Thanksgiving Party Planning

cornucopiaThanksgiving is a time to gather and give thanks for all of the wonderful blessings bestowed upon us. There are many ways to observe the occasion, some traditional, some more casual and spontaneous.

Who you will celebrate with probably determine which type of party to have, whether it's a traditional meal with family, a small get-together with friends, or a classroom party with the children -- sort of a pre-celebration. Enjoy your day off from work or school and count your blessings!

Autumn Decorating Ideas

Provide a festive environment for an autumn holiday with seasonal decorations that are natural and colorful. Start with a woven or wicker basket. Add fruit for a healthy alternative to pumpkin pie or make a basket that is completely decorative with things that can be found outside. Gourds, acorns, twigs, and miniature orange pumpkins and Indian corn will make a beautiful table centerpiece, adorned with some fall leaves and bright, metallic ribbon.

Set the table with a fabulous floral arrangement to highlight the center. Silk flowers stand the test of time but fresh flowers will add a wonderful scent to the atmosphere. If you want to cut some costs, make a homemade arrangement instead of buying professional.

The types of flowers to choose should depend upon the colors but most area available in a large range of colors and hues. Look for coral, burnt orange, burgundy, yellow, and rust. Pick and choose from daisies, hydrangeas, asters, and roses, along with your personal favorites. Accent with fall fruits and berries.

Make sports fans happy by adding football theme to the mix of fall splendor. Decorate with balloons and pennants with team colors and memorabilia. If football tableware isn't fancy enough for your Thanksgiving dinner, consider buying a large football plate for cookies and snacks, and/or a large bowl for chips and dip in the center. These items can be found at most party supply stores and online.

Thanksgiving Activities and Games

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to draw names for the annual gift-exchange for Christmas because everyone or almost everyone is together in one place. This activity is already a tradition for many families but can also be used at school or an organizational meeting for Secret Santas. While you're at it, set a price limit on the gifts. Have guests make a wish list and write them down on recipe cards. Put them in a recipe box and let people browse through for gift ideas. Also, Thanksgiving my be the time to have a gift exchange if you're unable to get together for Christmas or New Years.

School Fun

In the classroom, there are several crafts and games that will keep the kids occupied and perhaps teach them something. Hold a contest with a quick quiz on Thanksgiving or turkey trivia. Add questions relation to the history of the holiday and fun facts about turkeys. You can make it true or false, multiple choice, or fill in the blank depending on how old the kids are. They will also enjoy crossword puzzles and word searches related to the holiday. All are a great learning experience!

Paper Projects

Children love to make their own homemade turkey by tracing one of their hands on construction paper and cutting it out. They can add in "feathers" by coloring them in or cutting them out from more construction paper and gluing them on. Other paper projects include colorful leaves to cut out or wreaths adorned with autumn fruit. These all make great decorations for school until they take them home and let mom and dad enjoy.

Pumpkin Bowling

Get some action with a game of pumpkin bowling. You will need several small pumpkins (about 6" to 8") to use as "bowling balls." If you want to be elaborate, you can carve out holes for the fingers but it's not necessary. Bowling pins can be found at toy stores or you can use plastic pop bottles. You will need a smooth surface to bowl on and chalk or tape to mark a line. Let each child pick the pumpkin to reduce complaints of lopsided pumpkins. Award prizes for strikes and candy for spares.

How Many?

Instead of guessing how many jelly beans are in a jar, display a large ear of Indian Corn and have guests submit a piece of paper with their best guess of how many kernels are on the corn cob. The person who comes the closest, wins the prize.