Set the Stage for a ZOOM Thanksgiving

By November 12, 2020Dining
Thanksgiving dinner table with caption "set the stage for a ZOOM Thanksgiving"

Tips to Set the Stage for a Zoom Thanksgiving

The holidays are probably going to look a lot different this year with COVID-19 possibly spiking in the coming months, a virtual Thanksgiving may be your safest bet for proper “social distancing”.  What would an online Zoom Thanksgiving look like, exactly? It can be as simple as setting a time to eat a meal with friends or family located nationwide. What a great way to celebrate a feast for all ages and give thanks that may seem strange but can be fun to pull off.  Here are some tips we suggest to plan ahead and make it an enjoyable event!

Choose the Proper Host or Hosts  

For a virtual event to run smoothly, we suggest selecting a family member or friend who can take charge and not only welcome everybody but also be able to steer the conversation throughout the Zoom event. The host of your group should be someone who is outgoing and likes to direct, or is the actor of the group and take on an emcee role. Or you can even split it up and have different attendees host the beginning, middle, and end of your online Thanksgiving celebration.

Designate a Techie

We also suggest that you tap a family or friend that is tech-savvy as your tech captain and can send out an email in advance about 30 minutes or a day before that indicates the steps to take to join the Zoom webinar.  That email should include the link to join and the password, and let people know that, if they have any issues, they can call or text the tech captain.

Family having fun on Zoom call during thanksgiving

Keep it to 1-2 Hours

Set start and end times in advance and keep it to 1-2 hours max as attention spans may get diluted after about an hour.  It’s best to keep it to 20 people or less if possible cause it will be confusing with too many people talking all at one time and become overwhelming.  And have fun with it and tell attendees to decorate and dress up.  You may want to put your computer or phone on a buffet or side table and can even move around throughout the event. Make it a competition for ‘best backdrop décor’.

Thanksgiving turkey and sides on a set table

Set the Table

Setting up your festive table and adding some flowers or even a homemade backdrop can definitely get you in the spirit of the holidays.  There’s something really proper and fun about getting your home ready and getting your table dressed in Thanksgiving style, and that anticipation should be just as enjoyable as the actual event.

Make it Festive

Another way to make things feel festive is to mail items to your guests in advance, such as a homemade dessert, a bottle of champagne, a cocktail kit, or custom T-shirts. Have a plan. Even if you are hesitant to plan something too formal, it is helpful to have an agenda.

Here are 8 creative ways to make your Zoom Thanksgiving a festive one:

Have a Recipe Swap a few days before the event by asking your soon to be online guests to write down a favorite family recipe. Then, draw names from a hat so that each person ends up with a different Thanksgiving recipe to make. On the Zoom call, everyone can share what they made and how it turned out.

Person cooking while video calling someone

Cook together even if you cannot be together in person, you can still plan to spend time cooking with family. Have fun and cook virtually and while doing so you can still have those conversations, you can have music in the background, sip libations, and feel like you still have family there, rather than just being by yourself. If there is a particular family recipe, you are going to miss this year, you can also set up a Zoom cooking tutorial in advance to learn how to make it.


People toasting on a video conference call

Toast with a signature cocktail and send out a signature drink recipe, so everyone can feel connected from afar.  If you want to do a toast, consider sending out a prompt in advance. You can ask guests to reflect on what they have learned in 2020 – clink!

What are you thankful for?  A typical Thanksgiving standby that is super easy to go around on the computer screen so to speak and allow family and friends to share what they are thankful for which is especially poignant this year.

Person taking a picture of a thanksgiving turkey

Have a centerpiece competition if you really want to get creative and tell everyone to keep it to so many items and let them know they have only 10 minutes to create their own Thanksgiving holiday masterpiece and then everyone can vote on a winner.

Organize a scavenger hunt where everyone is running around their house, searching for 15 to 20 items — and whichever team comes closest to gathering all those items wins some kind of prize.  This one works especially well with kids.

Watch the parade if your family usually celebrates Thanksgiving by watching football or the Macy’s Day Parade, plan to watch together virtually and we recommend using Airtime.

Family taking a selfie

Take a family photo even if you are on Zoom, you can still take a family photo — hopefully one that will make you laugh when you look back at it in years to come. This is a great way to end the celebration and it can be a nice thing to do as your event winds down, to end things on a high note.


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