10 Thanksgiving Activities to Boost Team Morale

Try these activities to express your gratitude and boost your team’s morale.

6 min read
Thanksgiving turkey set beside a computer

Thanksgiving is a time to count your blessings—your employees among them. It’s the perfect opportunity to let your team members know how much you value their hard work on the company’s behalf. 

If you want to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to coworkers and employees, the best way to do it is by honoring and valuing them. It’s important that your message is honest and heartfelt. Avoid generic platitudes. Focus on an employee’s specific positive attributes. A small gift is always nice when appropriate. Here are some activities to boost morale this Thanksgiving.

Why a little recognition can provide a big morale boost

Expressing gratitude at work is more powerful than you may think. In one study, people who wrote letters of thanks to others greatly underestimated how moved the recipients were by this simple yet meaningful gesture. 

Gratitude can have a transformational effect on your company, too. A study from the Wharton School found that when a group of university fundraisers received thanks and praise for their work, they made 50% more calls to raise money than coworkers who didn’t get the same feedback. Imagine the impact when incorporating these small gestures into your sales strategy.

When you’re consistently expressing gratitude to employees, it has a top-down effect that an article in The Academy of Management Review calls “collective gratitude.” Taking your cue, your team members are inspired to show their gratitude to colleagues. The positive interpersonal exchanges build trust among coworkers, and gratitude becomes ingrained in the company culture. Naturally, this makes a company a more attractive place to work, which helps with employee retention. 

Activities to boost morale during the holidays

1. Write a thank-you card

Go beyond a general, “You’re great.” Did this particular employee help colleagues in another department on a major project or come up with an idea to save costs at the company? It will be a nice surprise when they receive the note or card from you in their mail. 

2. Promote face-to-face expressions of gratitude

Carve time out of your schedule to have individual video calls or quick in-office interactions with the members of your department, and encourage your company’s leadership to do the same with their teams. This one-on-one time can be a crucial opportunity to connect with your employees, even if it’s just five or so minutes.

3. Make a video

One of the ways to show gratitude at work for your entire team is by filming a brief video message from the senior leaders. Send it to everyone via internal communications channels, or even post it on the company’s social media so that the public can see how great your employees are.  

4. Make a charitable donation on behalf of your employees 

Earmark the money for a nonprofit your company partners with. Alternatively, make a list of local charities and ask each employee to choose one for their donation, so there’s a personalized aspect to giving.

5. Give a gift

If you have a small number of employees, try customizing the gift to each recipient, based on their hobbies or interests, and have it delivered to their home. For larger companies, a great option is to send a gift of food, such as bagels or cookies, using DoorDash for order and delivery. 

If you’re unsure of dietary needs and preferences, email your team members a DoorDash for Business Employee Gift Card they can use to order their favorite foods. Another alternative: buy a group gift. Perhaps you want to get everyone a personal tablet they can use while working from home or an allowance they can use to spiff up their home office. For companies back onsite, think about a makeover for the break room, complete with a new coffee maker or healthy vending machine. 

One gift that works well, no matter where your team is based right now: a DashPass for Employees membership, which includes $0 delivery and reduced service fees on eligible DoorDash orders. 

6. Feed your team

If you’re wondering how to show gratitude to your employees, a food perk is always welcome. Offer them Expensed Meal Credits—everyone has a set dollar amount they can spend, and meals can be ordered anywhere, anytime. It’s a flexible option that works well for employees, whether they’re based at home or in the office. When you are in the office, try Group Orders. Here, you send out an order link to your employees, and they can add their requests. All meals are delivered at once to a single location, allowing everyone to eat together. 

7. Offer time off

Give them a break from their home office for the day. Since everyone typically has Thanksgiving as a paid holiday, allow your employees to take this bonus day off any time during the year as a floating holiday.

8. Recognize their accomplishments outside of work

Show employees you value them not just for what they do at work, but for who they are. Send a note and a thoughtful gift when employees accomplish milestones such as becoming parents, earning an advanced degree, or winning an award for community service. If you give an Employee Gift Card, you can include a personalized message of congratulations.

9. Set aside time for a “moment of gratitude” at each team meeting

It’s an opportune time to thank team members in front of the entire group, whether everyone’s in the conference room or calling in from home. Use the first five minutes of each meeting for a shout out to employees who’ve earned special merit.

10. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude

Make gratitude a key component of your company culture. Encourage employees to thank their coworkers via Slack whenever they’ve gone above and beyond to help. You can’t do it all alone. Ask employees to email you notes of thanks for their colleagues, and these can be published in the company newsletter or read aloud at the beginning of team meetings. Make a holistic investment in them: sponsor educational webinars, give them a gift card they can use to decorate their home office, establish an employee appreciation program if you don’t already have one, and consider an employee wellness program to support their health and wellbeing.

Show your team some Thanksgiving gratitude by giving them DoorDash for Business meal solutions that can be used at home or the office. 


Kristen Van Nest

Kristen Van Nest

Freelance B2B Writer