23 Fun & Effective Thanksgiving Contest Ideas for Work

If you want effective Thanksgiving contest ideas for work, this blog is the right place. I have gathered 23 fun team-building contest ideas to help you engage your team and make this Thanksgiving season more memorable. So, let’s begin.

Thanksgiving contest ideas for work

What Is Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated in the United States and Canada. It originated as a harvest festival, where people would come together to give thanks for a successful farming season. 

Today, Thanksgiving is more focused on spending time with loved ones and showing gratitude for all the blessings in our lives.

On this occasion, families enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner consisting of turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. It is a time for coming together, sharing stories and memories, and enjoying the company of those we hold dear.

Each year, on the fourth Thursday in November in the U.S. and on the second Monday in October in Canada – Thanksgiving is celebrated. Apart from that, there are some differences between the Canadian and American Thanksgiving

For example, While American Thanksgiving mainly focuses on celebrating the harvest festival, Canadian Thanksgiving focuses more on celebrating and thanking God for the blessings of the year.

Why Run a Thanksgiving Contest for Work?

There are several reasons for running a Thanksgiving contest for work. A few of them are discussed below.

Boost Employee Morale

Running a Thanksgiving contest at work is a wonderful way to boost employee morale. The friendly competition and the camaraderie that develops as teams strive toward a common goal can help to create an upbeat working environment. 

Enhance Teamwork

Thanksgiving contests can also enhance teamwork. Employees get to collaborate and strategize to win the contest, which can foster stronger relationships among team members and promote effective communication.

Encourage Creativity

These contests can bring out the creative side of your employees. Thanksgiving contests can motivate employees to think outside the box, whether it’s coming up with a unique team name, designing a winning strategy, or devising a clever answer to a trivia question.

Show Appreciation

Lastly, Thanksgiving contests at work allow management to show appreciation for their staff. Offering attractive prizes can be a tangible way of demonstrating gratitude for their hard work and dedication. It also aligns perfectly with the Thanksgiving theme of expressing thanks.

23 Fun & Effective Thanksgiving Contest Ideas for Work

#1. Thanksgiving Potluck Lunch

Organize a Thanksgiving potluck lunch where each employee brings a dish to share. This not only encourages everyone to contribute but also allows them to showcase their cooking skills. Ensure that everyone signs up for a dish to avoid duplication. If possible, include various foods to cater to different dietary needs.

#2. Gratitude Jar

Place a jar in a common area with blank paper and pens. Ask everyone to write something they are grateful for and put it in the jar. At your Thanksgiving celebration, read the notes aloud. Encourage everyone to participate and assure them their notes can be anonymous.

#3. Pumpkin Carving Contest

Provide pumpkins and carving tools and ask employees to carve their best pumpkins. Have everyone vote for their favorite. Consider having different categories for the competition, like ‘scariest pumpkin,’ ‘funniest pumpkin,’ etc.

Read also: 65 Creative Pumpkin Contest Ideas

#4. Thanksgiving Trivia Quiz

Prepare a set of Thanksgiving-themed trivia questions. Divide the staff into teams and conduct a quiz session. The team that answers the most questions correctly wins. Make sure to mix up easy and challenging questions to keep it interesting and inclusive for everyone.

#5. Dress Up Day

Encourage employees to dress up in Thanksgiving-themed attire. Hold a voting session to select the best dressed. Remember to ensure that the dress-up day is fun, inclusive, and appropriate for the workplace.

#6. Food Drive

Organize a food drive where employees can donate non-perishable food items. The collected items can then be donated to a local food bank. Consider turning this into a competition between different teams or departments to encourage participation.

#7. Virtual Thanksgiving Parade

For remote teams, organize a virtual Thanksgiving parade on a platform like Zoom. Encourage participants to create their floats or costumes to display. Consider giving out prizes for categories like ‘most creative,’ ‘most humorous,’ etc.

#8. Thanksgiving Back Day

Plan a day of voluntary service where employees can give back to the community through various social service activities. Plus, it also promotes team bonding and a sense of fulfillment. Try to offer various service opportunities to cater to different interests and abilities.

#9. Recipe Exchange

Invite employees to share their favorite Thanksgiving recipes. Compile these into a shared document or an “office cookbook .”As some people might not cook, including a section for favorite store-bought items can ensure everyone can participate.

#10. Thanksgiving Bingo

Create a Thanksgiving-themed bingo game for the office. Include things like ‘made a pie from scratch,’ ‘traveled out of state for a holiday,’ etc. Consider offering small prizes to keep the game competitive and fun.

#11. Office Decoration Contest

Encourage teams or individuals to decorate their workspace with a Thanksgiving theme, then hold a vote for the best decorations. Consider different categories like ‘most creative,’ ‘best team effort,’ etc., to give more people a chance to win.

#12. Fun Run/Walk

Organize a fun run or walk where employees and their families can participate. Make it Thanksgiving-themed by encouraging festive attire. Offer refreshments post-event to encourage socializing and camaraderie.

#13. Thanksgiving Movie Marathon

Organize a movie day at the office and screen popular Thanksgiving movies. Provide popcorn and drinks for an authentic experience. Ensure the movie selection is appropriate for all audiences in your workplace.

#14. Potluck Leftovers Day

Encourage employees to bring in their Thanksgiving leftovers to share with the team. This can be a fun way to enjoy a diverse array of dishes. Ensure a system is in place for storing and heating the food.

#15. Gratitude Wall

Set up a wall or bulletin board where employees can post notes of gratitude towards each other. Encourage everyone in the office to contribute, ensuring it becomes a positive space.

#16. Thanksgiving Raffle

Hold a Thanksgiving raffle with various prizes. Sell tickets to staff and draw the winners at your Thanksgiving celebration. Ensure prizes are something staff will enjoy and find useful.

Read also: Raffle Giveaway Ideas

#17. Craft Day

Organize a craft day where staff can make Thanksgiving-themed crafts. This can be a fun team-building activity. Provide a variety of craft options for different skill levels.

#18. Cooking Class

Hire a local chef to give a cooking class at your office, teaching employees how to make some Thanksgiving favorites. Make sure to take any dietary restrictions into account when planning the menu.

#19. DIY Decorations Workshop

Hold a workshop where employees can create their own Thanksgiving decorations. They could even use these to decorate their desks or workspaces. Offer a variety of decoration options to cater to different tastes and skills.

#20. Thanksgiving-themed Fitness Challenge

Organize a fitness challenge with a Thanksgiving twist. For instance, whenever someone says ‘Thanksgiving,’ everyone has to do five push-ups. Ensure the challenge is inclusive and accessible for all fitness levels. Remember to prioritize safety and encourage breaks as needed.  

#21. Virtual Turkey Trot

Organize a virtual turkey trot for employees to participate in a 5k or 10k run/walk at their convenience. They can track their progress using an app or website. Consider donating a portion of the registration fees to a local charity. 

Encourage employees to share their progress and photos on social media with a designated hashtag for team building. You can also provide race bibs or other swag to make it feel official.

#22. Potato Decorating Contest

Similar to the pumpkin carving contest, have employees decorate potatoes instead. This can be a fun and silly activity that everyone can participate in, regardless of artistic ability.

Read also: 31 Creative & Easy Potato Decorating Contest Ideas

#23. Gratefulness Meditation Session

Hire a meditation instructor to lead a session focused on gratefulness. This is a relaxing and reflective way to celebrate Thanksgiving with your team.

Read also: Sales Contest Ideas

Best Price Ideas For Thanksgiving Contest

You have some great ideas for Thanksgiving activities, but now it’s time to think about prizes! Here are some budget-friendly prize ideas that can be used for the various contests and events mentioned above: 

  • Gift cards to local restaurants or stores
  • A paid day off from work
  • Customized office supplies (e.g., mugs, pens, notebooks)
  • Company swag (e.g., t-shirts, tote bags)
  • Tickets to a local event or attraction
  • Experiences (e.g., cooking classes, fitness classes)
  • Donations to a charity of the winner’s choice 

Make sure to also consider the preferences and interests of your employees when selecting prizes. This will make them feel more appreciated and motivated to participate in future events. 

FAQs on Thanksgiving Contest Ideas for Works

How much does it cost to run a Thanksgiving contest?

The cost of running a Thanksgiving contest will vary depending on the type and scale of the event, as well as any prizes or materials needed. It can be anything from a few bucks to a few thousand dollars. However, many budget-friendly options are available, such as virtual events, DIY activities, and donations to charity. 

For example, a potluck leftovers day or gratitude wall can be organized with little to no cost. A cooking class or craft workshop may require some funding for materials and hiring an instructor. 

It can also be helpful to seek sponsorships or partnerships with local businesses to offset some costs. 

How do you throw a Thanksgiving party at work?

To throw a successful Thanksgiving party at work, here are some steps you can follow:

  1. Set a date and time: Choose a date and time that works for most employees.
  2. Decide on the format: Determine if it will be in-person or virtual, and choose activities accordingly.
  3. Plan activities: Consider incorporating some of the abovementioned ideas, such as a potluck or movie marathon.
  4. Choose a theme: Consider a Thanksgiving for decorations and activities to add festive flair.
  5. Send invitations: Invite employees through email or create an event page on your company’s intranet.
  6. Plan the menu: If it’s an in-person event, plan the food options and accommodate any dietary restrictions.
  7. Set a budget: Determine how much you can allocate towards the event and plan accordingly.
  8. Decorate and set up: Prepare the space with Thanksgiving-themed decorations and set up any activities or food stations.

If you thinking about hosting a Thanksgiving dinner party, check out the below video.

How do I ensure inclusivity in Thanksgiving activities at work?

To ensure inclusivity in your Thanksgiving activities at work, consider the following:

  • Take into account dietary restrictions when planning food options.
  • Avoid using specific religious or cultural symbols that may exclude certain employees.
  • Allow for different skill levels and abilities in any craft or cooking activities.
  • Offer various options for prizes to cater to different preferences and interests. 
  • Be mindful of scheduling conflicts or religious observances that may conflict with the event date. 
  • Communicate with your employees and ask for their input and suggestions to create a welcoming and inclusive environment.


Thanksgiving is a time to thank and appreciate those around us, including our coworkers. By implementing some of these ideas for Thanksgiving activities in the workplace, you can foster a sense of camaraderie and gratitude among your employees. 

Have fun and be creative with celebrating this holiday with your team! So, start planning an awesome Thanksgiving celebration for your office.

Julia Nancy
Julia Nancy

I have vast experience arranging online voting contests for hundreds of clients worldwide in the last 8 years. I also helped countless clients to win their online competitions. Here, on royalvotes.com, I am just sharing knowledge from my experiences. If you need any help regarding the online contest, email me at julia@royalvotes.com