Home for the Holidays Staff Picks: A Thanksgiving Feast of Ideas

To keep ourselves and our communities safe and healthy this holiday season, we’ve been asking our Masonic Homes, Acacia Creek and Grand Lodge teams for suggestions of ways to celebrate while remaining social distant to stop the spread of COVID-19.

This week, in anticipation of Thanksgiving, we’ve got an entire buffet’s worth of tips to munch on. Winners will be notified this week.  Now, on to the main course!

From Megan Dowd:

My sister in-law has a game for us to play while we Zoom with the kids and grandkids on Thanksgiving. We always go around the table and say what we are thankful for before eating, so we will do this virtually this year. We also sent Thanksgiving cards to all the kids. And we plan on making a special Thanksgiving breakfast to tide us over till dinner.

From Superinderjit Kaur: 

Families with children can do a special activity together, like hosting a dance party, playing Tic-Tac-Toe, watching a movie together, or having a scavenger hunt around the house. Families with seniors can do a storytelling hour or making Bingo boards using a website like Bingo Maker. And for families and friends at a distance, you can celebrate the holiday by showing pictures of the last time you met and tell memories about your friendship.

From Bao Her, who has several crafting suggestions:

  • Make a turkey cup stand: Here’s an explanation describing how to make one. The instructions are easy to follow—you list what you’re thankful for on the turkey’s feathers.
  • Make handprint turkeys with the kids: Their tiny palms will be cherished for many years. Perfect for families with small children.
  • Make DIY bracelets: It’s my favorite activity from this list. Small children can build bracelets for what they’re thankful for. For instance, I am thankful for health or family. Build the bracelet from those letters. Here are affordable beads from Target, along with string for the tie.
  • Paint rocks in colorful fall colors: If there’s one thing I’ve learned from small children, they love to paint rocks! Help them spell out a holiday-appropriate phase. Use this as the centerpiece at the table afterwards. Try scouting for rocks in your backyard and applying acrylic paint. Otherwise, you can purchase a rock and paint kit here

From Camille Salinas:

I’m hosting a Friendsgiving meditation/yoga session via Zoom, connecting with friends and saying what we’re grateful for. Then, the following day, I’m hosting a workout/bootcamp session called “Turkey Burn” at the park (with social distance in place, with three people).   

From Tara Keneally:

  • Thanksgiving is not just about the amazing food; it’s a time to give thanks. Many families pray together before digging into their Thanksgiving meal while others share what they are grateful for—and this can still be done virtually. Ask everyone beforehand to think about what they are thankful for that they would like to share with the group either while eating together virtually, before, or after the meal. Here’s a link to some festive zoom backgrounds to help set the mood.
  • Make a family slideshow so everyone can reminisce together. Ask each household to provide some photos so that everyone is included. Take some screenshots of the virtual celebration to add to future slideshows.
  • Family and friends of all ages can play games virtually: Thanksgiving day trivia, Pictionary, Psych! (participants make up fake answers to real trivia questions and one player must try to choose the real one), and Bingo!

From Joanna Moore, who’s got a few ideas:

  • Share your favorite Thanksgiving recipes: Especially if you have a family favorite. You can even compile all the recipes and make a book out of them. Alternatively, try a new recipe. Use this year to try out a new dish so if you like it you can bring it to a larger group next year. And if someone is the cook of the family, have them lead a cooking channel-like Zoom of how to make a favorite dish. 
  • Share a game over Zoom/Facetime: Play an online game like Pictionary, or even charades, which doesn’t need any special adaptations. There is a game you can download for little to no cost on your phone called Heads Up that’s also fun.
  • Donate to local food banks: Get the kids involved by seeing if they have a few coins to donate or going through any canned goods you might have. Some grocery stores have food collections. Get a can or two when your child is with you and put in the collection box. Also, some grocery stores have precooked meals for 2–4 people. Ask someone in need if they would like one and pick it up and drop it off for them.  

From Ranshu Malini:  

  • Do a virtual contest on best decorated dinner table and get the kids involved.
  • Play virtual Thanksgiving Bingo or scavenger hunt.
  • For families and friends at a distance, host a virtual Thanksgiving quiz with bits of turkey trivia for the holiday.
  • Invite families and friends to exchange their Thanksgiving or holiday recipes. You could even compile a cookbook that you can refer to throughout the year.


Other Resources for Staying Healthy

State and local governments are issuing rules for gatherings, and we should abide by them.  For official guidance about staying healthy this holiday season, please visit these sites to stay up-to-date:

For the latest news about the Masonic Homes and COVID-19, including employee policies, visit the Masonic Homes website.

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