Make Turkey Gift Bags for Thanksgiving Leftovers


Looking for a creative way to acknowledge friends, neighbors, or teachers for Thanksgiving? Well, here’s a fun project you can do with your kids the weekend before the big day.

It’s shaped like a turkey and inside it holds some of the makings for a turkey casserole to use up all that leftover turkey! The recipe dangles from his neck along with a sweet Thanksgiving greeting.
My son and I deliver then the evening before the big day and wish everyone a happy holiday!


Materials List:

  • Brown paper lunch bag
  • Colored construction paper
  • Pencil and ruler
  • Stapler
  • Glue or double stick tape
  • Scissors
  • Yarn or string
  • 1 can condensed
    cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 – 6 oz. pkg. seasoned long grain and wild rice



1. Begin by placing the can of soup and package of rice inside the lunch bag so the “turkey” will sit up nicely. Close and fold the top of the bag down about three times and staple closed.


2. Cut 8 or 9 feathers out of a variety of colors of construction paper. My feathers measured the width of the paper (around 9”) by about 2 ½” wide. I kept them wide at the bottom and brought them to a point at the top.


3. Out of brown construction paper (to match the lunch bag) cut a half circle that you can attach the feathers to. My half circle measured the width of the lunch bag, (5”) and 2 ½” high. Basically a 5” diameter circle cut in half. Arrange the feathers in a semi-circle and glue them to the brown half circle.


4. Next, glue the feathers onto the back of the bag with the flat edge of the semi-circle at the bottom edge of the bag.


You may want to lay the bag down on the feathers and press against the can and rice to put a little pressure on the bond between the bag and the feathers. Let this dry.


5. While this is drying, move onto the legs. Cut two long rectangular pieces of orange construction paper measuring 1 ¼” wide by 12” long.


6. Zig-zag fold the piece about every inch.


Then make two feet out of two 2” square pieces of orange construction paper. Simply round off the corners at the heel and zig zag cut the toes! Attach the feet to the legs and the legs to the bottom of the bag with glue.

You may want to consider using double stick tape instead of glue in this project just to speed the process and cut out some of the mess!


7. On to the head! Grab all you scrap pieces of colored paper and have a ball. Cut a piece of brown to 2 ½” wide by 5” tall to cut out the head and neck shape. I shaped mine like a fat turkey leg!! Then I cut out a yellow triangle for the beak and a red “gobbler”. I did go a little crazy and cut out a pilgrim hat for him. The black was a 2 ½” wide by 2” tall square that I cut the brim and angled top from. A little strip of brown and yellow for a buckle, and I had a pretty dapper looking turkey! Glue or tape it all together and add it to your turkey.


8. The last step is to add the recipe. I typed a quick holiday greeting along with the recipe on my computer and printed it on a piece of construction paper. Then just punch a hole in the corner and hang it from your turkey’s neck with twine or ribbon.

The Recipe:

Tom Turkey and Rice Casserole

  • 2 cups of turkey leftovers 2 ¼ cups boiling water
  • 1/3 cup milk ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1- 6 oz. package seasoned long grain and wild rice

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients, including seasoning packet from rice, in ungreased 2 quart casserole. Cover and bake 45 – 50 minutes or until rice is tender. Uncover and bake 10 – 15 minutes longer or until liquid is absorbed.

If you would rather not deal with the food and the recipe, you can weigh the lunch bag down with pebbles, a little baggie of sand, or even beans. The turkey then becomes an adorable accessory for your mantle, kitchen counter, or let him take center stage on a bookshelf!

The History:
Many years ago my nephew, Marty, gave me a similar turkey on Thanksgiving Day. I have kept it for at least 15 years. Sadly, this year I went to look for it and it is missing. I can’t imagine what happened to it and for some reason the details of its design escape me. So, this is my attempt to bring my Tom Turkey back. The recipe is one of Betty Crocker’s from her “Betty Crocker’s Good and Easy Cookbook” because I can’t find the one Marty gave me. So, if you have a tried and true turkey recipe you’d rather use, I recommend doing that.

Just remember, the idea is to always have fun and enjoy being creative. The best part is when you can share your joy with others, so make plenty and share a lot!


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