.

Classic turkey day activities include watching football and sleeping. However, the time of giving thanks does not have to end with a prayer and a feast. There are many family games and activities with a Thanksgiving theme that can extend the day. Some have the sole purpose of fun and enjoyment, but others show thankfulness for family and friends.

One game is called Breaking Bread. To play, set a bowl with pens and small strips of plain white paper near the front door. When family members and guests arrive, have them write something for which they're thankful. After everyone have done this, fold the notes in half and bake each one into a crescent roll. After blessing the meal, ask everyone to break bread and read aloud the enclosed note of thanks.

A game that might test the memory is called Thanksgiving Dinner. The players will sit in a circle, and the first player starts by saying, 'At my Thanksgiving dinner I ate turkey.' The next player must repeat this and add another dish, 'At my Thanksgiving dinner I ate turkey and cornbread dressing.' The third player must repeat this by including the previous items listed and adding another item. This process continues to go around the circle. If a player makes a mistake and misses an item, he or she drops out and the game continues until there is only one person left. Adding a secret prize for the winner will be a reward for having the best memory.

If the weather is pleasant and everyone needs a little fresh air, Pumpkin Roll is the ideal game. Although this might seem like a simple race, remember that pumpkins are not perfect, smooth balls, which makes it difficult to roll them in a straight line. What you will need are two large pumpkins and two sturdy sticks. The racers line up at the starting line with the pumpkins turned on their sides. On the starting signal, the racers use the stick to roll the pumpkins to the finish line. (Younger players may want to use the stick to roll the pumpkins to the finish line.) If teams are used, make this game a relay race.

A final activity is Thanksgiving Memories. Buy a small notebook with at least 50 pages. On Thanksgiving Day, take Polaroid pictures of people as they arrive. Paste one Polaroid to a page and ask guests to write something opposite their pictures. The writings can be funny, a pleasant thought or memory, or just something about the day. Family and friends can view the notebook when it is complete.

These games could help build new family traditions and extend a time of togetherness and fun. If nothing else, they could just work up an appetite to eat more turkey.