Thanksgiving is here, which means celebrations are afoot. Homeowners associations should take this time to organize Thanksgiving activities for homeowners to promote a sense of community. When residents feel like they belong, they are more likely to be happy.
Thanksgiving Activities for Homeowners to Strengthen Community Bond
Community camaraderie is important to an HOA for many reasons, chief among them being resident retention. It’s already known that we make decisions based on our emotions. And a great way to cultivate residents’ emotional attachment to the HOA community is to tap into the social aspect of their personalities.
Thanksgiving is the perfect time you can organize social events that not only promote neighbor interactions but also allow homeowners to feel accepted in the community they live in. Here are the best ideas for Thanksgiving activities for homeowners that will help instill a sense of togetherness in your community:
1. Arrange a Potluck Party
A good way to get everyone in your community involved is to arrange a potluck party. Have residents bring their favorite Thanksgiving dishes or assign each household a specific dish to avoid having too much of the same one. Then, everyone can taste each other’s dishes and even exchange recipes along the way. Neighbors can get to know each other over a meal and, hopefully, new friendships will form.
2. Host a Progressive Dinner Party
If you don’t have a venue for your potluck, a progressive dinner party works just as well. This takes the party to each participating homeowner’s house.
How does a progressive dinner party work? First, each participating resident volunteers or is assigned a specific menu item — appetizer, side dish, dessert, etc. Then, everyone moves along from house to house over the course of the meal. You can have interested residents sign up to join, and everyone can pick out a time slot and menu item they’re comfortable with.
A progressive dinner party is great for building a sense of community because it brings neighbors into each other’s homes. It doesn’t get more personal than welcoming guests into your house so they can eat your home-cooked dish.
3. Hold Charitable Events
Thanksgiving is a time to be appreciative of what you have, and that usually comes with giving back to the less fortunate. Asking homeowners to donate food, clothes, and toys is one way to make charitable contributions this time of the year.
But, if you really want to bring people together, volunteering encourages more interaction. You can partner with a local soup kitchen or children’s hospital and ask residents to donate their time.
4. Organize a Gift Exchange
Who says Christmas is the only time you can exchange gifts? In line with the spirit of giving, you can organize a gift exchange that all interested residents can participate in.
A White Elephant approach works best here since it won’t require you to draw names as a normal Secret Santa setup would. Remember to set a dollar limit on the gifts residents can bring. Once the gift exchange begins, hilarity will ensue!
5. Set Up Outdoor Games
One fun way to bring people together, kids included, is to organize outdoor activities. If the weather is still mild where you live, games like three-legged races, scavenger hunts, and potato sack races can be great sources of enjoyment. This is perfect for communities that consist of families with children. Outdoor games don’t tend to cost much, and they’re fairly easy to arrange.
6. Hold a Home Decorations Contest
If your homeowners association allows decorations, a contest would really get everyone’s creative juices flowing. You can go with a classic Thanksgiving theme or jazz things up a bit with quirkier concepts such as “Pastel Pumpkin” or “Funny Fall.”
After decorating, you can hold a neighborhood walkthrough where residents go around the community to see what everyone came up with. The decorations will undoubtedly spark some conversations between neighbors and foster a sense of togetherness within the community.
7. Host a Thanksgiving Trivia Night
Hosting a trivia night is an easy and low-budget way you can get everyone in your community to participate in a fun activity. You can ask Thanksgiving-related questions or go crazy with the theme. Awarding a prize to the winning team or individual will encourage more people to join.
While you can hold a trivia night at your community clubhouse, you can also do it virtually. A remote trivia night allows residents to join even if they’re currently on holiday somewhere else. It also works perfectly for communities in an area where COVID-19 restrictions are still in play. Just make sure to adopt some rules so that no one uses the Internet to cheat!
8. Organize a Movie Marathon Drive-In
Thanksgiving is usually a time when families get together and enjoy each other’s company. And you can still encourage that, along with community camaraderie, by organizing a movie marathon.
There are so many good holiday movies that it’d be hard to narrow down your list to just a few. Family-friendly films are typically preferred, though you can schedule other films, too.
You can do this in an open area like a private park or at your community clubhouse. If you have a big enough outdoor space, you can even do it drive-in style. This is ideal for communities where social distancing guidelines still apply.
9. Go All Out with a Fall Festival
If you have a large enough budget, consider throwing a full-blown fall festival. A fall festival combines a lot of the things on this list — food, games, and a ton of mingling. You can set up a bouncy house, activity booths, and a corner for arts and crafts. You can partner with local vendors and restaurants to arrange food stalls, too. If possible, you can even bring in small rides for kids.
Since you can do plenty of things at a fall festival, it’s best to hold it over the course of 2 to 3 days. This way, residents who can’t make it on the first day can still experience it on the second. If you’re concerned about expenses, you can charge a small entrance fee to attendees. You can even negotiate with local food vendors and ask them to set up a stall for free.
The Key to a Harmonious HOA Community
People thrive on socialization and use it as a good indicator of a community’s level of harmony. Thus, it is imperative to invest time and energy towards social events such as Thanksgiving activities for homeowners. When organizing these events, though, make sure to plan early on and schedule them either before or after Thanksgiving Day. In doing so, you can maximize homeowner attendance.
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