Lately, the days seem to be both endless and flying by at warp speed, and we’re all probably pretty sick of our homes at this point. Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and for many, this time that would be spent traveling to see far-away family members and gathering with loved ones to share thanks looks very different this year. We’re all in the same boat, so we’ve pulled together some tips and tricks for how to make this Thanksgiving memorable, despite the COVID-19 restrictions.

First, and most importantly, make sure to educate yourself on the latest COVID-19 restrictions, if you are planning on traveling at all, as many states are ratcheting up restrictions prior to the holiday. NECN has written a round-up of the most important things to know for New England states, and covers everything from quarantine rules to how many visitors can be in a house. Even for those staying home, if you’re planning on having visitors, it’s well worth your time to have a quick brush up on the rules.

The best way to show someone you love them and are thankful for them is to keep them safe. This means staying home for many, so you’ll have to get creative. Think: virtual dinner party. No, it doesn’t have to be as horrible as it sounds, and it certainly beats dining alone. 

First, you’ll have to pick your platform: Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts? If you only have an iPhone or iPad at your disposal, FaceTime is the one for you. For larger parties, Skype can host up to 50 people with no time limit, but Google Hangouts lets you see 10 people all at once, and is probably closest to recreating being “around the table.” Zoom is reliable, but the basic free plan limits you to 40-minute long calls, so won’t last the length of a 4-course dinner.

Next, even if you are solo in your own home, set the table as if you were expecting — no, that doesn’t mean 12 place settings, but don’t skimp on the decoration just because no one else will see it IRL. It’ll look great on camera, and get you in the holiday headspace. Flowers, candles, and table cloths will do the trick.

Finally, plan some activities. Some video call platforms, like Houseparty, have built-in games, which can keep you entertained for hours. Plan some virtual chess, checkers, or karaoke. When the night is winding down, Netflix Party allows you to sync your video with others and has a chat function. Finally, while it doesn’t seem like there’s much else to talk about at the minute, try to avoid pandemic talk if you can for a night — it’ll keep the atmosphere light, and you may surprise yourself with how “back to normal” you’ll feel while staying safe.

We wish you a happy Thanksgiving, and we hope to see you soon!