5 Ways to Entertain Thanksgiving Visitors

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The Recipe for the Gracious Thanksgiving Host

Are you bracing for that time of year again?

  • You’ve reviewed festive pie crust designs on Pinterest - “How ambitious do I want to be?”

  • You resurfaced your favorite bread stuffing recipe from that ancient cookbook - “Should I double the recipe this year? What was that variation I wanted to try?”

  • You’ve deliberated if this is the year to deep fry a turkey - “What? 900 homes burn down each year due to deep fryer incidents?!”

  • You’ve considered seating arrangements - “Who do we sit next to Drunk Uncle?”

And yet, a blanket of anxiety hangs over your shoulders. What do you do with out-of-town family and friends on the days after Thanksgiving? Before the last nibble of pecan pie inevitably comes The Question. “What’s next?” You have fed them. Maybe you have even housed them. And now they want you to entertain them.

The recipe for a gracious Thanksgiving weekend host is one of finesse and practice:

  • Start with a full serving of culinary artistry and brilliance

  • Add a few sprigs of hotelier thoughtfulness for warmth

  • Stir in a heap of local concierge creativity for pizzazz and lingering taste

  • Include a dash of wedding planning or cat herding, depending on personal preference

  • Let it simmer. Serve for four days or so.

It is a big task to confront. Have no fear - we offer 5 fun, action-filled activities to delight your Thanksgiving guests and maintain your sanity.

1. Turkey Trot 5k

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Since 1916, people of all physical capabilities and fitness levels have participated in the Turkey Trot walk/run race. Usually the 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) race is held on Thanksgiving Thursday morning. It’s a great way to burn off a few calories, raise the heart rate, and donate to a local charity. Bonus points to those who run in turkey onesies, pilgrim costumes and chef uniforms. To find the closest race, just search “Turkey Trot near me.”

2. Pick Apples

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While others are scouring for Black Friday deals, you could be on a farm, taking in the changing colors of the trees, enjoying the crisp autumn air, and hunting for the perfect Honeycrisp, Fuji or Granny Smith. A visit to an apple orchard with the whole family provides an opportunity to be together, run around, and appreciate where food comes from. Of course, when you come home, you can always make applesauce, apple pie, apple cider or some other welcome diversity to turkey leftovers.

3. Scavenger Hunt

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Before you pass judgement, scavenger hunts are great for people of all ages and can be done inside or outside. You just need one judge to create the list, form teams and designate a prize (top two finishers get to pull the wishbone?). Proof of each challenge can be an item, photograph or activity. Favorite Thanksgiving photo requests: pic of entire team sitting in a bathtub, entire team in a reflection that isn’t a mirror, entire team jumping. You can also ask for special activities: a vocal performance provided by a team member, a folded basket of clothes, entire team drinking from a glass at the same time. The more creative, the more memorable.

4. Go on a Sidewalk

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The Sidewalk app is perfect for the intellectually curious, whether they are out of towners or locals. Head out on a self-guided walk of your city. Immerse in the local history. Take note of the nearby architecture. See some culture. Each of the routes and stories were created by a local expert.

No Sidewalks nearby? Create your own as a family. What special places would you take your best friend and what would you tell them about it? Put it together using the Sidewalk app and publish it for others to discover and enjoy.

5. Go Ice Skating

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Looking for a taste of winter away from the hoards of shoppers, never ending stream of Christmas jingles and epic lines of photos on Santa’s knee? Take a few laps around an ice skating rink. It’s fun, active, cool (without being cold) and maybe even nostalgic. Plus, if there is an assortment of ages in your party, it’s a great equalizing activity for the whole family. If you prefer to stay on non-slip ground, ice skating can expend a decent amount of hyperactivity from the kids while you watch from a safe distance. What’s not to like?


Have a family tradition or activity that you swear by? Let us know in the comments below! Meanwhile, good luck choosing whether to or not to embellish the sweet potatoes with marshmallows and walnuts (or if you want a curve ball, Alton Brown pitches in a chipotle pepper), or determining whether to serve white or red wine this year (The New York Times says both).

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Jason Donahue, Co-Founder & CEO

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