The verdict is in. Large Thanksgiving gatherings won’t be happening this year. The CDC recommends only hosting small gatherings with immediate family members. How then do you get the entire clan together for turkey overload? Virtually.
While a virtual Turkey Day isn’t optimal, it can be fun and you may even start a few new traditions. Here are some tips for making your virtual Thanksgiving a success.
Have Tech Support Standing By
Most of us have become Zoom pros by now, but elderly grandparents, aunts and uncles may not be as tech-savvy. Enlist younger family members as your “tech support team.” It will be their job to help guests navigate the virtual world — everything from getting Zoom downloaded to any technical issues on the big day.
Set the tone by sending out invitations. These can be mailed to guests, sent virtually or a combination of the two. You can find cute virtual invitations here. Be sure to include the time dinner starts, the video chat platform you are using and the contact information for your tech person.
Synchronize Your Tables
Even though you aren’t together, you can simulate the feel of a large Thanksgiving table by synchronizing your colors and table decorations. Choose fall colors for your tablecloth and napkins, have the kids decorate placemats that you can send to all of your guests or create flower arrangements using the same containers and flowers.
Music to Dine By
Having the same music playing in the background also helps you feel like you are breaking bread together. Create a Spotify playlist with age-appropriate music for everyone. Spotify has a Group Sessions feature that allows you to grant other people access to the list allowing your guests to add to the playlist as well.
This year, grandma might not be able to bring over her famous apple pie, but she can show everyone in the family how to make it over Zoom. Pick two or three easy recipes that can be made in advance of the big day, set up a time and let your virtual cooking class begin.
Create a Signature Cocktail
Create a signature cocktail and give it a fun name. Send out the recipe and host a virtual cocktail-making class. Keep it simple as not everyone owns bar tools. Here’s a list of cocktails everyone should know how to make. Not a fan of hard liquor? Host a wine tasting party. Agree on a vintage and make sure to serve it with the turkey.
Don’t Forget to Dress Up
Yes, we’ve all gotten used to wearing nice shirts over our sweats for conference calls, but Thanksgiving is not the time for that. Make the day special by wearing your finery or pick a theme and have everyone dress accordingly.
Fun and Games
Whether it’s watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade or cheering on the Dallas Cowboys, every family has Thanksgiving traditions. With some creativity, you can still engage in them. Use Netflix Party to watch movies together, play virtual board games or host a trivia contest. Get the kids to do a virtual karaoke night to entertain the grandparents. Be creative and enjoy the day.
Ask everyone to prepare a list of the things they are thankful for and give everyone a chance to read it before dinner.