But if it’s too late or too much hassle to send care packages to everyone on the virtual guest list, prompting people to pony up their own candles shortly before the event begins is just as good. It would add a certain sacramental edge to the occasion to ask your Zoomers to light their candles in solemn unison. In general, anything that guests can do “together” despite their distance helps give your virtual Thanksgiving a sense of structure and ritual. Manufacturing some sense of ritual is the key ingredient. Otherwise, not everyone needs to have the same menu. (Remember, polling – America’s favorite foolproof science – tells us that most people dislike at least one staple Thanksgiving dish.) But every household can probably agree to prepare one recipe in common. If it’s traditional for two relatives to prep a certain dish together, they might have a separate Zoom session exclusively for simultaneous cooking and kitchen chitchat. If you keep your virtual Thanksgiving “gathering” judiciously short, you might humor those predisposed to replicate the experience of hourslong inert togetherness by all agreeing to watch The National Dog Show
As most of us know by now, virtual events – especially of the fun-for-the-whole-family variety – are nearly impossible to execute well. Nearly impossible, but not completely. According to the good folks at Country Living , sending invitations and creating a consistent “vision” or “visual concept” is key to tricking your scattered attendees into feeling as though they’re in the same place. You might think seeing the familiar faces of your family and friends lined up on your screen should accomplish the intended effect. But a little planning ahead could make the whole thing much more bearable... If everyone on the Thanksgiving Zoom received a package in the week leading up to the holiday, for instance, containing a candle and a table cloth or a placemat and centerpiece – or, in the true spirit of forced family fun, a set of instructions and materials to make your own centerpiece – you’d end up with a “visual concept” that transcends the screen. (And, in all likelihood, it would end up a precious keepsake that you’ll spend years guiltily debating whether to throw out or save for posterity so that they can then feel bad about not really wanting it either.)
You might think seeing the familiar faces of your family and friends lined up on your screen should accomplish the intended effect. But a little planning ahead could make the whole thing much more bearable...
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