How to Host a Virtual Thanksgiving

It’s an understatement to say that the holidays are going to look a lot different this year—but then, everything looks a lot different this year. Since the CDC says the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate with the people in your household, we wanted to share some tips on how to host a virtual Thanksgiving. (On the plus side: No holiday hosting stress!) 

I turned to my friend, event planner Troy Williams, to ask for his advice. In the past, he’s helped us with baby showers and holiday dinners, and I knew he’d have lots of ideas for making this holiday season special—virtually. As usual, he did not disappoint.

Keep reading for his tips on how to host a virtual Thanksgiving that is fun and memorable. And then let me know in the comments: What is your family doing for Thanksgiving this year? Whatever it is, please stay safe!  

Send Some Love

While you can’t be with family who live far away this year, you can still do something special for them.  “Put together great boxes of special things and ship them to family and friends,” advises Troy. “They don’t have to be crazy expensive, but they should be thoughtful.” Some ideas of what to include: soup ingredients, pancake mix with chocolate chips, beautiful candles, personal notes, mini pumpkins with each person’s name on it, cocktail ingredients, honey, jams, cute hand sanitizers, fall-themed masks—you can really do anything. The goal is to have everyone open their boxes on Zoom and eat, drink or prepare whatever is inside together. While this does take some planning and some money, as Troy points out, “Think of how much time and money you usually spend on the holidays.”

Consider Contests or Games

Having lots of people on one Zoom call can be overwhelming and awkward. But there are ways to make things feel a bit more natural. “Plan a family contest to see who can make the best Zoom backdrop,” suggests Troy. “You could also play a game together or simply go around and each say what you are thankful for this year.” 

Start New Traditions

As an adult, it’s really hard to miss out on seeing family and not doing your normal holiday traditions—especially when you feel like your kids are missing out. But kids are adaptable (and adults can be too). “Kids will love staying home and doing easy things: baking, watching holiday movies, driving around and looking at holiday decorations,” says Troy. “Get creative and you can start new family traditions that are equally memorable.”

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  • Jessica Lozano

    Hi Gen, These are fun ideas. Thank you. This is a year to be very creative! We didn’t go trick or treating either. But we did drive around the neighborhoods at night to see all the decorations and we had the kids trick or treat down the hallway. We dressed up and waited for them behind the bedroom doors. I decorated the hallway with Halloween stuff and the kids had such a fun time. It’s definitely a year to start new traditions. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. All the best, Jess

  • Stephanie Briscoe

    Hello Gen Me and children stayed in the house this year I’m used to big family meals.

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