Coworkers enjoying a Thanksgiving meal.

8 Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving in the Office

Thanksgiving is a holiday that reminds us to be thankful for everyone and everything we have in our lives. It’s an important time to reflect on your year, be together with family, friends, and coworkers, and give back to the greater community. While Thanksgiving is typically celebrated at home, there are still ways to bring the giving spirit to the office. Plus, there’s nothing like an office potluck to bring everyone together! 

Still, it’s important to remember that this time of year isn’t just about turkey, stuffing, and gravy. There are many ways to show your employees your appreciation, thank your clients, and give back to the local community. From charity drives to cooking competitions, here are eight ways your company can celebrate Thanksgiving at work:

Host a Potluck

“Every Thanksgiving, Fundera has a potluck where every employee brings a dish their family enjoys for Thanksgiving. All participants log their name and dish in a Google Sheet so we can track what's being brought and the day of the potluck, we have a large spread of great dishes from all over the country. It's a fun time for everyone and an event that the whole company looks forward to.” — Nicolas Straut, Senior Marketer at Fundera

Host a Potluck with a Twist

“At Tandem Interactive, we have a pre-Thanksgiving potluck, but the one catch is that it has to be anything but Thanksgiving food. Last year people brought in everything from soup to homemade bolognese.” — Andrea Bailey, Organic Search Specialist at Tandem Interactive

Get in the Giving Spirit

“This year to celebrate Thanksgiving, Namely had a Month of Giving, where we announced our longterm non-profit partners whose missions and values aligned with our company’s. We plan to set up volunteer events consistently with those charities in the future. We also set up a contest where employees who have been appreciated on our Namely newsfeed would be entered into a raffle to win money to donate to a charity of their choice. It was a great way to combine charitable giving with our employee recognition strategy.” — Kristie Kuo, Talent & People Associate at Namely

Organize a Charity Drive

During the holidays, it’s important to remember that there are those less fortunate who could benefit from your help. Try organizing an office food drive and donate cans to a local food bank or ask employees to bring in gently used hats, scarves, and gloves to donate to a nearby shelter. If you want to take a more hands-on approach, organize a day of volunteering with your employees. Not only does your business get to give back to the community, but your employees get to feel they are making a difference and helping those in need.

Write Thank You Cards

“Several years ago we started the unique Thanksgiving tradition. Each fall we create and assemble handcrafted Thanksgiving cards for our clients. Over the course of two weekends, we design and create 250 handmade cards. We invite our families to help (my thirteen-year-old daughter loves it) and bond over food, drinks, and football. Our clients tell us that they appreciate the time and thought we put into the cards. We hope it reminds them just how much we care.” — Mark C. McKaig, CRPC(r), Partner at Centurion Wealth

Organize a Cooking Competition

“Our small office organizes a friendly cooking competition every year. Last year it was chili and bread and this year we’re making sweet and savory pies. Of course, prizes are involved in addition to bragging rights! It's a great way to bring everyone together to get a taste of colleagues' creative talents outside of work duties.” —Rebecca Graham, Content Manager at Best Company

Thank Your Employees

“This year we plan to pay a tribute of 'thanks' with our workplace suggestion box. We have a suggestion box in our office kitchen where employees can leave anonymous feedback on things they like/dislike about our company and propose new ideas for us to implement. In an effort to ensure our employees know 'we hear them' and we are most thankful for all they do, we will be showcasing how management has responded to past suggestions. We hope this tribute of thanks engages our employees and ultimately drives participation.” — Samantha Lambert, Director of Human Resources at Blue Fountain Media

Give Employees Time Off

“I understand many people have personal obligations and expectations to meet during the holiday season and that having a boss that is supportive of those needs increases productivity and overall work satisfaction. So, I let people have the day after Thanksgiving and the time between Christmas and New Year’s off. I also grant additional time off to employees who need and am more flexible with working hours during that period. I notice my workers come back from the holidays feeling refreshed, happy, and ready to work.” — Jacob Dayan of Finance Pal

Whether you’re organizing an office potluck or overseeing a canned food drive, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Thanksgiving with your employees. Don’t be afraid to create your own traditions that encourage your workplace to come together as a family and give thanks! 

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