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Ah, thanks. A vacation to spend time with family, practice gratitude while eating your whole body weight in turkey, and pretend you like it better than a juicy chicken. Sure, you might be thinking of cozy Thanksgivings past (you know, like pre-quarantine) as you wistfully read this. But I’m here to inform you that – spoiler! – Thanksgiving will not be canceled this year. No sir. It might look a little different, especially if you don’t feel comfortable traveling yet.
I mean, I get it. Although the number of vaccinations has risen, this panini still occurs, and so the CDC continues to advise that people avoid large gatherings and events.
So, how are we doing Thanksgiving this year? Well, via the internet of course! Did you expect a different answer? Between Zoom birthday parties, Zoom gradations and even Zoom weddings, most of us have gotten pretty used to the whole virtual party thing. I would even go so far as to award us all the gold stars for our dedicated ingenuity. But if you’re looking for new ways to keep your Thanksgiving festivities virtual or remote this year, that’s where I come in: below are 20 really fun ways to celebrate Thanksgiving online. Good Turkey Day greetings to you, yours and your seasonal candles.
Have a scavenger hunt at home
Yes, this game doesn’t quite hit the mark IRL, but I promise you it’s still fun. However, there IS a secret ingredient to making this game a hoot: you need to grab a fun checklist (like the one above!) to make things interesting. Once you have that, share it with your household or with loved ones who live long distance, if you want to play via Zoom, maybe start a timer and get started!
Play ~Digital Jeopardy~
Who said you can’t play your favorite TV game show in the comfort of your own home? If you and your fam are obsessed with Danger orrr just love trivia with all your little hearts then T-Giving should be celebrated with a few rounds of play! Purchase and download this ready-made PowerPoint that looks like a replica of the show’s game board. And OFC we had to find one that was in the holiday theme because, le duh. Go ahead and start brushing up on your American history if you intend to win this thang!
Paint Hand Turkeys
You know you loved this as a kid. But I know you’ll love it even more when wine is involved. wink wink. Think of it like a paint and sip situation, but in your living room or dining room. Buy some basic art supplies – paint, brushes and a canvas – and a bottle of your favorite vino (I may be biased, but I say treat yourself to one of cosmo‘s collection) and let your inner Picasso shine through. Everyone will have a ball!
Making gratitude jars
Putting these together will make everyone’s hearts go warm and fuzzy – which are just the vibes we need at a family gathering on vacation! Grab some glass jars, strips of paper and a pen and just start writing down some things you are grateful for. Drop them into the jar and keep it in an accessible place. And if you’re having a bad day, jot down, read and feel an instant boost of happiness. Feel free to discuss with your fam what you are all grateful for. 🙂
Have a pottery evening
Okay, yes, I know this kit is technically Halloween themed, but pumpkins are still very ~Thanksgiving~ and you know you agree! Send everyone on your team one of these adorable pottery-making bundles by November 25, so you can all enjoy making the same piece of *chef’s kiss* art. This isn’t a must, but if your group is competitive, you can make it a small competition. The prizes are yours to find out!
Send some nice virtual invites
It’s a little extra to send real Thanksgiving invites if you’re just going to have dinner with the fam over Skype. But hey, if you’re in the mood to go over the top, say go for it (I’m all for it USPS support). Otherwise, some cute virtual invites would do the trick. Fill them in with your mealtime and favorite video chat platform so everyone is on the same page for the big day. Minted has some really nice (and free) Thanksgiving Options, like these.
Plan your own turkey trout
TBH, I’ve never understood why turkey trotter is a thing, but if your family does one every year, it’s only good to keep the tradition alive. Set a time on Thanksgiving morning and have your usual turkey trotter crew race a 5K at home with a running app like eating pattern so you can compare times and see who won. Do you want to increase the bet? Make a deal that everyone will give Venmo $5 to the winner.
Have a Zoom cooking class
If it’s your first time doing Thanksgiving without your family’s best cook there to cook it all, keep calm — you got this. Just ask them to teach you their way through Zoom. Have them send out an ingredient list ahead of time so that everyone can follow it in their own kitchen. it will quite feel like you’re cooking together like you used to in the pre-times.
Mix some drinks
Planning to order indoors? Then just skip the cooking class and go straight to the booze. Video chat while mixing up a fall-themed cocktail like these Apple Cider Ginger Bourbon Smashes. Here’s the recipe:
¼ cup apple cider
¼ cup ginger beer or ginger ale
2 ounces bourbon
1 teaspoon orange peel
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Combine apple juice, ginger ale, bourbon, orange zest and juice, cinnamon and ground cloves in a cocktail shaker. Shake until combined. Strain into a glass filled with ice and garnish with a cinnamon stick or sliced apple.
Set an early secret Santa
After the last two (?!) years we’ve had, everyone deserves a few RTFN gifts, right? A few weeks before November 25 (that’s Thanksgiving this year, BTW), use an online name generator like elf star to assign your family members a secret Santa. Set a price limit and let everyone send their gifts so they arrive in time for Turkey Day. Make the big reveal via FaceTime after dinner.
Three words: eating cake competition
Totally ridiculous? Yes. Insanely fun? Also yes. Everyone bakes a cake and then competes against each other on Zoom to see who can finish the cake the fastest. With witnesses, of course. And yes, you to do must eat with your hands behind your back, thanks for asking.
Set a funny dress code
If you’re celebrating with your quarantine crew, chances are you’re bored of eating together all the time. Make it even more exciting by setting a dress code theme. This family went with random fancy clothes they had lying around. Decide on a theme together and let cousins, grandparents or family friends choose their own theme too. Rock your outfits to Zoom dinner and have fun with what everyone is wearing. Bonus points if you film a TikTok while you’re at it.
Tailgate in the backyard
Watching the Cowboys won’t be the same without 20 people in the living room yelling at the TV. But don’t worry, it can still be super fun. Set up a TV on the patio or back porch and pull the car around for a backyard tailgate.
Play “What Do You Meme” but with family photos
Start by collecting some of the most embarrassing photos of your family members and save them in a folder on your computer. Have each group you Zoom with order a What Do You Meme for Thanksgiving. Once everyone is logged in, have each player take seven caption cards and choose a judge from the group. But instead of choosing a classic meme photo from the game, share your screen and show an embarrassing family photo. The players have to caption it and the judge decides which caption is best. FYI: you might want to opt for the Family Edition to avoid awkward moments as the captions in the OG version can get a little risqué.
Get creative with Photoshop
You probably can’t exactly shoot a huge Kardashian-Jenners-style family photo this year. But you can definitely crop and fake your brother who lives out of state thanks to Photoshop. Snap a few manipulated family photos of the day for a big laugh.
Challenge everyone to a virtual board game
I don’t know about you, but it’s not Thanksgiving at my house without at least one painfully long game of Monopoly. This year, choose your fam’s board game digitally thanks to the App Store. Numerous games like Clue, Catan and Risk have app versions where you can invite others to play.
Go Black Friday (online) shopping
Hot tip: the best Black Friday Deals are mostly online and usually they go live on Thanksgiving Day. So once your food coma subsides a bit, you can start shopping at your favorite sites. Text a few links to your friends so they can confirm you need that new loungewear set and pair of boots* (even if you were going to get them at all anyway). It would be wrong not to.
Organize a Zoom Friendsgiving
The bad news? You probably won’t be able to host Friendsgiving with your high school friend group this year. The good news? You can still totally hang out, catch up and drink wine with them this year. Just do it via Zoom! Want to win Friend of the Year? Uber Eats everyone up so they don’t have to worry about cooking.
Stream the parade
As expected, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will look very different. The department store has issued a statement saying:
“This year, the celebration will shift to a special televised presentation, featuring the Macy’s Parade’s signature mix of giant character helium balloons, fantastic floats, street performers, clowns, and the arrival of the holiday season with the one and only Santa Claus. Klaas.”
Instead of the traditional 80 to 100 giant balloon handlers desperately trying to keep Snoopy from flying away, Macy plans to use a “specially rigged anchor vehicle framework of five special vehicles”. Take that info however you like! But there *will* be balloons and there *will* be Santa Claus.
The 94th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will air on NBC on Thursday, November 25 from 9 a.m. to noon. Set your alarm, bbs!
Have a Christmas movie night
As soon as I get up from the Thanksgiving table, I’ll be ready for Christmas. And unless you’re one of those hard-nosed “Christmas season doesn’t start until December 1st” people, I highly recommend watching an after-dinner Christmas movie with some friends or family to get into the ~holiday mood~. Thanks to Netflix party, an absolutely genius Chrome extension, you can invite up to 50 people to share and view your screen with you. There’s even a chat feature so you can share your hottakes Home alone.
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