Thanksgiving is about way more than food, but having a good conversation around the table can feel a whole lot trickier than making the perfect apple pie or golden-brown turkey. Skip the awkward silences this year with a few Thanksgiving questions that will get a great conversation going.
There's no shame in the old standby of going around the table talking about what you're grateful for, but your Thanksgiving table talk doesn't have to follow that pattern. We've got all the conversation starters you need, plus what to avoid bringing up (hint: don't ask Aunt Jackie who she voted for).
Fun Thanksgiving Questions for All Ages
There's actually plenty to talk about with everyone, from toddlers to teens to grandparents. Get everyone involved in the conversation at the table with questions that work for all ages:
- Would you rather have Thanksgiving dinner back with the dinosaurs or on a spaceship in the future? What would we be eating?
- What is something that makes you smile every time you think about it?
- What modern food would you bring to the first Thanksgiving? How would people there react?
- What's your best advice to people who want to have a great Thanksgiving?
- Which TV or book character would you ask to join us for Thanksgiving?
- If you won $100 million right this second, what would you do first?
- What do you think is the best part about being a grown-up in this family?
- If we set up a Thanksgiving table for all our pets, what would they want to eat?
- What fun things are you planning to do in the next year?
- What would you invent to make Thanksgiving dinner easier to prepare?
Keep your conversations fun and light by avoiding politics, religion, and personal things that people might not want to discuss. Don't bring up major social changes going on or the big problems of the world when you're in a large group at the Thanksgiving table. After all, there's a good chance some of the people there don't share your views.
Funny Thanksgiving Ice Breakers to Get Everyone Laughing
Shared humor is a great way to bond at the dinner table. Try our funny ice breaker questions.
- Who is the most hilarious person here? What's a funny thing that happened this year with them?
- If we had to share our Thanksgiving dinner table with an animal, which one would you pick? How would dinner be different?
- What's the weirdest, most random new tradition you think our family should add to our Thanksgiving celebration?
- How would our Thanksgiving dinner be different if we had to eat with our hands tied behind our backs?
- Would you rather only be able to make turkey gobbling noises when you talked, or only be able to smell pumpkin spice for the rest of your life?
- If you could play a funny Thanksgiving prank and have no consequences, what would you do?
- What's the best dad joke you've ever heard?
- What's the most embarrassing thing that happened to you as a kid?
- Would you rather wear a turkey costume every day through the end of the year or eat nothing but cranberry sauce for a month?
- If you could have one tiny embarrassing secret no one at this table knows about, what would you pick?
Even if you know it will crack everyone up, avoid telling stories at the expense of someone else. You never know how that other person will feel when you share their embarrassing or silly moments. Leave that up to them.
Thought-Provoking Thanksgiving Questions to Discuss at the Table
If you're looking for deeper conversations, these questions can spark thought-provoking talks.
- What are you struggling with right now, and how can we help?
- Imagine we can invite anyone in the world to Thanksgiving dinner. Who do we pick?
- Is there someone who can't be with us today that you wish could share our meal?
- What new skill or hobby would you like to learn this year?
- What would make you choose to sail for months on a ship and settle in a new place you don't know anything about?
- If you could make one wish for the next year, what would it be?
- If you could do one thing to make the world a better place in the next year, what would you do?
- What do you think people can do to be kinder?
- What are you proud of this year?
- What challenges have you overcome in the past year?
Questions to Focus on Gratitude at the Thanksgiving Table
In the spirit of the holiday, take some time to reflect on all the things everyone has to be grateful for.
- What is your favorite thing about your life this year?
- If you could magically thank anyone anywhere (even people who have passed away), who would you thank for helping you in your life?
- What did someone at this table do for you in the last year that made your life better?
- What's the best thing about fall?
- What's the best thing about being the age you are right now?
- What is the best gift you've ever given or received?
- What makes you feel cozy and content this time of year?
- When do you feel the most grateful in your daily life?
- If you could write a thank-you note to someone at this table, who would it be?
- What kind of moments bring you the most joy?
Thanksgiving Conversation Starters About Family
Share family memories with these Thanksgiving questions.
- What is your best memory about a past Thanksgiving with family?
- What do you think makes our family special?
- What's the best activity we do as a family?
- What do you admire about the person on your left?
- How is this Thanksgiving the same or different from holidays our family celebrated in the past?
- What are we grateful for about our ancestors?
- Which of our Thanksgiving family traditions should we pass on?
- If you could do something to help someone at this table, what would you do?
- What has someone at this table taught you this year?
- What is your favorite way to spend a rainy afternoon with your family?
Thanksgiving Food Questions
Food is always a focus, so it's a great Thanksgiving topic.
- Which Thanksgiving food are you most like?
- What is your favorite Thanksgiving side dish and why?
- Imagine a little tweak you could try to make one of the traditional Thanksgiving foods in a new way. What would you try?
- If you had to eat one of these foods every single day for the next year, which one would you pick?
- How long do you think the turkey had to cook this year?
- If you could add one new thing to our Thanksgiving menu, what would you pick?
- Which of these foods would you want if you were having a bad day and really needed comfort?
- What's the weirdest Thanksgiving food you've heard of anyone eating?
- What would you put in a perfect Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich?
- If you had to put a Thanksgiving food on a pizza, which one would you choose?
Conversation Starters About the History of Thanksgiving
Quiz everyone's turkey day knowledge with history-based questions.
- Do we have any family members who were on the Mayflower? If we do, what do we know about them?
- If our Thanksgiving lasted three days like the first Thanksgiving did, what would we do with all that time together?
- At the first Thanksgiving, they ate a lot of seafood. Would we want to include that if we had room on the table?
- Green bean casserole first started being a thing in the 1950s. What do we think is the oldest recipe used to make the food we're eating now?
- How do you think Thanksgiving has changed over the years?
- Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving an official holiday. Do you think it made sense for him to do that?
- What do you think it was like to be a pilgrim coming to America?
- What do you think it was like to be an Indigenous American and have people coming to settle your homeland?
- What's the weirdest Thanksgiving history trivia fact you know?
- How has celebrating Thanksgiving changed in your lifetime?
Recipe for a Great Thanksgiving Conversation
Once you get a great chat started with Thanksgiving questions, be sure to follow up by listening to what other people say. That back-and-forth exchange of ideas and memories is the real recipe for a great Thanksgiving dinner conversation.