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6 Ways to Celebrate a Virtual Thanksgiving

Share Gratitude, Recipes and Stay Safe for This Year’s Festivities at a Distance


We have good news and we have bad news. The bad news is, Thanksgiving as we know it won’t happen this year. The good news, virtual Thanksgiving will still happen this year. Turkey, mashed potatoes, and pie will still happen this year. With Michigan’s new epidemic order, the holiday will look a little bit different, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t spend it with loved ones. This year, make it a virtual Thanksgiving.

Instead of large indoor family gatherings, carve out a plan for virtual Thanksgiving celebrations this year. Tip: Zoom recently announced that it would lift its 40-minute meeting time limit for Thanksgiving Day gatherings, so you don’t have to worry about having limited time. Thank you Zoom!

Here are seven ideas on how you can celebrate a virtual Thanksgiving:



Plan ahead. Let everyone in your family that you usually spend the holiday with know that you can still spend time together virtually. Make a fun, festive, invitation letting everyone know what time to hop on zoom and celebrate together. Try to coordinate the same dinnertime, so you can “sit down” to dinner together or have dessert together following the meal.



Connect with the host of each household and coordinate a menu that everyone can enjoy together. Select dishes that you can all enjoy across the board and whip up family favorites in the kitchen. This means grandma might need to finally share the secret mashed potato recipe and your uncle has to fess up and admit his “homemade pie” is actually purchased from a local Meijer each year.



If cooking an entire spread sounds too exhausting and time-consuming, create a meal exchange with friends and family close by. Organize a meal exchange among households that allows everyone to have everything they need for a meal and more! Each household can select a dish to make in bulk (as if they were feeding a large thanksgiving table), divide it into smaller portions and deliver it to the remaining households Thanksgiving morning. You’ll have the opportunity to try new things!



From potatoes to turkey, to pie, hop on zoom and cook all together with family and friends! Set up a zoom call prior to dinner and make the meal together. If there is a family member known for bringing a specific dish, have them host a virtual cooking tutorial so you can all enjoy cooking together and learning how to whip up a new recipe! This will give you extra screen time with your family and be sure to make unique memories that your family won’t forget.



Thanksgiving is all about being thankful. Instead of focusing on the negatives of 2020, take a moment to focus on the positives and share what you are thankful for. Go around the table (and zoom chat room) discussing what you are thankful for in everyday life and in 2020. Sharing gratitude is an important part of this holiday and will help lift everyone’s spirits. Outside of sharing gratitude with your family, go out of your way to call a friend or send a text this virtual Thanksgiving letting them know you are thankful for them.



There are plenty of ways to get involved in local efforts to feed the hungry, help the homeless, or find animals a loving home. Although volunteering this year may have different restrictions than years passed and you can’t make it in-person, you can always consider donating food, money, or clothes to a local organization close to your heart. Check out our list of Detroit organizations to give back to here.



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