Get the conversation flowing around the dinner table this Thanksgiving with one of these ten free printable conversation starters. You’ll get to know a new side of your family members and get the whole family talking to each other.
We love our family and look forward to seeing them at the holidays. (And if there are some family members that you find a little more challenging to love, check out our Guide to Handling the Holidays.) But it can sometimes be awkward to have a conversation with someone you last saw a year ago and the weather and traffic can only go so far.
And even if our Thanksgiving dinner is just our own immediate family, it can often be difficult to get everyone to slow down and remember the reason for the holiday. Your college student wants to get out and visit with their friends, your husband wants to get back to the game, and your younger kids want to grab food and run off to play. I know I’ve ended too many meals feeling disappointed and disconnected from my family.
So I’ve compiled this list of Thanksgiving Conversation Starter activities you can use to connect your family and get them talking this Thanksgiving, whether your group is large or small. Each activity comes with free printables so you don’t need to buy or make anything on your own and I’ve created suggestions on when and how to use each activity.
You won’t want to use all these conversation starters; instead, pick the one that’s right for you. And let me know in the comments which one you liked. I’d love to know!
These unique utensil holders have a secret inside them: the kids get a card titled "I am thankful for..." and the grown-ups have get a card with a question designed to start the conversation, such as "What are you most grateful for this year?". Kids can draw a picture of what they're thankful for and the grown-ups can share the answers to their questions. There's even a matching bag for leftovers!
These Thanksgiving place cards include a question on the back of each card. At some point during the meal (maybe right before dessert, while everyone is digesting the turkey?), go around the table and have everyone answer their question. Be sure and allow for follow up questions from the other guests! There are 18 cards here so you should have enough for even the biggest crowd.
Print out these 16 Conversation Cards, put them in a basket, and pass them around with the rest of your Thanksgiving dishes. Each guest pulls a card when the basket gets to them and answers the question.
These attractive cards help your guests reflect on the previous year and go a little deeper in their gratitude. This is the kind of activity that you might want to do after the meal while everyone is sitting around with coffee. Pass a jar with the cards around and let each guest talk about the past year and express their thankfulness.
I really love the diversity of questions in this large pack of Thanksgiving conversation starters. Don't you want to know your guests' answers to questions like, "What's your favorite Thanksgiving smell?" and "What's your favorite Thanksgiving memory?" Why not print these out and keep these in a basket in your den or living room and have people answer them as they wait for the meal to be served? The ice will be broken and everyone will be talking by the time the meal is served.
These thought-provoking questions will lead to some in-depth conversation around the Thanksgiving table. I would really love to hear the answers to such questions as, "What song or poem sums up your life over the past year?" or "If you could learn a new skill this coming year, what would it be?" If you really want to get to know your Thanksgiving guests, these are the cards for you.
Print out this pack of 25 Thanksgiving conversation starters and cut into individual cards along with the jar label. Place into an empty mason jar and ask each guest to grab one at some point during the meal. Maybe turn it into a game - if you get seconds on something, you have to also grab a card from the jar! The questions in the jar range from easy to answer to a little deeper so you could get some thoughtful answers here.
Eight thought-provoking questions designed to help guests reflect on what they're grateful for this Thanksgiving (and one "what do you want for Christmas?" card for that hard to shop for guest}. Put the cards on each plate and ask the guest to answer the question before they pile their plate high with their food.
Get the family laughing with this list of 50 "Would You Rather?" questions. Print out the list, cut into strips, and place in a jar. This is the kind of game that would be fun to make guests answer as a sort of jokey "penalty" - say the person who took the last dinner roll (a death-penalty act in my family), or the person who was last to the table.
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