Times have changed in so many ways, but thankfully, so has technology. Whatever the reason may be, perhaps you’re considering hosting a virtual Thanksgiving dinner.
In this article, we’ll talk about a number of great ways you can make a thanksgiving special, even if it’s from a great distance.
Add A Sentimental Touch To Your Virtual Thanksgiving Event
Make It Personal: If your family is scattered across the country or around the world, why not send them each an email with some photos and stories? You could also include links to videos that show what you’ve been up to over the last year. This will give everyone something personal to look forward to on their own time.
Introduce Your Thanksgiving Idea With A Video
Send A Video Message: Instead of sending emails, consider making a video message instead. This is a great way to introduce your family to the somewhat new idea of a “virtual thanksgiving family event.”
You can use the camera application that comes with your computer or webcam, or you can use a free tool like Loom to record your video.
Open The Virtual Celebration With a Pre-meal Prayer
Whatever the situation that has caused the need for a virtual event, whether world events or personal limitations, pray about it and for each other. It’s a wonderful, positive way to start your virtual family time. Need help, then make sure you read “Lovely Thanksgiving Prayers for Families.”
Interactive Games Make For A Fun Thanksgiving
Create An Interactive Game: There are plenty of games out there that allow people to play together virtually. Some examples include Family Feud, Trivia Crack, and Wordfeud. These types of games are perfect because they don’t require much effort on anyone’s part, yet still provide hours of fun family time (and probably some well-needed laughs too). Family Feud is such a classic game that both old and young know it!
Express Your Thankfulness With A “Thanks Circle”
Start a “Thanks Circle” where each person gets a turn to share what they’re most thankful for this Thanksgiving. You can even make it somewhat more specific like limiting it to what each person is thankful for this year, or what they’re most thankful for in their whole lives.
If you have a smaller, closer gathering, then you could have each person state one thing they are thankful for about each person. Perhaps you could include some bible stories about being thankful.
Virtual Thanksgiving Storytime To Keep The Memories Alive
Include a “storytime.” It’s best to not put people on the spot, so make sure each person has some notice so they can think about which story they might want to share. It could be a story from their own childhood, or perhaps a story they have about their own kids.
You can go more specific and set a theme such as these fun ideas:
- Stories about what it was like growing up.
- Stories about how gratitude has impacted your life.
- Stories about the most important life lessons you’ve learned.
- Stories about how each of the attendees met their significant other.
- Stories about the happiest moments of each person’s life.
Having specific topics can help new stories come out that might not be shared very often, or help people remember things they might have forgotten. Just be sure the topics are sensitive to the people who are attending. Thanksgiving is about thankfulness, not rehashing negative memories.
A Gratitude Circle!
Everyone wants to feel valued, and what better time for people to share their gratitude than at Thanksgiving.
Have everyone write down their favorite things about each other, then read through all these things at once as a group. The point here isn’t necessarily to find faults; rather, it’s to get everyone thinking about how lucky they are to have such wonderful friends and family members.
If people are particularly bashful, then you can leave each of the notes unattributed and just read the positive messages aloud.
Crafting Show & Tell
Assign a crafts project for each person to make (sending out kits would be even better). It can be something themed like a turkey made out of construction paper, or something more silly like a “funny paper hat” competition. Then, have each person share their creation and talk a little about making it.
It would be best for each person to try their hand at making similar things, but if you want people to use what they have or just let their imaginations run wild, then let your attendees create whatever they want.
Make sure to check out our Thanksgiving Turkey Crafts for Kids ideas!
Virtual Talent Show
Host a talent show where attendees can share one of their skills. Perhaps it’s singing, or performing illusions. Even if the skill is dancing, all you have to do is place your phone or computer in a good spot and let your talent shine.
If people aren’t particularly excited about this idea, then perhaps host something a little less formal and a bit wackier like a karaoke competition.
Digital Board Games
Play digital board games! Many of the most popular games now have phone app versions. Consider planning break-out sessions where your virtual thanksgiving attendees play virtual games! I can personally vouch for Monopoly’s awesome app experience- it’s a really fun game. My family plays it together often. Be aware, there may be limits to the number of players per game (Monopoly is limited to 4 players on the app).
Get Creative With the Virtual Thanksgiving Dinner
Get creative with food. Perhaps have each person order out for the same thing (if possible), or if everyone is down for some cooking then provide everyone with the recipes to prepare. For a more interactive event, let each attendee prepare what they want and they can do a sort of “food show & tell.”
Times feel a little different now, but that doesn’t change family. A virtual thanksgiving can be a very special and very fun experience if you plan it well. I hope the ideas above help you have a memorable virtual Thanksgiving this year!