61ºF

4 tips on how to host a successful virtual Thanksgiving

Planning ahead is crucial to a successful holiday gathering online



SAN ANTONIO – Thanksgiving is approaching and this might be the first major holiday in which families hold a beloved traditional meal together via an online teleconference, rather than around the same table, which ups the stakes for hosts.

In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, AARP is providing information, advocacy and resources to help older people -- as well as those caring for them -- to protect themselves from the virus, prevent it from spreading to others and cope with the health problems and financial disruptions caused by the virus.

AARP gave these tips on how to have a joyful holiday, virtually, with loved ones.

1. Take hosting seriously.

In the proper setting, Zoom calls have been described as late-night talk-show segments. This is the perfect time to stay up late with loved ones from afar and talk as much as you want.

2. Share a detailed plan.

What’s the start time? When should everyone have their turkey ready? Who should speak, and in what order? Keep in mind that attention spans are shorter online.

3. Stay steady.

It can be distracting to see people walking around on-screen. If loved ones are going to be standing up and sitting down frequently, advise them to turn off their camera first and then turn it back on.

4. Stage a run-through call.

For the participants who are less tech-savvy, make them feel comfortable on Thanksgiving with a test run. Make sure all the guests know how to properly enter the virtual call and how to operate the camera and microphone.


AARP, the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, says it’s dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. The group works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families, such as health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment.

To learn more about AARP’s coronavirus resources, click or tap here.