Why Every Family Should End Thanksgiving with Game Night

The feast may have wrapped up, but Thanksgiving isn’t over until there’s a winner.

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The Thanksgiving feast has come to a close, clean-up is complete, and the food comas are unrelenting. But Thanksgiving only rolls around once a year, and we're determined to make the most of it. Put a rush order on your second wind, ladies and gentlemen, because the night isn't over yet. It's game time.

Breathe new life into the festivities by settling into some fun, light-hearted games. Choose something fit for a large group of people and that can be engaging for all with just the right touch of competitive spirit. (But don't get too competitive—this is still a family affair.) Whether you choose to break out the cards, a board game, or something homemade, game night is a great way to keep the party going long after the turkey feast. Here's a few reasons to make family gaming part of your annual Thanksgiving routine.

Get the Whole Crew Involved

You've probably spent the day moving from one conversation to the next with varying individuals and small groups of people. Then, come dinnertime, you probably gabbed with only those sitting by you at the supper table. Before the night ends, it's time to get the whole crowd together on the same wavelength. Choosing a game that everyone in attendance, no matter their age, can participate in is a surefire way to center the conversation.

Conversation Has Been Exhausted

At some point, there's just no more catching up to do, and that's ok. At the end of the day, it's time to change gears and get everyone talking about their next move. With the help of a tournament, chatter will be lively as ever.

End the Night on a Fun Note

A joyful conclusion is just what the day of thanks calls for. After a few laughter-filled rounds of your game of choice, send loved ones home with smiles on their faces, and for the winners, bragging rights, too.

Promote Family Bonding

Anything that includes teamwork is sure to be a winner. Games that involve some element of fun ridiculousness, like charades, force even the shyest Thanksgiving guests out of their shell, and games that require teamwork build camaraderie, bringing everyone closer together for a common goal.

Start a New Tradition

Family traditions are bread and butter for Southerners. Embrace a new Thanksgiving ritual that everyone will look forward to year after year for generations to come. Change up which game you choose annually or stick to a single family favorite each Thanksgiving. You can even rotate which family member is in charge of post-dinner gaming festivities as a way to get young ones involved in the Turkey Day preparations.

Games To Play

Recap Two Truths and a Lie

It's time to test what everyone remembers from catch-up conversations throughout the day. Go around the room and one by one, share two true details about yourself and one similar falsehood. Make sure they're facts that you've shared throughout the day, whether it's a life update or just a fun fact, so that everyone else in the group stands a chance of guessing correctly which one is the fib.

Massive Bananagrams

Mix together 2, 3, 4 banana-shaped bags of the Scrabble-like word tile game and settle with enough space to create wordy connection clouds across the carpet.


You might know this game by its expletive alias, but we like to keep this card game PG. Use as many decks of cards as you need to suit your group, going around the circle and beginning with the ace of spades, put down as many of the next consecutive card as you have in your hand. If you don't have any, you'll just have to convince your crew that you do. If you think that someone is lying about what cards they have, call them out on their bologna.

Heads Up

Get your phone involved for this game. Download Ellen DeGenerous' 'Heads Up!' video game for rounds upon rounds of charades-like fun.

Salad Bowl

All you need for this game is some pieces of paper, writing tools, and a big bowl or hat. Think of it as a mix of Taboo and charades. Guests broken up into teams will have rounds of fun guessing words based on descriptive clues.

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