What to do on Thanksgiving

Read Time: 5 minutes

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Doodle Content Team

Updated: Aug 29, 2023


The History of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has a rich historical background that dates back to the early days of American colonization. Understanding its origins helps us appreciate the significance of this holiday.

In the early 17th century, a group of English Pilgrims embarked on a treacherous journey aboard the Mayflower to seek religious freedom in the New World. After a grueling voyage, they arrived at Plymouth Rock, present-day Massachusetts, in 1620.

Facing a harsh winter and unfamiliar land, the Pilgrims encountered the Wampanoag Native Americans, who generously taught them how to cultivate the land and hunt local wildlife. With the assistance of the Native Americans, the Pilgrims successfully harvested their first crops in the autumn of 1621.

To express gratitude for the bountiful harvest, the Pilgrims organized a feast, which became known as the first Thanksgiving. It brought together the Pilgrims and Native Americans in a celebration of their newfound friendship and shared abundance.

While Thanksgiving had been celebrated intermittently in various colonies, it was President Abraham Lincoln who officially declared it a national holiday in 1863. Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving as a day of thanksgiving and praise, urging Americans to reflect on their blessings and give thanks for them.

Since then, Thanksgiving has been observed annually on the fourth Thursday of November, providing an opportunity for people across the United States to gather with loved ones and express gratitude for the blessings in their lives.

Thanksgiving video call

Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving is a time-honored tradition celebrated with various customs and rituals. These traditions add a special touch to the holiday, creating cherished memories for families and friends.

One of the most iconic Thanksgiving traditions is the Thanksgiving dinner. Families gather around a table filled with delicious food, including a roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing and pumpkin pie. It's a time for loved ones to share a meal, engage in lively conversations, and create lasting bonds.

Another popular tradition is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. This annual parade, held in New York City since 1924, features colorful floats, giant balloons of beloved characters, marching bands and performances by renowned artists. It has become a cherished spectacle that marks the beginning of the holiday season.

Many families also partake in Thanksgiving activities and games. From touch football matches in the backyard to board games and puzzles indoors, these activities promote laughter, friendly competition and quality time spent together. Some families even embark on post-dinner walks to enjoy the crisp autumn air and beautiful fall foliage.

Things to do on Thanksgiving

In addition to the traditional aspects of Thanksgiving, there are plenty of activities and experiences to make the day even more memorable. Here are some ideas to consider:

Volunteer: Thanksgiving is a time to give back to the community. Consider offering your time at a local food bank, homeless shelter or charity. Helping those in need can bring a sense of fulfillment and gratitude.

Explore nature: Take advantage of the fall season and enjoy the beauty of nature. Go for a hike in a nearby park, visit an apple orchard or take a scenic drive to admire the vibrant colors of the changing leaves. Spending time outdoors can be rejuvenating and refreshing.

Arts and crafts: Engage in some Thanksgiving-themed activities. Decorate the house with handmade decorations, create a gratitude collage or make DIY Thanksgiving centerpieces using natural elements like leaves, pinecones and acorns. It's a great way to tap into your creativity and add a personal touch to the holiday ambiance.

Virtual celebrations: If you have loved ones who are far away, organize a virtual Thanksgiving gathering. Set up a video call to connect, share stories and enjoy a meal together, even if you're miles apart.

Arrange the perfect Thanksgiving quickly with Doodle

No matter what you choose to do, Doodle makes it easy. 

Whether you’re trying to check your friends’ availability for a festive dinner or sort out your schedule to go for a hike with family - you can do it in minutes and completely free with Group Poll

Don’t get stressed trying to coordinate with friends and family. Focus on the important things and let Doodle take care of the scheduling

Thanksgiving is a special time of year in North America. It’s when people come together to express gratitude and celebrate. Whether you're spending the day with family, friends, or on your own, there are plenty of activities to make the most of this holiday. 

Today, we'll explore the history of Thanksgiving, delve into beloved traditions and suggest fun activities to enjoy. Plus, we'll show you how Doodle can help you plan your Thanksgiving events effortlessly.

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