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I love a Group Activity!

With Thanksgiving just days away (eek!!) I thought it would be fun to share three of my favorite inexpensive, fun, and entertaining activities to do with your family. If you are like us and have giant families (legit GIANT, Ryan has 7 adult siblings alone), it can be hard to wrangle everyone out of the house for a group activity.  So these three activities are ones you can do at Grandma’s kitchen table, on the floor at Aunt June’s condo, or in your sister’s back porch while the kids play.

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The best activities are ones that let people come and go as they please.  There’s no “required” participation, which I find to be KEY in a large family setting. 

Anyone can come in and do a little of the activity, then get up and make a sandwich, rock a baby to sleep, or go on a walk without someone yelling, “Pay attention! It’s your turn to roll the dice!” But at the end of the day we all have something we’ve done together.


3 Fun Inexpensive Holiday Activities

Book Swap

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Okay, this is the most fun! My best friend Betsy hosted a book swap party on Sunday and it was a blast! On the drive home I started thinking about how much fun it would be to do with family.

Hers was fancy and well thought out, complete with adorable invites (here’s a link to the invite she used), homemade pumpkin pie, and champagne. But you could just as easily send a text to your family and say, “Everyone bring books you’ve read, not read, loved, and hated – be ready to part with them!” Then set up a little table where everyone can put their books.  From there you just swap!

It’s like the best library ever! Also, it’s great because you can get first hand reviews from someone who’s recently read a book. If you do one thing this year, do this


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Ryan grew up doing puzzles during the holidays and I love that he has brought that tradition to our family. The best thing about a puzzle is that you can do it while chatting or watching a movie, plus there are no set rules. Sometimes there will be one person at the puzzle table and sometimes there’s five people. 

My advice would be to get a 1,000 piece puzzle for a large group and a 500 piece for a smaller setting (1-4 people).  Set up a little card table with chairs so you aren’t constantly moving pieces during meal times and let it be a free for all! Amazon and Hobby Lobby have great ones, and my bff Carly just sent me an awesome one from Gray Malin that we are saving for our family trip to the cabin!

Craft Night

You already know I love a craft…Having a group craft is so much fun and, personally, I think cross-stitch is perfect for this, especially during the holidays because you can make ornaments! Again, this is something that everyone doesn’t have to do together at the same time, but it’s a fun activity that can be done together after the dishes are done or while you are waiting for the pies to set. 

Having a table set up with the supplies (thread, hoops, scissors, patterns, etc.) lets people grab what they want when they want! It’s so much fun and a great activity to do around the kitchen table while sipping hot cocoa.  Plus, there’s nothing better than being able to hang the finished product on the tree!

Did you notice the open participation theme with each of these activities? Don’t get me wrong, a competitive game of Scrabble or Settlers of Catan all have their place and time, but it’s nice to have a few group activities that are low stress and completely optional.

You can’t go wrong any which way, just as long as you’re having fun!


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  1. I had to laugh when I read about your puzzles, 500 to 1000 pieces. I just bought my great niece (just turned 1) a puzzle with 3 BIG pieces with handles on each piece. Well, I guess that’s a start! LOL!!! You gave me inspiration so I am going to make sure I buy her a puzzle every year (maybe next year will be 5 pieces 🙂 and start a tradition! Wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!!

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