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How to Make your Virtual Thanksgiving Fun for the Whole Family

Thanksgiving: a time to be together with family and friends, express gratitude for all we have, share delicious meals and lots of warm hugs with those we love. 

Except… not this year (womp, womp). This year, Thanksgiving (and likely the entire holiday season) is going to look quite different than in years past. (One thing I am thankful for? My health… )

Unless you live in a warm climate where you’re able to gather safely outdoors with family members, for most, it simply might be too risky to celebrate all together and share in our favorite time-honored holiday traditions the way we always have, especially for those of us with kids in school/care.

But, here’s the good news: there will come a time when we have control over this terrible virus and will be able to be together again (like, within 6 feet of one another!). In the meantime, we just have to keep being flexible and resilient (a great lesson for all of us, really).

With that, we’re going to share with you some creative ideas for how to spend your 2020 Thanksgiving together (even if “together” means virtually). 

1 – Thanksgiving via Zoom. Designate a host for your virtual Thanksgiving — that person can set up the Zoom call, help to tailor the “agenda” and keep things running smoothly.  If an entire Zoom Thanksgiving is too much, choose just one part to do virtually at a specific time.

This could be a holiday toast, going around each family’s table to share something everyone is grateful for (if you need a prompt, check this out), or a fun game of Trivia (ask trivia questions about family members, the Thanksgiving holiday, or check out these fun trivia questions for kids). Pro tip: use a laptop so you don’t get an arm-cramp holding your mobile device the whole time.

Virtual Thanksgiving

2 – Collaborative Spotify Playlist. Even if you can’t be together physically, you can still enjoy a shared musical experience with your family during your virtual Thanksgiving. Select one person to create a Thanksgiving playlist on Spotify, and then he or she can add other family members as collaborators. When the list is complete, send it to the entire family so everyone can listen to the same music while preparing the meal, setting the Thanksgiving table, eating dinner, etc.  

3 – Thanksgiving Care Package. A week before Thanksgiving, drop off or mail something special to each family member (i.e. pumpkin spice muffins, a slice of pie, a hand-made card from your toddler, ingredients and instructions to make a yummy drink — perhaps a specialty drink everyone toasts with on Thanksgiving, etc.).

via Etsy

4 – Create a Shared Menu. Work together to create the menu in advance, and on Thanksgiving, everyone cooks the exact same Thanksgiving meal. Take it a step further and put all the recipes together in a Virtual Thanksgiving 2020 Recipe Book (make it through Shutterfly and distribute one to each family!).

5 – Virtual Games. Play virtual games through Zoom, House Party, Caribu, etc, such as charades (check out this charades phrase generator here!), pictionary, Thanksgiving Bingo, Thanksgiving MadLibs, and more. 

The Houseparty App

6 – Have a Decorating Contest. The family with the most festive Thanksgiving table wins! 

7 – Dress Up! (Or in a theme that you and our family designate). Get all gussied up and snap a family photo via Zoom. This picture will be one for the ages: The 2020 Covid Thanksgiving where Gramma couldn’t figure out how to get her picture to show up, Uncle Joe was muted and Baby Mia was wailing into the microphone ;-).

Virtual Thanksgiving
Everybody smile!

8 – Choose 1 or 2 Organizations to Donate to this Thanksgiving. This is the year we give thanks and give back. So many non-profits need extra funds this year to help all those struggling due to repercussions of the Coronavirus (and so much more… thanks 2020). Some great organizations to give to are No Kid Hungry, National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, NAMI, and Good360. For more ideas on where to give, check this out.  

9 – Thanksgiving Craft. Have all the kids make the same (or a different) craft and share their masterpieces with the family via Zoom. You could even include their artwork in the Thanksgiving care package mentioned earlier. I’m partial to this adorable turkey!  


We know this year’s Thanksgiving celebration may feel like a let down for many… it does for us too (also: it’s okay to cry! This sucks).

But once in a while, it’s okay to shake things up a bit and try something new. Who knows, you may even enjoy some of these ideas so much that they’ll become part of your annual Thanksgiving traditions. In the meantime, know we’re right there with you, trying to make this virtual Thanksgiving feel just as special, warm and family-oriented as possible. 

From us to you, Happy (Virtual) Thanksgiving, friends! 

~ Marissa and the Lucie’s List Team

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