Thanksgiving is Going Virtual This Year
Easter, birthdays, anniversaries – we’ve had to celebrate a lot of special moments in 2020 on a much smaller scale, and often while staying physically apart from our loved ones. Thanksgiving may be joining the club, but celebrating with your family using a virtual platform like Zoom will still allow you to make the most of this special holiday. So, don’t worry—Thanksgiving is far from cancelled this year!
A few months of experience means we’ve got some of the best tips and tricks to help you host your family’s first Zoom Thanksgiving. From figuring out the digital logistics to deciding on a menu everyone will enjoy, let’s dive right in: here’s how to plan your Zoom Thanksgiving event!
How to Plan Your Family’s Zoom Thanksgiving
Organize in Advance
About two or three weeks before Thanksgiving, we suggest starting to connect with your family members to discuss what your Zoom event will look like. Some things you will need to agree on are the date of your event, the time it will take place at, and how long it will last. Here are some tips for getting your Thanksgiving plans organized ahead of time:
- The first decision you should make is whether you’re going to have a Thanksgiving lunch or dinner event. Once that is decided, you can pick a date and time that works for the entire family.
- Designate one member of your family to “host” Thanksgiving and keep track of all the details. They can be the main point of contact that everyone goes to with questions and ideas. They will also be the person who reminds everyone about the date and time of the event.
- If you have a family group chat, consider using it to share all the details of your Zoom Thanksgiving event with your family members. But don’t forget to call Grandma and Aunt Deb to keep them in the loop!
- While traditional family gatherings can last a full day, your Zoom Thanksgiving event should not last more than 1 ½ to 2 hours. This will allow people to stay engaged for the entire event without getting burnt out.
To make sure everyone in your family can take part in your Zoom event, it’s a good idea to have your more tech-savvy family members do some troubleshooting beforehand! Here are some of our best tech tips to help you prepare for your Zoom Thanksgiving event:
- Download the platform and show them how it works. If each family member already has Zoom (or whatever platform your family has decided to use) downloaded onto their device and has been given a short tutorial on how it works, that is one less hurdle to worry about on the day of the event.
- Test the camera and microphone. We’ve all learned from awkward working from home moments that a malfunctioning camera or microphone can cause major communication issues. By testing cameras and microphones ahead of time, you can ensure every family member will be able to fully participate in the fun!
- Remind everyone to charge their devices beforehand. Advise everyone who plans to use a laptop, tablet, or cellphone that they should charge their devices beforehand, as well as to keep a charger nearby during the event.
Create the Menu
While we often associate Thanksgiving with enjoying a mountain of holiday food like turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and roasted veggies, your Zoom Thanksgiving meal may need to look a little bit different this year.
Here are some tips for putting together your Zoom Thanksgiving menu:
- One option is to have everyone make the same dishes, just on a smaller scale. This should be easier for dishes like mashed potatoes, veggies, and stuffing. And instead of a full turkey, everyone can cook turkey breasts or ground turkey. The great thing about this option is that you can opt out of making any items that you usually don’t enjoy–so, if you’re not a turkey fan, no sweat!
- Another option is for everyone to make their favorite special occasion dishes. This could also lead to a great icebreaker conversation: everyone can talk about why they made the meal they did and what they love about it.
- This may be the perfect opportunity for you to try a new recipe that you’re excited about! Who knows: it may become a new family tradition to add it to the Thanksgiving Day menu.
- Don’t forget dessert! Instead of having a treats table to visit, choose one dessert to prepare and enjoy on a smaller scale.
Shake Things Up with New Recipes
If you want to take this smaller scale Thanksgiving as an opportunity try some new recipes, we’ve got a few ideas that we think you’ll love.
For appetizer ideas, try some of our favorites:
Here are some fresh side dishes you can try:
If you still want to incorporate turkey into your menu, try these dishes:
For dessert, why not try one of these sweet options:
While board games and other in-person activities may need to be shelved this year, that doesn’t mean fun is cancelled! Here are some unique ideas to keep the good times rolling at your Zoom Thanksgiving event:
- Host a Thanksgiving centerpiece contest where each individual family creates and presents their most creative Thanksgiving-themed centerpiece during the event. The family votes on their favorite and the winner gets bragging rights!
- A time-honored tradition at Thanksgiving is for each person to sit around the table and share what they are thankful for that year. While this year has been hard for many, this is still a great activity to remind one another that there many things we can still give thanks for–especially family!
- Thanksgiving is also a great time to reminisce about past holidays and the memories your family has made together. Ask everyone to think about their favorite family holiday memory and share it during your Zoom Thanksgiving event. If they have supporting pictures, videos, or items to help them share the memories with everyone, ask each family member to have them ready!
Looking for more tips or inspiration to help you prepare for your Zoom Thanksgiving event? Check out these additional resources:
Stay Safe, Stay Thankful
There’s no doubt about it: Thanksgiving will look different this year. But it’s important to remember that doing things a little differently may very well keep the ones you love most safe and healthy.
From all of us at Nature Fresh Farms, we would like to wish our American friends, family, team members, and partners a Happy Thanksgiving!