Most people may not think of helium-filled balloons as a traditional Thanksgiving décor item, but they provide a much-loved tradition in our home. Every year we select a balloon for each person joining our table for the feast. Often we select balloons in the traditional colors of harvest, while other years we may go all out and get those emblazoned with holiday-appropriate sayings or images.
We fill the balloons at home with one of those small party helium tanks. Before we turn on the gas, though, we prepare some small strips of paper and insert them into the balloon. Each strip contains two directives. The first is a chore, such as clear the table, serve the pie, wash dishes, etc. The second directive is something fun, such as tell one thing you are thankful for, sing a silly song, compliment the person across from you, and other simple things.
We tie a balloon to the back of each chair. We are careful to place balloons so the chore can be carried out by the person receiving it – you don't want a complicated chore in a three-year old's balloon! After the feast, we each pop our balloon then perform the fun directive. After the balloon game is complete, we each do our chores and make short work of Thanksgiving cleanup so we can return to the entertainment of being together as a family.