How to Throw a Socially Distanced or Virtual Thanksgiving!

by Jillian Leslie on

We wanted to show you how to throw a socially distanced or virtual Thanksgiving this year because, in these crazy times, we are forced to adapt to a new way of life.

So that we can keep ourselves and loved one protected, there are still ways to come together to celebrate.

If you are struggling with how to actually go about throwing a socially distanced or virtual Thanksgiving, look no further.

We have come up with wonderful ideas so you can still share the special day with your loved ones.

Collage of How to Throw a Socially Distanced or Virtual Thanksgiving!

How to Throw a Socially Distanced or Virtual Thanksgiving!

We wanted to start with some virtual party ideas because this is, of course, the safest way to celebrate this year.

Virtual Party Ideas

1: Have Thanksgiving on Zoom 

2020 wouldn’t be 2020 without people getting together on Zoom.

Host a Thanksgiving dinner on Zoom or another virtual platform, like Google Hangouts, FaceTime, or Facebook Video Messenger so you can still share a meal with your family or friends.

Don’t forget to set a place at the table for the laptop or cell phone! And for decorations, please use our free Thanksgiving printable decorations.

Also, don’t forget to snap some photos of everyone on Zoom so you can remember this year forever!

Some special tip:

  • Elect someone to be the master of ceremonies and set an agenda for the Thanksgiving dinner
  • Elect someone to handle tech help
  • Set a start and end time
  • Keep the dinner shorter than you might otherwise
Virtual Thanksgiving on Zoom 

2: Make Your Meal Together Online

Having everyone cooking together in the kitchen is my favorite part of Thanksgiving Day.

Unfortunately, if that’s not possible this year, don’t let that stop you from hosting a virtual cooking session.

Create and share a menu prior to the big day, and have everyone cook together online from their own homes virtually on Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or Facebook Video Messenger.

Make Your Thanksgiving Meal Together Online

3: Share What Your Grateful For Online

Thanksgiving is all about showing gratitude, and there’s nothing like a crazy year for us to realize just how much we have to be thankful for.

Get everyone connected online, and go around and have each person share what they’re most grateful for this year.

I’m sure it will be a heartwarming and connecting moment for everyone.

To make it easy, you can just pass a cell phone around and everyone takes a turn. Plus use our free thankful cards and Thanksgiving welcome sign to make it extra special.

Share What Your Grateful For Online

4: Have Kids Show Off Their Talents Online

There’s nothing most kids love more than showing off their many talents and putting on a show.

Ask the kids from each household to prepare something to perform.

It can be anything from a song, a prayer, a skit, a joke, or even the latest TikTok dance.

What matters is they get to put on a show and keep you all entertained.

Online Kids Talent Show

5: Play Thanksgiving Virtual Party Games

For some Thanksgiving fun, after dinner, get everyone together to play some remote online games.

Here are some awesome choices:

  • Minecraft: An easy to play game, which is as addictive as it is easy. Watch out for the monsters and spiders and you all work to survive!
  • Among Us: This is the new hot game for kids and adults. It’s a game all about teamwork and betrayal. You can play online or over local wifi with 4-10 players. The goal is to hold your spaceship together and return back to civilization. Sounds fun, right?
  • Jackbox Games: They have party games such as, “Dribbage”, “Drawful”, and “You Don’t Know Jack. We did a blog post about setting up Jackbox Games for a virtual party, which we used for our daughter’s 13th birthday and it was great!
  • Roblox: If you are interested in playing obstacle-based games, then this is the platform for you as it offers many “obbies,” as gamers call them. Young kids love Roblox
  • Game Pigeon: This is an iMessage plugin via which you can play games through texts
  • Online Jeopardy: It is another fun game to play with friends and family, just like the TV show
Play Online Games

6: Watch a Virtual Movie Together

Another thing you could all do together remotely with family or friends is to watch a movie together.

Host a virtual movie night after dinner by all streaming the same movie, at the same time, while chatting.

You can use Chrome extensions, Netflix Party if you want to watch a movie on Netflix, or Vemos, which works with Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, YouTube, and Prime Video!

Here’s a list of favorite Thanksgiving movies to watch!

And download our free movie night party printables to decorate.

Watch a Virtual Movie Together

7: Watch a Football Game Together Virtually

If watching football is your thing during Thanksgiving, don’t let social distancing stop you from sharing this traditional moment with everyone.

You can watch football together remotely and still cheer and boo together!

Watch a Football Game Together Virtually

8: Create a Heartwarming Slideshow Online

Thanksgiving is a special time, and not being able to celebrate with our loved ones is hard for everyone.

Let your friends and family know just how much you appreciate them by putting together a family slideshow that can be shown at everyone’s home, maybe play in the background as you sit down for dinner. We recommend you include photos from past Thanksgivings to share memories.

Who knows, you may have just created a new Thanksgiving tradition!

Create a Heartwarming Slideshow Online

9: Send Your Family Some Love

If putting together a slideshow sounds a tad too complicated, you can simply record a video to send to your remote family.

The person at the other end is going to cherish it.

Send Your Family Some Love

10: Treat Everyone to Cookies

Show family and friends just how much you care by sending cookies or other delicious baked goods in the mail. If you always serve specific treats during Thanksgiving, this might be a fun reminder.

This takes a little bit of early planning and some good packaging, but this way everyone can share both memories and something sweet together.

Treat Everyone to Cookies

And if you’re still looking for ideas, here are some other fun online party ideas to keep everyone entertained.

Socially Distanced Party Ideas

If you are planning to celebrate Thanksgiving in person, here are some socially distanced party ideas and socially distanced party supplies to make your celebration safe and enjoyable

1: Take your Thanksgiving Outdoors

Outdoor dining is always safer than indoor, so how about setting up small tables at a distance in your backyard so that you can spend Thanksgiving with people you love.

If the weather is cold where you can try renting some heat lamps and put out blankets to keep you warm.

Socially Distanced Outdoor Thanksgiving

2: Throw a Picnic

Another option would be to have a Thanksgiving picnic.

Ask everyone to bring their own blankets and lawn chairs so you can all get to be together while still staying safely apart. Here are some socially distanced party food ideas to help you plan your menu.

Socially Distanced Outdoor Thanksgiving Picnic

3: Order Out and Support your Local Restaurants

A great way to support your local restaurants is to order out your Thanksgiving meal.

Ask them to pack items in individual containers for your guests so you don’t have to worry about passing food to one another. This works great if you’re planning an outdoor picnic Thanksgiving.

Order Out and Support your Local Restaurants

4: Just Desserts

If you don’t feel safe enough to have a full Thanksgiving dinner with family or friends, think about inviting people over just for dessert after you’ve had your traditional meal.

Host everyone outside where it’s safer, and enjoy some delicious pie and desserts.

Just Desserts

5: Create a Mask and Sanitizer Station

Have masks and hand sanitizer at the ready so your guests can keep themselves protected during your Thanksgiving celebrations.

Use these wonderful masks and sanitizer signs to decorate your sanitizing station.

Create a Mask and Sanitizer Station

6: Fun Mask Decorating Party Activity

Buy some plain fabric masks and have your kids decorate them for your guests as party favors.

Get hold of a bunch of fabric markers and let your kids’ creative juices go wild.

Fun Mask Decorating Party Activity

7: Create a Safe Activity for Kids

Set out a socially distant craft or sidewalk chalk to give the kids away to get creative together while staying safe.

Just because they are socially distanced, doesn’t mean they can’t still have fun.

Also, check out our free printable Thanksgiving bingo cards as an easy, inexpensive activity.

Create a Safe Activity for Kids

8: Play Fun Games

Make the most of the outdoors and get everyone involved in a safe game like croquet, horseshoes, or lawn bowling.

You never know. You could be creating a brand new Thanksgiving family tradition!

Play Fun Games

9: Get Tested Before Getting Together

The safest way to spend time with friends or family over Thanksgiving would be asking everyone to get tested 24-48 hours beforehand, if possible. Local testing sites have gotten easier to find.

If you do get a test, keep in mind that you still need to take precautions to keep you and those around you safe by wearing a mask, washing your hands, and keeping a distance.

Get Tested Before Getting Together

We wish everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving! Yes, times are strange, but we can still celebrate together, even virtually, and share our deep connections and love. We need that now more than ever!

For more inspiration, check out all these stunning Thanksgiving party ideas on our site, and check out these Thanksgiving party supplies from vendors with listings on Catch My Party!


Need more ideas?


1 comment

  • Anina Belle G

    Anina Belle G wrote:

    I love these Ideas! I personally don’t love having zoom on all throughout the dinner, but a zoom grace is a great idea!