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There is no way to perfectly simulate an in-person Thanksgiving in covid-surge virtual space. There just isn’t. We all long for a semblance of normalcy and may want to claim Thanksgiving as a marker. But, the risk is real. Covid is surging in the Greater Philadelphia region with an increasing number of new cases per day. Sadly, the best choice for our loved ones is to stay away this year so that we may all be around to celebrate next year – together. That said, there are some creative ideas out there to help you and your family members connect contact-free. 

  • Host Thanksgiving on Zoom, and everyone can see one another’s tables even if you’re not sitting in the same house! Connect more by distributing pre-packaged meals in advance so everyone is eating the same thing at the same time.  The standard dinner table side conversations can take place via zoom breakout rooms or the chat function. 
  • For relatives in close proximity but outside the immediate household, organize a drive-by Thanksgiving (similar to what has been done for graduations and birthdays). Schedule each household to drive to all other households at times throughout the day and issue greetings and gratitude from a safe social distance.  
  • Host a socially distanced potluck by assigning different dishes to each household and delivering to one another before the big meal. This way, everyone can share in the family’s specialties! 
  • To cultivate a sense of just being together, share a playlist and set up a live feed (or back to zoom) with all other microphones muted. 
  • Play an online board game. Scrabble, Clue, Scattergories and others have mobile apps so you can play together even if you’re not at the same table. 
  • Watch a movie together across households via various apps and/or watch a football game(s) together and share audio via a cell phone based conference call.  
  • Encourage each household to record a greeting for all family members and play the greetings your household receives from all others.
  • For the gamers…play a massive online video game with the whole family.
  • Engage family members virtually and spark meaningful sharing and catch-up by way of icebreaker cards (see photo above…) 

Enjoy one or several of these ideas and then share your experience with us!