The end of October ushers in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Somewhere between cleaning up all the cobwebs from Halloween and decking the halls with boughs of holly, November finds its place in our homes and in our hearts. Celebrate A Cornucopia of a Month with the ideas below.
DREAMCATCHERS – Start catching dreams with this whimsical DIY: Center a doily on the inside of an embroidery hoop and then attach the doily to the hoop with yarn. Cut longer strips of ribbon to hang on the bottom of the Dreamcatcher. Use ribbon to attach a hanger to the top of the Dreamcatcher. Decorate feathers and beads, if desired, to add color and texture.
STUFF THE TURKEY – Bring reminiscing and laughter together with this fun game. First, create a turkey out of a brown paper grocery bag. Fold the top down towards the inside of the bag. Then, take the two front edges of the bag and fold them in like you are wrapping a present; staple in place. Stuff the bottom of two brown paper lunch sacks with newspaper and twist the tops of the bags until they are closed. Attach these to the side of the turkey, creating the drumsticks. Finally, wad up pieces of tissue paper. Instruct participants to throw the tissue paper aiming for the turkey. During the game, pause to reminisce about their first attempt to prepare a turkey for the holidays.
TURKEY SHOOT – No need for a hunter’s license for this fun activity for the men (and ladies, too.) Make turkeys out of brown paper lunch sacks. Set the turkeys on a table. Instruct participants to use nerf guns to shoot the turkeys off the table. Keep score for a fun game.
CHILI COOK-OFF – Invite members, staff, families, and friends to a chili cook-off contest that everyone will enjoy. Label each entry with a number so that participants can vote for their favorite chili. Categories could include spiciest, most original, and best overall. Serve cornbread and drinks. An alternative to this idea is to have your dining team go head-to-head against one another for a Top Chef Showdown.
FIRESIDE CHATS – Arrange weekly fireside chats, preferably near a fireplace (or television where you can play a fireplace DVD to set the atmosphere). Reminisce about service days in honor of Veterans Day, Thanksgiving as a child, Thanksgiving as an adult, family traditions, voting, and favorite presidents.
SCHOOL PLAYS – Reach out and invite your local school to share their talent with your group. Your group will enjoy seeing young performers, no matter the talent or age. Serve apple cider afterwards and invite the students to mingle with your group.
VETERAN LUNCHEON – Celebrate the veterans in your community by hosting a special luncheon. Work with your dining team to recreate a military menu that will bring back memories for the veterans. Hire an entertainer to perform patriotic music for the group. Invite staff to serve, support, and recognize the veterans.
CORNUCOPIA CONTRIBUTION – Hold a community canned food drive. Set up a table with a large cornucopia where everyone can leave their canned goods donation. Then, select a few people to accompany you to a local food pantry or shelter to donate the canned goods.
SHARPEN YOUR SENSES – Explore Thanksgiving through sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. Ask participants what Thanksgiving looks like, sounds like, feels like, tastes like, and smells like. List common foods we eat on Thanksgiving and encourage participants to describe the taste, smell, texture, sight, and sound of each food. Bring props, such as spices, fall flowers, and photos of Thanksgiving to enhance this activity.
HARVEST FLORAL ARRANGING – Create festive fall centerpieces to use throughout the month of November. Fill the bottom half of a mason jar with popcorn kernels. Then, arrange fall silk flowers in each jar. Add a finishing touch by wrapping each jar with twine and color coordinating ribbon, then tie in a bow.
DRUM CIRCLE – In honor of National Drum Month in November, lead your group in a drum circle. Give each participant a drum or instrument and instruct them to repeat a rhythm you create. Take turns, allowing each participant to play a rhythm and ask the group to repeat it. Then, play upbeat music and encourage participants to drum along.
SENSATIONAL SENSES – Fill a small container with popcorn kernels, deep enough to bury some of the items. Include measuring cups and spoons, pumpkin spice, artificial fall flowers, artificial fall leaves, pine cones, and small pumpkins. Encourage participants to dig through the sensory bin, finding objects buried in the popcorn kernels. Explore and reminisce about each item with participants. (Some participants may need to be observed carefully to ensure that the popcorn kernels are not eaten.)
GRATEFUL GARLAND – November is a time to stop and count our blessings. Set up a small vignette in a prominent spot in your community where members, staff, family and friends can pause to reflect and record their blessings. Hang a long piece of ribbon or twine across the wall to serve as garland. Then, on a small table, place pre-cut paper, pens, a bucket of clothespins, and instructions. Instruct participants to write their blessings on a piece of the paper and hang it on the garland using the clothespin.
LEFTOVERS SOCIAL – After gathering with family and friends for a delicious feast, the next best thing about Thanksgiving is leftovers. Host a Leftovers Social after Thanksgiving. Depending on your population, you can invite participants to bring their own leftover dishes to share with the community or work with your dining team to recreate a leftovers-themed event.
- What is the birthstone for November? Topaz
- What is the official flower for November? Chrysanthemum
- Which feast holiday is celebrated by Americans the fourth Thursday in November? Thanksgiving
- Veterans Day is on what date? November 11
- Which famous ship brought the Pilgrims to America? Mayflower
- True or false: November always has 30 days. True
- Which of Irving Berlin’s songs was first performed on the radio on November 11, 1938 by Kate Smith? “God Bless America”
- On November 6, 1860, who was the first Republican to be elected president of the United States? Abraham Lincoln
- Which famous romantic World War II drama, based on the play “Everybody Comes to Rick’s,” made its film debut on November 26, 1942? Casablanca
- Originally named “WSM Barn Dance” when it debuted on November 28, 1925, what name was this country radio music show given two years later that it is still in use today? “Grand Ole Opry”
A CORNUCOPIA THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~ John F. Kennedy
“A Cornucopia of a Month” was written by Erin McCart. Copyright 2017 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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