Thanksgiving in the Workplace: 5 Creative Ways to Celebrate Together

November – a month full of festivals, occasions, and joy, has finally arrived. There’s no denying that this month is abuzz with preparations for Thanksgiving Day. Weeks are dedicated to making necessary arrangements for this festive season. From planning the meals to crafting designs, everyone is in positive spirits. 

People all over are engrossed in preparing for grand parties and get-togethers with their near and dear ones. However, amidst all the hustle and bustle, a common question kicks in everyone’s mind: “What exactly is Thanksgiving Day?”

What is Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving Day is an annual national festival celebrated throughout the American continent. It marks the celebration of the harvest season and serves as a time to reflect on the blessings of the previous year. At its core, this festival is a profound expression of gratitude. On this occasion, citizens across America offer their prayers, expressing their hopes for happiness and safety in the coming year.

This holiday stands out as one of the busiest times of the year when families and friends come together. Often referred to as “American Thanksgiving” outside the US to distinguish it from the Canadian festival with the same name, the day is marked by gatherings where loved ones share a meal and celebrate together. Additionally, parades and football games have become integral parts of the Thanksgiving tradition, adding to the festivities of the day.

When is Thanksgiving celebrated?

In the United States, Thanksgiving is a federal holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, with some possible exceptions. In 2023, Thanksgiving day will be celebrated on November 23, 2023

On this day, state government offices are closed, and certain businesses and schools may also observe a holiday. It is a time when people give thanks to the almighty and express their gratitude for the blessings bestowed on them. Additionally, Thanksgiving serves as the unofficial kickoff to the Christmas shopping season, with many retailers offering special deals and discounts.

Moreover, Thanksgiving provides an extended four-day weekend for some offices and businesses, allowing people to spend quality time with their families and friends. It’s worth noting that this festival is celebrated on different dates in Canada and the US, each with its own unique traditions and customs.

Year U.S Thanksgiving
2023 November 23, 2023 (Thursday)
2024 November 28, 2024 (Thursday)
2025 November 27, 2025 (Thursday)
2026 November 26, 2026 (Thursday)
Year Canada Thanksgiving
2023 October 9, 2023 (Monday)
2024 October 14, 2024 (Monday)
2025 October 13, 2025 (Monday)
2026 October 12, 2026 (Monday)

History of Thanksgiving

In ancient times, Native Americans celebrated the harvest season long before Thanksgiving became an official tradition in America. The origins of Thanksgiving can be traced back to the 16th century.

During the 1600s, settlers in Massachusetts and Virginia would gather for feasts, expressing their gratitude for survival, fertile lands, and their faith. One of the most famous gatherings occurred in 1621 when Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts, shared a Thanksgiving feast, marking a significant and glamorous occasion.

This three-day feast held great prominence, akin to the Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. Alongside the feast, various ceremonies and events were performed. It’s essential to note that the concept of thanksgiving is not a modern invention; it has deep historical roots. Traditions of giving thanks can be found in ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Over the centuries, generations continued the tradition of celebrating days of Thanksgiving, shaping the rich and diverse history of this cherished holiday.

When did Thanksgiving become a national holiday?

The inaugural national celebration of Thanksgiving was established to honor the creation of the new United States Constitution. In 1789, President George Washington proclaimed November 26 as the official “Day of Thanksgiving.” Washington, the first president to lead the Thanksgiving Revolution successfully, encouraged citizens to express gratitude and give thanks to God for all the blessings in their lives. This historic proclamation marked the first official celebration of Thanksgiving under the Constitution, signifying the commencement of Thanksgiving Revolutions for future generations in America. The event became synonymous with offering prayers to the Almighty and sharing a festive meal with family and friends, establishing a cherished tradition in the nation’s history. 

How thanksgiving can be celebrated at workplace?

Thanksgiving can be celebrated at workplace/organizations in a number of ways. Here is the list of how HRs of the organizations can celebrate thanksgiving :

1. By organizing meals for employees

In modern times, Thanksgiving Day holds various meanings for people across America. For some, it remains a heartfelt occasion to express gratitude and offer prayers for the bountiful harvest, their families, and more. For others, it’s a cherished holiday, providing an opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends while sharing delicious meals.

At the heart of the American Thanksgiving celebration is the iconic dish: turkey, also known as Turkey dinner. This grand meal is typically prepared through roasting and has become synonymous with the holiday. According to a report, Thanksgiving stands as the largest eating event in the United States. The traditional Thanksgiving dinner spread often includes turkey, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, and cranberry, among other delectable dishes. Over the years, the Thanksgiving dinner menu continues to evolve, with new additions and creative recipes enhancing the festive experience.

Here are a few of the Thanksgiving meal ideas organizations can use to:

1. First-Timer’s Thanksgiving Menu

Main Course – Roasted Turkey

Starters – Thanksgiving salad

Sides –  Sweet Potatoes, Sausage stuffing, Cranberry sauce

Desserts – Pumpkin cake, Bars

Drinks –  Red Sangria

2. Thanksgiving Brunch Menu

Main Course –  Breakfast sandwiches, Waffles, Hamburgers

Starters – Eggs, Sausage balls

Sides –  Chicken apple sausage, sweet potato hash, potato galette

Desserts – Apple cider doughnuts

Drinks –  Cranberry Mimosa

3. Sweet Thanksgiving Menu

Main Course –  Maple rosemary roast turkey

Starters – Sausage balls

Sides –  Sweet potato with marshmallows, candied carrots, roasted vegetables with Pecan crumble

Desserts – Butterscotch cornflake apple crisp, pecan pie bars, cakes

Drinks – Caramel apple martini

2. By organizing craft competition

Here are some craft competition at workplace:

1. Folded Turkey Napkins

2. Turkey Lollipops

3. Wood Slice Turkey

4. Pumpkin Pie Hat

5. Paper Mayflower Ship

6. Pumpkin Mason Jars

Folded Turkey Napkins

folded turkey napkins

Turkey Lollipops

turkey lollipops

Wood Slice Turkey

wood slice turkey

Pumpkin Pie Hat

pumpkin pie hat

Paper Mayflower Ship

paper mayflower ship

Pumpkin Mason Jars

pumpkin mason jars

3. Scavenger Hunt

This fun-filled activity is designed to encourage every team member to learn, collaborate and have a good time with their team.  You can find various creative ideas on internet to make it even more interesting. The major purpose of this event is to  work together, be creative and enjoy.

Remember, the main goal is to relax, destress, and have fun together. Encourage team members to be creative and work collaboratively. Enjoy the Thanksgiving spirit and happy hunting!

4. Wall of Thanks

To foster and appreciate the efforts of employees in the organizations, HRs can design a “Thanksgiving Wall” for their employees. This gesture aims to recognize the dedicated efforts of employees in the organizations.

How does the Thanksgiving Wall work?

Here is how the Thanksgiving Wall works for organizations:

1. Capturing Beautiful Moments

  • A specified area with a beautiful display should be created
  • The photographs of employees with their smiling faces and positive energy should be displayed.

2. Expressing appreciation and gratitude

  • A small 2 or 3-liner note will serve as a mark of appreciation
  • These notes can highlight the efforts of employees in the company

3. Encouraging employee participation

  • HR should ensure full participation of every employee by taking certain initiatives like asking every employee to write a short liner for the employee to whom they want to thank.
  • Employees from every department and each designation should be encouraged to ensure diversity

5. Thanksgiving Charades Extravaganza

To celebrate thanksgiving at workplace, HRs can organize charades that are based on thanksgiving themes at the workplace to celebrate the spirit of gratitude and togetherness. This unforgettable event will create life long memories for every employee. Embrace the challenge of guessing and performing while surrounded by the warmth of friends and loved ones. So make your thanksgiving more creative and joyful with the charades. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

No, thanksgiving is not celebrated on 23rd every year. It is celebrated on fourth Thursday of November, no matter on which date it falls.

The day is meant to celebrate the harvest season and other blessings of the year gone by.

For example- In 2023 thanksgiving will be celebrated to thank almighty for the blessing of the previous year gone.

Unlike Thanksgiving, which always falls on the fourth Thursday of November no matter the date, Canada’s version occurs on the second Monday in October—which is October 9 in 2023.

Thanksgiving in Canada originated purely as a harvest festival.

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