by Susie Alexandre September 28, 2023

5 Activities for Families to Take Part In Together On Thanksgiving in 2023

This year, the Thanksgiving holiday lands on Monday, October 9, 2023. 

For those who celebrate, the Thanksgiving holiday is one rooted in historical significance. This holiday also flanks the unofficial start of the Autumn season, as well as giving families and loved ones a welcome opportunity to get together and celebrate over delicious food and great company. 

In anticipation of Canadian Thanksgiving, the team at Royal LePage Your Community Realty have compiled 5 unique and family-friendly activities for people to participate in over the holiday. 

A brief history of Canadian Thanksgiving 

Photo by International Art Publisher Company or via [Toronto Reference Library. Arts department.

The history of Thanksgiving dates all the way back to its first year of official celebration in Canada, on November 6, 1879. From then on, the date was not fixed, but it became common to hold it on the second Monday in October, a tradition that has endured to this day. 

The purpose of this annual event (and harvest festival) is to celebrate a healthy and prosperous harvest, as well as other good fortunes of the year that has passed. Distinct in its own celebration and historical significance from the American holiday that goes by the same name of “Thanksgiving”, this holiday is often referred to as “Canadian Thanksgiving”. 

Per Wikipedia, it was the Governor General of Canada Vincent Massey who put forth the following proclamation on January 31, 1957: 

"A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed – to be observed on the second Monday in October."

The history of this holiday is as rich in its roots as it is a beloved event in our modern-day culture. 

Thanksgiving in present day

At present, Thanksgiving in Canada remains a day of celebration. While the majority of Canadian families may not center their festivities around the traditional, i.e. the harvest, this holiday remains a time for gathering, celebration and gratitude for life’s blessings. 

A statutory holiday throughout most of Canada, every family celebrating will have their own traditions, however, Thanksgiving has become synonymous with the themes of family gathering, hearty “comfort foods” like turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie, all against a cozy fall backdrop.

Now let’s move on to the 5 family-friendly activities that you and your loved ones can participate in over the Thanksgiving holiday.


Fun and games for kids

  • Create a fall-themed scavenger hunt and have the little ones race to see who can come up with the most items on the list in the fastest time.  

  • Find a local farm or orchard and gather up the troops to pick pumpkins. Pumpkin-picking is an autumn staple as far as seasonal outdoor activities, and it allows for everyone in the family to participate. So get out into the fresh air, have everyone pick out a pumpkin of their own and once home, have some fun carving or painting them, just in time to add them to your Halloween decorations. Here is a link to some fantastic pumpkin patches and farms in Ontario.

Games for the whole family

Getting your family in the Thanksgiving spirit is easy, with a few fun and interactive activities to get everyone entertained and engaged over the holiday. 

  • Host a Thanksgiving cook-off for the family. Have everyone over and have them each bring their own dessert.

  • Go visit an apple orchard as a family. From there you can pick your favourite apples and use them to bake together at home. 

  • Board games are always a hit, from popular classics to new and trending group-friendly games. Get everyone’s input and plan ahead so you can be prepared with everyone’s top game options. 

Thanksgiving Crafts

Any holiday is a good opportunity to share in the fun of a little crafting at home. From cards for little ones to give to family members over dinner to easy craft ideas for the table’s centerpiece. 

Here are a few ideas and links to some great craft ideas for you and your family:

  • Homemade wreath - for this one, check out your local dollar store for easy and inexpensive crafting options, as well as having the kids collect some fallen foliage from outside to complete their seasonal wreaths!

From seasonal wreaths to pumpkin-carving, there are countless DIY craft games for the little ones to take part in this season. This Fall Craft Guide from Good Housekeeping offers up some great craft ideas for kids of all ages!


Activities at the table 

Gathering everyone around the table is one of the highlights of any great Thanksgiving celebration. It’s that sense of togetherness and “breaking bread” with the ones you love - this is what it’s all about! 

This year, make the moment extra-memorable with these fun and unique table-time ideas to partake in with your loved ones. 

  • Round-the-table sharing. ‘Tis the season for telling your loved ones you care, and what better to show and share in the sentiment of the holiday than by going around the table and having everyone join in with something they are grateful for. 

  • Keep the conversation flowing and engaging with a conversation starter bowl. Compose them yourself ahead of time or have guests contribute their own - all you need is a few small pieces of paper, a pen and a bowl to place the pieces of paper. Then, once everyone is gathered around the table, pass around the bowl and have each person select their own conversation starter from the bowl and read it aloud. From there, watch how the conversation flows amongst your guests and loved ones. 

Outdoor Thanksgiving activities 

The years’ most colourful season, don’t miss out on the chance to take your celebrations outdoors and bask in the beauty of the crisp autumn air and brilliant foliage. 

Here are a few ideas of how to get outdoors and make the most of the season this holiday. 

  • Take a walk! Whether you choose to go for a stroll in your own neighbourhood or via a local park, Thanksgiving is the time to catch the trees and changing leaves in their full glory. Check out our blog post on where to catch the best fall foliage in Toronto this season! 

  • Football, anyone? Thanksgiving and football seem to go hand-in-hand, at least for any sports aficionados in the family. Have some fun outdoors and incorporate a little action into the day by bundling up for a friendly game as a family. 

If you’ve got some time to spare this holiday, why not volunteer a few hours of your time to a local cause. The holidays are especially challenging for many, and in the spirit of the season, what better way to show your gratitude for life’s blessings than by giving back to your community? Check out this EventBrite link for some ideas on how to get involved and give back this Thanksgiving. 

Royal LePage Your Community Realty is Canada’s largest independently-owned Royal LePage franchise, with over 1000 agents and 10 office locations to serve you and your clients. 

Contact us today to connect with a member of our team, who can provide you with everything you need to know about becoming part of Your Community Realty!

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