What’s the only type of key that won’t unlock a door? A turkey! Now that everyone at your Thanksgiving table is laughing hysterically, here’s your chance to break the ice even more with Thanksgiving trivia questions, conversation starters, and more delicious puns (although it’s pretty hard to beat that first one).
We celebrate many Thanksgiving traditions without even thinking about them. Bring in some Thanksgiving trivia to your holiday that will make you sound super smart — and will open up even more interesting conversation.
- What did they serve at the first Thanksgiving instead of turkey? (Venison, goose, duck, eels, and shellfish)
- How did the turkey get its name? (European settlers named it after the similar-looking guinea fowl — or turkey hen — from the country of Turkey.)
- Who pardoned the first turkey? (Unofficially, Abraham Lincoln; Officially, George H. W. Bush)
- Which president first proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday? (George Washington)
- Which president first set Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday in November? (Franklin D. Roosevelt)
- How many turkeys do Americans eat every Thanksgiving? (46 million)
- Do male or female turkeys gobble? (Male)
- Which state raises the most turkeys for Thanksgiving? (Minnesota)
- How big was the world’s largest pumpkin pie? (3,699 pounds, 20 feet in diameter)
- What other noises do turkeys make besides gobbling? (Purring, cackling, yelping)
No matter who’s at your Thanksgiving family gathering — your parents, your nieces, your neighbors, that coworker who’s been hinting about wanting a home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner for weeks — the conversation should flow well. Use several conversation starters to keep that table from getting too quiet.
- Who is the funniest person at this table? What’s a funny story about them?
- If you could invite someone famous (living or dead) to Thanksgiving dinner, who would it be?
- If you could completely change up the traditional Thanksgiving dinner menu, what would you serve instead?
- If you could only have one thing on this Thanksgiving table today, which thing would it be? Can you guess what other people here would pick?
- Do you know the story of any of the foods at this table? Do you think your parents ate them when they were growing up?
- If you think about all the electronic devices you use in your life, which one are you most thankful for? Why?
- What are three things you couldn’t live without?
- If you had $100 to give someone who needed help, who would you help?
- What is something in the room with you that you are thankful for?
- Think about the ways we connect with each other. Which ways are you thankful for?
- What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?
- If you had to pick only one food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- What has made you happiest in your life so far?
- What is your favorite book? Why are you thankful for it?
Once everyone has shared what they’re most grateful for, it’s time for the juicy stuff — and we don’t mean the bird.
- What was your strangest or most dramatic Thanksgiving experience?
- Who would be the worst celebrity to invite to Thanksgiving dinner?
- Which Thanksgiving food would you ban forever if you could?
- If Thanksgiving had a magical entity (like Santa or the Easter Bunny), what would it be? What would be its backstory?
- What song would you change to a Thanksgiving song with a few word changes?
- What would your Thanksgiving-related nickname be?
- If you had to trade body parts with a turkey, which body part would you choose?
- If you could time travel to a Thanksgiving in any year, which would it be?
- What is a popular Thanksgiving tradition that you’re glad you don’t do?
- How would you explain Thanksgiving to an alien who just landed?
Kids and adults alike love “Would you rather” questions. Put them to the test with the most divisive issue of all — Thanksgiving food preferences.
Would you rather eat only pumpkin pie or only mashed potatoes for a whole year?
- Would you rather eat a burned turkey or a flavorless turkey?
- Would you rather put syrup on your turkey or gravy on your pancakes?
- Would you rather be at the first Thanksgiving in 1621, or at a future Thanksgiving in 2621?
- Would you rather watch your favorite team lose the Thanksgiving football game, or watch your least favorite team win?
- Would you rather give up your favorite Thanksgiving food, or have twice as much of your least favorite Thanksgiving food?
- Would you rather spend Black Friday shopping or skydiving?
- Would you rather fight one dinosaur-sized turkey or a thousand turkey-sized dinosaurs?
- Would you rather have a delicious Thanksgiving meal with total strangers or a bad-tasting Thanksgiving meal with your favorite people?
- Would you rather have zero Thanksgiving leftovers for the rest of your life, or only eat Thanksgiving leftovers for the rest of your life?
Need to lighten the mood after a tense political comment from a distant relative? These Thanksgiving jokes will do the trick, no matter where you fall on the political spectrum.
- What instrument does a turkey play in a band? (The drums — he brings his own drumsticks)
- What do you call a turkey’s spirit? (A poultry-geist)
- Why do the police always suspect the turkeys first? (They have to rule out fowl play)
- What did the elephant say when he stepped on the Thanksgiving yams? (“Squash”)
- Why did the turkey bride leave her turkey groom at the altar? (He was underdressed)
- Why was the turkey dinner late on Thanksgiving? (The cook ran out of thyme)
- Which side of a turkey has the most feathers? (The outside)
- What is a math teacher’s favorite Thanksgiving food? (Pumpkin pi)
- What is the most valuable Thanksgiving dish? (The vegetable casserole — it has 24 carrots)
- No matter what happens with dinner, how does Thanksgiving always end? (With the letter “G”)
Holidays are a great time to play games, but on Thanksgiving, the table is a little too full to set up a board game. Try out some board-free games that will still feel competitive and fun. Winner gets an extra piece of pie!
- Telephone - Tell the person on your left something, then see how the message changes as they tell the next person, and so on.
- Two Truths and a Lie - Everyone thinks up two things about themselves that are true, and one thing that isn’t true (but seems like it could be true).
- Twenty Questions - Think of a random person, place, or thing, and allow others at the table to ask twenty questions about it.
- I Spy - Pick something that you see in the room and say “I spy, with my little eye, something (clue about that thing).”
- Ten Fingers - Have everyone hold up ten fingers. Name something that you’ve done (keep it clean if there are kids at the table) and have everyone who’s also done it put down a finger.
- One Word Story - Start a story with one word (“Once”). The person on your left adds another word (“Upon”), and the next person adds another word (“a”). Keep going until the story ends or you’re laughing too hard to keep going.
A successful Thanksgiving celebration is about more than the perfect turkey or having enough seats for everyone (although that last thing is pretty important). The best addition to a Thanksgiving holiday is good company and good conversation — and if you get a Thanksgiving icebreaker or trivia question in there, even better. From Thanksgiving word games to Thanksgiving sayings, there are many ways to get those great conversations started.