Now's the time to do these end-of-fall activities and start gearing up for the holiday season.

By Maggie Seaver
Updated October 22, 2019

November may be just past prime apple- and pumpkin-picking time, but there are still plenty of fun fall activities to do during the final month of autumn. And since it's getting dark much earlier (2019 daylight savings time ends on November 3, so don’t forget to set your clocks back!), there's even more reason to plan a festive day trip or squeeze a fall activity or two into your schedule before winter arrives and the holiday rush makes you too busy to do anything else. From getting a final glimpse at the late-changing foliage to gearing up for the holidays, here’s how to spend your free time with family and friends in November.

Things to Do at Home in November

Clean Out Your Closet

If your wardrobe is bursting with old, clunky coats and sweaters that take up way too much room, it’s time to set aside the pieces you no longer wear and donate them to someone who’ll give them a second life. While organizations appreciate clothing donations year-round, there’s never more of a need for warm layers (and socks!) than at the end of fall/start of winter.

Pickle Some Veggies (or Can Some Fruit)

Fall is a perfect time to pickle veggies that won't last through the winter. And since November 14 is officially National Pickle Day, there's no better time to try canning or pickling your favorite produce at home. First time canning? Here's everything you need to know about preserving and canning food.

Make Mulled Wine

Your favorite bottle of wine just got a cold-weather makeover thanks to this irresistible mulled wine recipe. It's begging to be sipped on during November nights with a nip in the air.

Start a Journal

Cooped up inside on a rainy November day? Spend 10 or 15 minutes writing down your thoughts, feelings, observations, or goals. What else do you have to do?

Things to Do for the Holidays in November

Decorate for Thanksgiving

Deck the halls—with gourds and foliage! Spruce up your home for Thanksgiving with festive, autumnal finds. Look for turkey-themed accents, plentiful cornucopias, dried floral garlands, and colorful fall wreaths.

Join a Turkey Trot

Is there a near-Thanksgiving race near you? Band together with some friends and join in on this favorite, seasonal run. Some trots are more casual (think: one mile you can definitely walk), but some are closer to half-marathons for more serious runners.

Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Whether or not you’re in New York City on Thanksgiving, it’s always a blast—if not a family tradition—to watch this iconic annual parade featuring fantastic floats, entertainment, and more. (Go here for more info on this year’s parade.)

Start Holiday Gift Shopping

We know it’s early, but November is a great time to start working your way through that hefty holiday gift list. You probably need something special for everyone, from immediate family members to friends and coworkers. The sooner you start, the smoother December will be.

Oh—and don’t forget to make a shopping list for Black Friday and Cyber Monday so you can jump on amazing deals ASAP.

Make New Year’s Eve Plans

If you’re planning to go away—or even just make a reservation at a popular spot—over New Year’s, start (at least) brainstorming where to go and what to do. Get on the ball and make a few reservations before things get booked and flight and hotel fares rise.

Watch Holiday Movies

It’s never too early to start watching your favorite Christmas and holiday movies. Stream them with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and more, or catch whatever’s on live TV. Invite over some friends, make hot chocolate or fall cocktails and spend a cozy night in with classic seasonal flicks.

Binge-Watch Thanksgiving-Themed Episodes

Nothing will get you more psyched for November’s big holiday than re-watching the best Thanksgiving episodes from your favorite TV shows. “A Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving,” anyone?

Take a Cold-Weather Hike

Bundle up and enjoy a scenic hike on a local trail. Breathe in the crisp, fall-almost-winter air and enjoy any last remnants of the changing leaves.

What to Do With Friends in November

Host a Pie Swap

“It’s November” is basically the same thing as saying “it’s time for pie” (or is that just us?). Whether you’re trying to use up all those apples you picked last month, perfect a particular pie recipe before the holidays, or simply looking for an excuse to eat something sweet with friends, a pie swap is a perfect November get together.

Plan a 'Friendsgiving'

Not everyone can make it home for Thanksgiving—or even if they can—gather your closet pals together or a pre-Thanksgiving feast with all the fixings. Ask everyone to make or bring their favorite Thanksgiving dish.

Have a Cozy Wine and Cheese Night

If the promise of red wine and baked brie doesn’t entice your friends to come over, we don’t know what to tell you. Instead of braving the bar in the cold, stay in to eat, drink, and hang out to your heart's content.


Why not spend a November weekend day volunteering at (or at least donate non-perishables to) a shelter, pantry, or soup kitchen. You can always help out solo, but it’s a great thing to do as a group—the more, the merrier.

Attend a Beer, Wine, or Cider Festival

Summer sipping isn't the only type of sipping. Do some research online to find a nearby festival showcasing craft brews, wine, or locally made cider.

Kid-Friendly Things to Do in November

Write Down What You’re Thankful For

Together as a family, write down a list of things you’re thankful for. Not only will this get you and your kids in the mood Thanksgiving, it’ll be a sweet reminder to practice gratitude.

Roast Marshmallows

Whether you’re warm and toasty by the fireplace inside or bundled up near a firepit in the backyard, your kids will love roasting their own marshmallows and making s’mores as a special November treat.

Play a Game of Touch Football

Take advantage of the weather before it really gets too cold to play outside with a game of touch football with family, friends, and neighbors. Head to a local park or pick up a game in someone's backyard for the afternoon, then head inside afterward for hot chocolate (and hot toddies for the grownups).

DIY Thanksgiving Decor

If the little ones want to lend a hand with fall decor (and you want to save some money on holiday accents), here are a few fun DIY mason jar crafts perfect to do with kids.

Go for a Bike Ride

Get out and enjoy the fresh air with your kids before the true chill of winter. Take a ride

Bake Cookies

Need we say more? Baking cookies is never a bad idea, especially with the holidays right around the corner. Hone your Christmas cookie game by testing out new recipes, cookie decorating with the kids, or just baking for the fun of it.