Thanksgiving Party Ideas

Thanksgiving is a beloved tradition. It’s a holiday that brings the family closer together. The holiday is a time when family members take some time off from their busy schedules to gather around the family table to enjoy good food and each other’s company.

The Thanksgiving holiday is traditionally celebrated by sharing a hearty meal with family and friends. And as per tradition, a Thanksgiving meal’s centerpiece is the turkey. Food is certainly a big part of this holiday, but the activities and festivities are not limited to sitting around the table and eating a meal. 

More than the food, Thanksgiving celebrations are defined by the experience of spending some time and creating memories with loved ones. Make your family’s Thanksgiving celebrations worthwhile for your guests by planning. So set a party theme in advance, decorate your home, cook good food, and prepare activities that will show your guests that you appreciate their effort to come and value their spending time with them! 

If you’re looking for ideas to spruce up the next Thanksgiving feast you host, you’ve come to the right place. We have some clever Thanksgiving party ideas that may help you level up your family’s celebrations this year.

Party Theme

The party’s theme will set the tone for the event. The decorations, food, party games, and activities will all follow your chosen party theme. That’s why it’s essential to get this right. 

Here are some party themes you can consider for your next Thanksgiving celebration. 

Harvest Celebration

pumpkins, gourds, corn on a cob, corn husk, earthenware, and autumn leaves.

Before it became the modern and secular holiday when your aunts and uncles fly in from out of state to sit around the same table, Thanksgiving was an agrarian festival meant to celebrate that year’s harvest. You can pay homage to the holiday’s history and simultaneously show gratitude for the bountiful harvest meal you’re about to enjoy by decking your house with agrarian-themed décor. 

Use farm products like gourds, pumpkins, corn, and flowers as decorative pieces. You can place giant bright orange pumpkins and gourds on your house’s entrance to greet guests and smaller ones to decorate the dinner table. You can also add corn and corn husks to your Thanksgiving table. 

To really create that barnyard ambiance, you can use woven material, burlaps, or canvas as a tablecloth. You can also place rustic brassware or barrels topped with flowers around the house and at your dinner table. And as the last touch, you can also scatter bales of hay and even a scarecrow on your lawn to show your incoming guests that you’re really into the holiday party’s theme. 

Outdoor Luncheon

outdoor table set

Depending on where you live and the season, you may bring your family’s Thanksgiving celebrations outside. Set your dining table outside and decorate it like a picnic set. 

Use colorful leaves and branches to decorate the landscape and plaid tablecloths and breadbaskets to decorate the table. Then serve your guests their Thanksgiving meal buffet style. 

If you go with this Thanksgiving party theme, just remember to check the weather. We don’t want the guests to get soaked in the rain or your decorations blown off by the wind. 

Formal Affair

fine dining table set

Turn your traditional Thanksgiving celebrations into a posh party by glamming it up. Inform your guests beforehand to arrive in their best attire, and serve the Thanksgiving meal on fine china–and if you have antique gold or silver cutlery, this is a time to show them off. Set up your best table linens and light the room with candles on stylish candle holders. 

Begin the night by handing each guest a glass of champagne accompanied by bite-size hors d’oeuvres. And end the night with a glass of fine vintage reds. 


At the heart of any good Thanksgiving party, aside from the company of friends and family, is a good hearty meal. Thanksgiving, after all, is a holiday known for holiday delicacies. 

To meet your guests’ expectations, prepare a wide selection of menu items to meet your guests’ expectations. Prepare a menu that is fit for a holiday celebrating bountiful harvests by ensuring that the meal you’ll be serving will be packed with roasted, crisp, creamy, baked, and buttery dishes. 

Here are some food ideas for the holiday:

Dessert bar

table filled with dessert items

The best way to display all the sweets in your Thanksgiving feast is to set them up in a festive dessert bar.

Instead of serving large portions of desserts on the dinner table, prepare bite-sized pieces, then place those bite-sized sweet goodies on the dessert bar. You can pack the dessert bar with mini pumpkin pie bites, pecan bars, cake slices, cookies, and cupcakes. 

Side dishes

Though the turkey is the centerpiece of a traditional Thanksgiving meal, you must pay attention to the side dishes. If you or your guests are tired of the same old Thanksgiving side dishes, then you can add improvements to traditional Thanksgiving side dishes recipes. 

Here are some traditional Thanksgiving side dishes and the ways that you can level them up:

Level up mashed potatoes by making it ala–KFC Famous Bowl by throwing some grated cheddar cheese, homemade gravy, and corn. And don’t forget to add in some roasted garlic and mascarpone cheese. 

Serve sweet potatoes with a sprinkling of marshmallow and pecan on top. 

Improve the turkey stuffing by upping its savory flavor profile. Add some bacon, diced sausages, and tasty leeks to do this.

Make brussels sprouts more appetizing by cooking the veggies with pan-seared pancetta and garlic. Cooking the brussels sprouts with the pancetta will infuse the brussels sprouts with some of the deep flavors of the cured meat. 


different colored cocktails

To kick your Thanksgiving party off, you can also serve some cocktails. Offer your guests with some seasonal flavors like pumpkin pie sangria, cranberry margaritas, apple cider mimosas, or mulled wine. Arrange the glasses of cocktails on a bar cart decorated with candles placed on turkey candle holders, autumn leaves, and orange pumpkins.

And to accompany the cocktails, you can also serve some bite-sized hors d’oeuvres like mini pies, brie cubes with cranberry sauce, sweet potato sliders, and shrimp cocktails.  

These are just some of the party ideas that you can try to level up your Thanksgiving party. Pick a Thanksgiving party theme that you’re comfortable working with, plan ahead, cook up good food and hospitality for the guests, and your all set to throw a memorable Thanksgiving party.

If you need ideas on what to give your thanksgiving party host, you may check out our Fall Hostess Gift Ideas for tips and recommendations.