Sure, your turkey may be tender, the gravy without lumps, and the pies perfectly baked, but have you planned any Thanksgiving family games to bring all the different age groups together? Food is only part of the holiday experience. True success lies in getting great-grandparents to chat with teenagers and millennials to converse nicely with baby boomers.

This year, try a few of our Thanksgiving family game ideas to bring all the generations together for fun and meaningful conversations.

Every generation brings its unique perspective and communication style to a family gathering. Let’s look at the communication styles and topics preferred by the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, Generation Z, and the Alpha Generation, and how to unite all of your family members and friends under one roof.

Understanding the Generations

To help you get started, we’re providing some insights about each generation and offering fun ways to bridge the generation gap during your holiday gatherings. After the generational snapshot, you’ll find a list of Thanksgiving family games that will appeal to all ages!

The Greatest Generation (Born 1901-1927)

Members of the Greatest Generation lived through the Depression and fought in World War II. They likely remember life before electricity, phones, and indoor toilets. They experienced hardships and made many sacrifices, which often made them value patriotism, hard work, and resilience. The Greatest Generation values face-to-face conversations and handwritten letters. They appreciate formality and good manners. You can learn more about the Greatest Generation in this article.

Topics to get the Greatest Generation talking: Food and household good prices now compared to their childhoods, stories about their parents and siblings, historical events they witnessed, life lessons, travel adventures, and all the changes and inventions they’ve seen.

The Silent Generation (Born 1928-1945)

This generation was born during the Great Depression and World War I, making them cautious and thrifty. They were young adults during the Korean War, McCarthyism and the Red Scare, and the Civil Rights Movement. These experiences led them to to be resourceful, respectful of authority, and loyal to their careers and religious beliefs. They, too,  appreciate good manners. You can learn more about them in this article.

Topics to engage the Silent Generation in conversations: Family history, traditions, and what life was like when they were children and teenagers. Many people in this generation truly enjoy sharing stories about their past and will welcome an audience.

Baby Boomers (Born 1946-1964)

Baby Boomers, who got their name because of the “baby boom” that occurred after World War II, were children during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. They grew up during the height of the Civil Rights Movement and witnessed the great space race with Sputnik and the moon landing. Baby Boomers were also the earliest tech innovators for computers. These events shaped their values of social justice and individualism. They value personal interactions and phone conversations. Their communication often reflects the directness and idealism of their generation. Learn more about Baby Boomers in this article.

Topics for Baby Boomers: Hobbies, travel, and family updates. Nostalgia is also a great conversation starter.

Gen X (Born 1965-1980)

This generation experienced the rise of technology, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the invention of the personal computer. These events influenced their independence and adaptability. Gen Xers are comfortable with a mix of in-person and digital communication. They tend to be straightforward and pragmatic in their conversations. Here are more Gen X characteristics in this article.

Want to get Gen X talking? Ask them to share career insights, pop culture references from their youth, and opinions about current events. They like talking about their children, too.

Millennials (Born 1981-1996)

Millennials grew up with the internet, the 9/11 attacks, and the rise of social media. These cultural events created a sense of connectivity and a focus on authenticity. This generation is tech-savvy and prefers digital communication methods like texting and social media. Put them in charge of connecting with long-distance relatives for video chats! See more Millennial attributes here.

Topics for Millennials: Discuss technology, social issues, and hobbies. Share your interests and ask about their latest life updates.

Generation Z (Born 1997-2012)

This is the first generation to come of age in a fully digital world. Life for them is characterized by smartphones, climate change awareness, and increasing diversity. These factors shape their social and global views. Gen Zers are extremely proficient in digital communication and prefer texting, video calls, or social channels. However, they tend to embrace diverse perspectives and opinions. They are also incredible multitaskers. More stats about Gen Z are here.

Topics for Gen Z: Talk about their interests, such as the latest trends, technology, and cultural events and news. They may also appreciate advice on future career choices.

Alpha Generation (Born 2013 and beyond)

Being the youngest generation, Alphas are growing up in an ever-evolving technology-filled world of artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality, and big global challenges. They may use simple digital devices and apps for learning, education, and communication. Learn more about the youngest generation in this article.

Topics for Alphas: Engage them in age-appropriate activities, share short stories about their parents, and ask them about their favorite shows, games, activities, or books.

Thanksgiving Family Games to Get the Generations Together

Now, let’s explore fun Thanksgiving family games and ideas to get the different generations talking to each other during your holiday gatherings:

  • Family Storytelling Session: Encourage each generation to share stories about their lives and experiences. Ask them to recount their favorite Thanksgiving memories or childhood tales.
  • Recipe Swap: Invite family members to exchange their favorite recipes, especially traditional Thanksgiving dishes. This can spark conversations about cooking and family traditions.
  • Family Bingo: Whether you use regular cards or customize them for your family, bingo can be played and enjoyed by every generation. Check out our family bingo cards customized with names and events from our family to help encourage the winners to share stories and memories.
  • Technology Q&A: Have the younger generations help the older ones with their tech questions or teach them how to use a new app. It’s a great way to bridge the generation gap.
  • Table Topics: Place conversation starter cards at the dinner table with questions that appeal to different age groups. Questions could be about hobbies, travel, or personal achievements.
  • Family Time Capsule: Get everyone together to contribute to a family time capsule. We sell a physical kit or you can download a collection of worksheets to create your own family time capsule. Read all about it in this Family Time Capsule blog post.
  • Family History Display: Create a family history exhibit with photos, heirlooms, and memorabilia. Encourage each generation to explain the significance of these items to the younger ones.
  • Gratitude Circle: Go around the table and have each person express what they’re thankful for. This can be a heartwarming tradition that encourages open communication.

Remember, the key to successful intergenerational communication is creating an environment where everyone feels heard, respected, and valued. By considering each generation’s communication style and preferences, you can make your Thanksgiving gathering more enjoyable for all family members.

As you prepare to welcome your family to this year’s Thanksgiving gathering, we hope the insights and ideas shared in this blog will help you create a truly memorable and heartwarming experience.

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