20 Thanksgiving Contest Ideas and Examples

Discover 20 last-minute Thanksgiving marketing ideas for your business, including giveaways, contests, and promotions to engage your audience.

By Dana Kilroy ・5 min read
Campaign & Contest Ideas

As November gets underway, you may be wracking your brain to come up with last-minute Thanksgiving marketing ideas for your business.Well, look no further, because we've put together a list of 20 Thanksgiving promotion ideas you can have up and running by the end of the day! We even have an example of each campaign so you can begin visualizing your Thanksgiving, strategy. (And if you're ready for ideas for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we can help with that, too.)All of these campaigns can be created using ShortStack, so if you're ready to start building, create your free account first.Ready to see some creative Thanksgiving marketing ideas?

#1. Win a Home-Delivered Thanksgiving Dinner

Cooking for the holidays can be stressful. In fact, just leaving your house on Thanksgiving Day can be a lot to handle. We love this idea of offering a home-cooked meal delivered straight to the lucky winner's home and we're betting there are lots of people who'd appreciate having someone else do the cooking for them. All we can say is: Yum! ShortStack Template Suggestion: Giveaway Template

Choctaw Dinner Delivered Giveaway

#2. User-Generated Content Recipe Contest

Thanksgiving and Christmas are the perfect time of year to run a UGC recipe contest that will make your fans’ mouths water! Ask people to share their favorite recipe with you so they can vote in your contest and have a chance to win your prize. Then have them share their recipe with friends so they can get even more votes. They get votes, your contest gets more eyes on it — it’s a win-win!ShortStack Template Suggestion: Recipe Contest

Thanksgiving Recipe Contest

#3 Win Thanksgiving Dinner for the Whole Family

The more the merrier, and the more challenging to provide food for. How about giving away a turkey dinner for 12 people? This is a prize anyone would love to win!ShortStack Template Suggestion: Refer-a-Friend Giveaway

Dinner for the Whole Family

#4. Thanksgiving Cooking Demonstration

If you have a customer base that includes cooks -- if you're a restaurant, a retailer selling cookware, or even a chef -- a cooking demo is a fun event to host. You'll help your customers learn some cooking techniques, and you'll be able to collect email addresses at the same time. ShortStack Template Suggestion: Earn Extra Points Giveaway

Grilling Demonstration Campaign

#5: Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway

A contest is the easiest way to collect email addresses and other useful data from people who are interested in your brand. (Just make sure you’re asking only for information you really need, and will use, because the more info you ask for, the more likely people are to abandon your form before you get any information from them.) Use our Marketing Automation features — like autoresponders to send confirmation emails instantly — and to schedule emails throughout the year. ShortStack Template Suggestion: Giveaway Template

Thansgiving Basket Giveaway

#6: Grocery Store Gift Card

A great way to say "Thanks" to your customers is to offer a grocery store gift card. You don't have to be a retailer to host this type of giveaway, any business can offer up this versatile prize this holiday season. ShortStack Template Suggestion: Giveaway Template

Grocery Store Gift Card Giveaway

#7. Thanksgiving Fitness Challenge

With delicious food and treats around every corner, many people ramp up their fitness goals during the holidays. Support your active fan-base with a Thanksgiving fitness challenge. ShortStack Template Suggestion: Giveaway Template

5K Fitness Challenge Giveaway

#8: Nominate/Donate to a Charity

Plan on giving to a charity this holiday season? Involve your fans and ask them to nominate charities they'd like to see receive donations. ShortStack Template Suggestion: Giveaway Template

Nominate a Charity Giveaway

#9: Guess the Number of Turkeys

Do you have a Thanksgiving-specific product? Host a fun little guessing game for your fans and offer up a nice prize for some added holiday engagement. ShortStack Template Suggestion: Guess the Score Giveaway

Guess How Many Turkeys Sold Giveaway

#10: Thanksgiving Photo Upload Giveaway

More than 300 million photos are uploaded to social media every day. Photo sweepstakes are an easy way to grow your email list and engage with your audience. ShortStack Template Suggestion: Photo Upload Giveaway

Photo Upload Giveaway

#11: Say Thank You to Your Fans

Give your fans all the feels with a Campaign that thanks them for their loyal following and being a part of your social presence all year long. ShortStack Template Suggestion: Giveaway Template

Thank You Giveaway

#12. Order a Pre-Cooked Thanksgiving Meal

Use a Campaign to allow your fans to pre-order a Thanksgiving meal (or another Thanksgiving product) and keep your entries organized in an easy-to-access database. ShortStack Template Suggestion: Landing Page

Pre-Order Thanksgiving Dinner

#13: Seasonal Giveaway/Contest

If you're thinking beyond Thanksgiving, good for you. Hosting campaigns year round is the best way to keep your brand top of mind. You can make every month by hosting a giveaway of one of your signature products. ShortStack Template Suggestion: Story Contest

What are You Thankful For Story Contest

#14: Share What You're Thankful For

Ask your fans to share one or two things they're thankful for this Thanksgiving season. Use the stories you collect to learn more about your audience for future targeted marketing. ShortStack Template Suggestion: Giveaway Template

Share What You're Thankful For

#15: Thanksgiving Lunch or Dinner Menu

Are you in the food industry? Show off your Thanksgiving lunch and dinner menus on a Campaign that can be linked to from all of your online channels. This is another idea that could easily be updated every month to keep your customers visiting your website or Facebook page often. ShortStack Template Suggestion: Landing Page

thanksgiving menu

#16. Thanksgiving Trivia

Trivia quizzes are a fun way to get your fans talking. Throw in some prizes and you have an exciting promotion that your entire audience can enjoy. ShortStack Template Suggestion: Knowledge Quiz

Thanksgiving Trivia Quiz

#17: Thanksgiving Freebie

Do you have a great resource or holiday material to offer? Use a Campaign as a landing page for a direct download. ShortStack Template Suggestion: Downloadable Content

Thanksgiving Download

#18: Pick Your Thanksgiving Prize

A new trend we're seeing in promotions is letting fans pick their prize. This strategy creates more excitement for your audience since they can choose a prize that best fits them. ShortStack Template Suggestion: Pick Your Prize

Pick Your Prize Giveaway

#19: Advent Calendar

This multi-day giveaway is the most popular holiday promotion we see. Engage with your fans for multiple days with a giveaway or daily reveal. ShortStack Template Suggestion: Giveaway Calendar

advent calendar

#20: Make Dinner Reservations

Take reservations straight from your Campaign and get those fans in your front door. ShortStack Template Suggestion: Reservation Form

dinner reservations

Try a ShortStack template to create your first contest fast and easily.

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About the author

By Dana Kilroy ・5 min read

Dana Sullivan Kilroy is a communications professional with more than 20 years of experience delivering compelling content. Her work has appeared in national, award-winning publications and sites, including: The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Fast Company, Inc.

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