How to host a virtual Thanksgiving

MADISON, Wis. – Since Thanksgiving will be pretty different this year, many families have decided to rethink their Thanksgiving plans and find different solutions.

Although it may be hard not to see loved ones in person this year, experts say spending time virtually will keep everyone safe and likely slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Many people will zoom through Thanksgiving this year, but not because they need to get back on the road or they’re tired of aunt’s questions. Families have the option to gather via social platforms to share a drink, a meal or just memories of holidays past. Bryan Chan of local company Supranet says you can have a smooth virtual Thanksgiving.

“Download the platform ahead of time and check it out. You know, just run through or set up the meeting beforehand or get someone more technical to help out. Certainly your phone is capable of doing it, most laptops are capable of doing it as well. So I think getting the reps in is helpful, “said Chan.

If Zoom isn’t your thing, Microsoft Teams, Google Meets and House party are great options. Zoom announced earlier this month that normal 40-minute restriction on its free meetings will be lifted globally from midnight on Thanksgiving day through 6 a.m. on Friday.

The CDC shares a few ways to make your virtually experience a great one:

  • Pick a host, this person can gather everyone’s email addresses and help the less tech-savvy relatives set up and test their video call connection.
  • Pick a platform, narrow it down to the three that are the simplest to set up and use.
  • Have a virtual potluck, invite them to prepare a special dish to show off on camera.

“Upload a virtual background of your house top remind people of where you live. So here is a picture of me in front of my house with the cat here. It has a lot of interesting features as well like this beach filter, and the other thing is it has video filters,” says Chan.

Chan says it’s important to take a picture of everyone together at your virtual thanksgiving dinner. 2020 may have been difficult, but bringing family together is the best way to ease each other’s struggles.