While we often enjoy reliving our Thanksgiving traditions, this is the year to try something new and different, and all so you can create a new kind of “together” with your loved ones. If there ever was a time to avoid non-essential travel this would be it. Instead, ask “What are some low risk activities you can do for Thanksgiving during COVID-19?” Check them out.
If you’re really wanting to see some of your close friends and family, safely, take the precautions outdoors. Dress warmly, find a wide open area and set up seating arrangements for households so you can see each other, talk from a distance and still enjoy each other’s company! Grab some UGG Sherpa Throw Blankets for extra warmth outside.
This one isn’t new to families that live far apart, but it’s the best tool for connecting face to face. The host can introduce a few games that are fun on video chat. Try this Thanksgiving icebreaker called “Blackout” where everyone turns their cameras off and the host will read from a list of “Have you ever…” questions. When one applies to you, you’ll turn your camera on and greet the others who also have their cameras on. Games can give everyone a chance to talk and participate with a big group. Put together an agenda and kids can share talents, such as stories they write, play music or perform a Thanksgiving-themed joke. Ask a grandparent to read a holiday story to the family. You can record the meeting session and cherish this memory making for years to come.
Thanksgiving Recipe or Dish Swap
Ask your close friends and family to each share a family recipe for a specific dish that they would bring for a Thanksgiving get together. Share the recipes in the group and everyone will cook their friends’ recipes for their own household celebration. Share your results on social media with your personalized hashtags. Alternatively, you could have friends agree to a dish swap. Make several batches of a dish in disposable bakeware and everyone will drop off their dishes and pick up others to build a Thanksgiving meal.
Have each household make some special decorations that can be sent out to others. It’s a chain mail that actually works! You’ll receive holiday decorations from your loved ones that you can put on display and share during your family zoom call. Or, you can make a craft together! Send every family the pieces to make a craft and provide a quick tutorial video session on the day of creating, and enjoy each other’s results.
Watch Netflix Together
This is actually an app that syncs Netflix sessions for you and loved ones that are in different spaces. Sure, you’re just “watching a movie,” but there’s something to be said for shared experience and the bonds it can build, and this makes it possible. Let this be your virtual gathering space for a fun family movie. Chat in the side bar while viewing or just set up a FaceTime so you can freely talk together during the movie.
Play some good old fashioned croquet or try a new frisbee golf course. Don’t try to make this a huge party but a few household teams would give you some friendly competition. Mail a homemade trophy to the winners of the tournament, and these can be coveted pieces in coming years.
While the pandemic may be changing our normal plans, it’s been this experience that has made us so aware of our need to connect with our people. We should continue to creatively reach out to keep close with our family and friends.
Mariko is a high school English teacher who has three children, illegible handwriting and an obsession with mail-order artisan ice cream. She lives in Hawaii, but she makes a point to eat her way through big cities as often as she can.