Ultimate Guide to a Virtual Thanksgiving
Can’t get together with family and friends in person this Thanksgiving? It’s okay! We’ve got you covered with ways to celebrate Thanksgiving virtually this year. In fact, this may be the year to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family from afar who you may not typically see on this holiday because of the distance between you.
- Invitations: Even though your event is virtual, you will still want to know who will attend your virtual Thanksgiving. This is so you can make sure everyone is on the same page about start time, which video platform you’ll use, and recipe sharing. To start, personalize one of these free Thanksgiving invitations or online Friendsgiving invites. These invites have the look and feel of traditional paper invites without the hassle of a trip to the store or post office. Customize your invite with important event details such as date, time, and video conference platform info, then email or text your invitation from your phone all in just a few minutes. You’ll be able to easily gather RSVPs and communicate with guests.
- Schedule: It’s advised for any type of virtual event to set up a schedule that includes time slots for various activities. This way, everyone will be on the same page and will know when to participate in what. For example, the schedule may start with “Greetings & Catching Up”. Be sure to send out the schedule at least a week before your virtual Thanksgiving.
- Potluck Drop-off: Virtual gatherings don’t mean that you have to say goodbye to sharing great food. A fun way to share home cooked meals is to have people prepare food for the Thanksgiving feast, portion the dish they make, and drop it off to other guests before the virtual gathering. Porch potluck drop-offs ensure that everyone participates and gets to enjoy the same meal even if it’s done virtually!
NOTE: If you plan to make your virtual Thanksgiving a Potluck, try the Potluck feature as part of your Thanksgiving invitations. The Potluck feature lets you specify what you’d like each guest to make, or you can allow guests to write in their own contribution. Make sure to include important details in your invitation like participants’ addresses, any allergies or dietary restrictions, and guidelines on when to drop food off.
- Coordinated Cuisine: If you want to host a virtual Thanksgiving but have guests that don’t live nearby, you may want to plan a menu that each household can make themselves. This is the perfect opportunity to share any family or favorite holiday recipes. Include links to these recipes with your invitation so guests can easily recreate the dishes. Once meal time arrives, everyone can sit down to a virtual dinner, share their experience cooking, and enjoy their meals together!
- Video Success: An important step for a successful virtual gathering is to ensure that everyone can easily use the video conference platform you choose. Make sure to include a link to your video platform so that guests can download any software needed well in advance of the event. Be sure to tell guests to sit in a well-lit room that is close to their router to ensure a strong internet connection, and encourage them to dress up their space with holiday decor. The more festive the better!
TIP: Not confident Uncle Roger will get the hang of Zoom? You may want to walk technophobes through any software downloads and do a test call beforehand so they’ll be ready to go for the big event.
- Give & Share Thanks: Encourage guests to send free Thanksgiving eCards to each other that include what they’re grateful for this year. Digital greeting cards are an easy and thoughtful way to get into the holiday spirit. Guests can find their favorite card, personalize it with a special message, add a photo, and send from their phone in minutes!
Virtual Thanksgiving may not be how you anticipated this holiday at the start of the year. We’re fortunate that we have terrific options to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family in a safe and comfortable way.
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