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The holiday season is all about getting together with family and friends but this year will be a little different. Even though we may have to limit our gathering to a few close family members and friends, the good news is that turkey, stuffing, pie, and wine are not cancelled. With indoor gathering restrictions becoming smaller and smaller, you have a few options for hosting a Thanksgiving dinner with a big family feel.

Whether you host an intimate indoor dinner, a weather appropriate outdoor potluck, or a virtual gathering, this will be a Thanksgiving to remember.

Hosting an Indoor Thanksgiving Dinner

Sometimes it’s nice to have an intimate family dinner with just your immediate family. Maybe you can take the time this year to reconnect with your closest family and friends without having to eliminate the feel of a large family gathering.

1. Invite guests who are close to you, geographically. 

Travelling outside of a city can still be quite troublesome during this time so focus on gathering with those who live closest to you. Perhaps that means you will have a more intimate thanksgiving dinner with just a few close friends and family, but people will be understanding.

2. Have everyone bring a dish. 

People love to cook their favourite dishes to show off at a dinner party to give it a big gathering feel. Make it interesting and ask each guest to bring their best dish. At the dinner table, bring each dish up as a conversation piece and ask your guests if there is anything interesting behind the dish.

3. Cater the wine to the guest. 

With a small intimate dinner, it can be easier to please each guest by asking their preferences for wine. Make it into a fun wine tasting amongst your group!

Hosting an Outdoor Thanksgiving Soiree

Unless it is horribly raining or snowing, you may be able to host a gathering outside. Have a large backyard? Invite guests to come over for a potluck style Thanksgiving dinner that will be socially distanced. Just plan carefully for the occasion.

1. Get your patio or backyard ready. 

There is so much you can do to dress up your patio or backyard for the outdoor thanksgiving dinner. Consider renting round tables, both high top for standing and dinner tables for seating. Break up your groups into households to keep it even more socially distanced. Bring into incredible fall decorations like pumpkins, string lights, ornamental squash, and fall inspired tablecloths. Invite in heating lamps and put your fire pit to good use. Have a contest for the best fall inspired outfit!

2. Get creative with the dinner. 

Potluck style dinners are great for outdoor events but get creative by bringing a twist to thanksgiving dishes using the BBQ. Have grilled turkey breast instead of cooking a whole turkey, roast pumpkin on the grill, and make hot apple cider beverages for your guests. Be imaginative, the world is your turkey.

3. Ask everyone what they are thankful for. 

This year has not been easy on most of us but there is always light to find in a world of darkness. Thank your guests for coming and ask them each to share one great thing that they are thankful for this year either out loud or on a communal board using their own Sharpie you provide.

Hosting a Virtual Thanksgiving Bonanza 

For a lot of people, COVID has been quite isolating depending on your job or if you live away from close friends or family. But hey, that’s what the internet is for. Get together with your friends and family, virtually to celebrate the holiday.

1. Coordinate your thanksgiving menu. 

Coordinate with your family and friends to make a few of the dishes similar so you can feel right at home with them. Maybe that is Grandma’s secret stuffing or Dad’s world famous pie, but include it on everyone’s menu to make the experience more authentic.

2. Include the computer in your seating chart. 

If you really want to feel as if you are all together, give the computer a real spot at the table so you can video chat while you’re eating your delicious thanksgiving dinner.

3. Include and modify family traditions. 

There may not be a pie tasting contest this year but there is always a way to ensure your family traditions are kept alive virtually. Use Kahoot for a fun, trivia experience or use JackBox TV Games through HouseParty to play as a family and use group chats like WhatsApp to talk about what you are grateful for.


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