The pandemic isn’t over, and that means that the holiday season is not going to look like it usually does. We usually think of Thanksgiving as the beginning of the most festive time of the year. It just might set the tone for how the rest of the holidays will go, so we’re here to help you make your pandemic Thanksgiving as amazing as possible.

Having the traditional big family gathering at someone’s house for Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving is a huge no-no this year. Just ask the CDC. The safest way to go is to take the gathering virtual, but we just might be able to convince you that a Zoom Thanksgiving will be your best one yet.

One huge benefit to a virtual Thanksgiving is that you can invite anyone including people who usually wouldn’t be able to make it, such as your pregnant BFF who is on bed rest and your cousin who is recovering from COVID. You can also invite as many people as you want without actually having to cook for all of them or set up an additional table for dinner.

If you usually host Thanksgiving at your home, a virtual Thanksgiving means that you don’t have to worry about clearing the entire house or making a meal big enough to feed a small army. All you have to do is cook for yourself and set up the computer.

If you usually travel a long distance to a friend or family member’s house for Thanksgiving, you won’t need to pack a suitcase this year. You can simply travel to your dining room table with your laptop. This is the perfect year to offer to host Thanksgiving if you have never done it before, because the virtual event is a lot less pressure.

First, decide on a virtual platform. A lot of people are already familiar with Zoom, but you could go with another option like Google Meet.

Then, send out virtual invitations setting that include time for the event, possibly mentioning some activities and perhaps even setting a silly dress code. Ugly Thanksgiving sweaters, pilgrim hats, or your favorite ‘80s attire – anything goes to make the party more fun. 

Instead of cooking for everyone, there are a couple ways to make sure your guests have a delicious Thanksgiving dinner. If all of your guests live in the same local area, you could have a caterer cook and deliver dinner to each guest. If your guests live all over the country, you could have a delivery service like Uber Eats deliver a Thanksgiving meal to each guest. 

Then, there’s the option of cooking together. Email your guests your favorite family recipes and ask them to do the same. Take to Zoom before the meal to cook together, sharing family stories and cooking tips while you’re in the kitchen.

Be sure to set a timeline for the virtual gathering so your guests know what to expect. For example, you may want to gather together and go around the virtual table sharing what you’re thankful for and then put everyone on mute during the actual meal so that you can enjoy eating with the family members in your household without being glued to the computer screen. Then, after the meal, come together to play a virtual game, watch a movie together using Netflix Party, or go online Black Friday shopping with your mom, sister and bestie.

With a little creativity, this just might be the best Thanksgiving yet!