Thanksgiving marks the official start of the holiday season, which means families and friends will start gathering to celebrate. In the same way, your homeowners association can organize events that will help bring people together. But, what events can you hold to properly celebrate Thanksgiving in an HOA?
For many households, Thanksgiving means having guests over for dinner and drinks or traveling across the country to meet with their relatives. For homeowners associations, though, it’s the perfect time to instill camaraderie and build a sense of community among residents. There’s just something about the holiday season that makes people feel all fuzzy and warm inside, even if it’s extremely cold outside.
Below, you’ll find some of the best ideas to celebrate Thanksgiving in HOA communities:
If the cold weather hasn’t completely enveloped your region yet, a good way to celebrate Thanksgiving in the community is to organize a day full of outdoor activities. This is perfect for all ages, though kids will definitely love it the most. Plus, with winter about to go full swing, this may be their last chance to lock in some outdoor time.
The great thing about an outdoor fun day is that you can basically include any activity you want. The sky’s the limit, and you can get as creative as possible. You can hold three-legged races, egg spoon races, scarecrow building competitions, and even baking contests. Encourage kids to tap into their creative side by setting up an arts and crafts section.
If your budget permits, you can even hold a much bigger event with exciting prizes. An outdoor carnival with balloon houses, activity booths, and food stalls would be a grand way to welcome the holiday season. Perhaps you can throw in a pumpkin-carving contest or anything related to the autumn season.
Of course, there’s nothing in the rule book that says you can’t have fun on a budget. Simple outdoor games would put a smile on any kid’s face. You can also gather up fallen leaves to form a giant pile in an open space. Then, kids can jump in the leaf pile all they want!
Charitable activities skyrocket during the holiday season, and your HOA can take Thanksgiving as a time to follow suit. In the spirit of gratitude, you can give back to those who need it by organizing a charity drive. This can be in the form of a food drive or even a blood drive.
You can announce the event through various communication channels ahead of time. For food drives, make sure to create a schedule so residents know when you’ll be collecting donations. It’s best to ask residents to donate non-perishables like dry pantry goods or canned goods.
Residents may also want to donate old clothes, especially coats and jackets, in time for the cold season. Toys are also welcome and work splendidly when you partner with children’s charities or hospitals. Something as straightforward as monetary donations can also go a long way.
Whatever you end up donating, a charity drive is definitely a great way to unite the community to accomplish a good deed.
Another way your HOA and its members can give thanks through meaningful means is to organize a Volunteer Day.
While donations are certainly a big help, showing up and doing actual work is a more personal way to give back.
Your HOA can partner with a local soup kitchen where residents can help feed the hungry. Of course, this will require you to contact local soup kitchens and communicate the event to residents. Make sure to announce the volunteer opportunity early so people can clear their schedules. You will also need a sign-up sheet so that you’re not scrambling for volunteers when the day arrives.
You can even organize multiple charitable events this Thanksgiving and set up Volunteer Day on top of the charity drives. This way, residents can choose whether they want to volunteer or donate. Residents who are feeling extra charitable can do both!
If you want a simple gathering, nothing says ‘Thanksgiving” like a potluck party. A potluck party gives neighbors a chance to get to know each other by sharing a meal under one roof. If you have an HOA social events committee, this is typically where they come in.
To organize a Thanksgiving potluck party, you will need a venue. Many HOAs have a community clubhouse readily available for this very occasion, but other common areas work just as well. You will also need to send out invites and ask residents to volunteer to bring dishes to the big shindig. Don’t forget to decorate the space to suit the celebration!
You can also take things a step further by arranging a gift exchange during the party. A White Elephant setup works best here since you won’t have to draw names. You can also play games and sing karaoke during the party. Even just letting guests mingle can make for a truly fun time.
Giving thanks doesn’t just have to be about charity. You can also take this time to show your appreciation to the outstanding volunteers of the community.
If a particular board member has gone above and beyond this year, this is your chance to give them some applause. Hardworking committees and members should also be recognized for their contributions. You can also turn the spotlight towards residents who consistently abide by the HOA’s rules.
You can give out tokens of appreciation at the potluck party or during the Outdoor Fun Day (above). Alternatively, you can also just send out a letter or announcement through email, your newsletter, or your HOA website. Doing these will not only make their efforts worthwhile but also encourage others to follow in their footsteps.
Many homeowners associations have a hard time fostering a sense of community among residents. Fortunately, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to hold events where people can come together and celebrate. When organizing Thanksgiving in HOA communities, just remember to schedule them ahead of Turkey Day itself as people usually have their own plans the day of.
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