Thanksgiving is one of the most cherished holidays where friends and family gather together for the yearly rituals and traditions. Be it watching the parade, having some finger-licking turkey, or just watching the beautiful fall season go by. Spending virtual thanksgiving with your distant teams can give them a much-needed break at work!
Thanksgiving is celebrated to give thanks and offer gratitude to the harvest season, your loved ones around, and to give back to the community. Our 15 heart-warming virtual thanksgiving ideas listed below are bound to make this holiday a special one for you and your family, so happy reading!
1. What is virtual Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving is celebrated and recognized as a day of offering thanks for the blessings, sacrifice, and harvest of the preceding year. It is observed as a national holiday in the United States on the fourth Thursday of November and in Canada on the second Monday of October. Virtual Thanksgiving is celebrated by people gathering together online through video conferencing platforms to have a great festive time without stepping outdoors.
The holiday is observed in many countries like Australia, Brazil, the Philippines, the Netherlands, and many others. It is also known as ‘Turkey Day’ as the traditional menu features turkey as the main dish. Friends and family come together for a huge festive meal, activities, and to have a wholesome quality time with each other. If needed, get some pants like Joey wears to finish a whole turkey by himself!
2. How do you celebrate virtual Thanksgiving at work?
Remote and distant teams can come together to have a great virtual Thanksgiving celebration at work. You can:
- Send an invite to all employees and set a time (that is convenient for all) that is synced to their online calendars.
- Host a virtual activity that everyone can take part in. You could also hire vendors who offer virtual parties like singing telegrams, magicians, caricaturists, etc.
- Ask employees to set a Thanksgiving-related image as their background on the online conferencing platform to give it a festive look. You can choose from one of these Zoom backgrounds by The Bash.
- Send ideas for decorations, meal recipes, and Thanksgiving-themes drinks to have an amazing meal together online.
3. 15 Virtual Thanksgiving Ideas
3.1. Thanksgiving Bingo
Catch a good ol’ Bingo session with your remote staff this virtual Thanksgiving. You can create a card and fill the squares with random rituals, fun traditions, and holiday festivities or download the prefilled card from Team Building. Launch breakout rooms or play with the whole team together. Ask participants to share stories and fun memories as they cross the squares on their cards!
3.2. Thanksgiving Family Feud
After devouring a satisfying Thanksgiving meal, get your team together online for a Thanksgiving Family Feud. Two teams play against each other to guess the most popular answers to simple survey questions given to a random set of 100 people. The questions can be Thanksgiving-themed. Something like:
- Name a dish you eat on Thanksgiving, apart from Turkey.
- Name something someone preparing the feast might get stressed about.
- Name something which is usually present in the Thanksgiving Parade.
- Name something most people do on the day after Thanksgiving.
- Name something you eat on Thanksgiving which starts with the letter G.
3.3. Kindness Quest
Kindness Quest is a virtual team-building event for remote employees. It is created to spread the holiday cheer during the festival and throughout the year. Team members can participate in various games and activities that spark joy and gratitude. The virtual quest is for 90 minutes, and 6 to 300+ people can take part. Visit the page to schedule a call and get the pricing details for your team!
3.4. Gratitude Wall
A thank you and appreciation note goes a long way at work. Remote working might not see a lot of gratitude that is often passed along in offices in person. Create a gratitude wall and post comments on sticky notes on an online whiteboard application such as Miro, or simply post appreciation messages on your team’s communication channel. You could also play ‘compliment tag’ and ask employees to return the compliment upon receiving one. Ensure all employees receive at least one note of gratitude, and spread warm and fuzzy smiles around!
3.5. Thanksgiving Trivia
For all trivia fans out there, create a super fun virtual thanksgiving trivia challenge! Make teams, keep scores, and timers for the answers. You could create questions on the history of Thanksgiving, parades, turkeys, football, dates of specific events, thanksgiving in different cities, thanksgiving-food related, and more. Make it more fun with exciting prizes for the winners!
3.6. Thanksgiving Pictionary
Gear up for an exciting round of Thanksgiving Pictionary with your coworkers. Divide the participants into teams, and the host can assign a Thanksgiving-related word or activity to the person who will be drawing in each turn. It can be something like carving a turkey, corn on the cob, fall leaves, pilgrims’ hat, harvest, and many more. The participant can share their screen and draw on an online whiteboard. Keep a screenshot of the funny drawings which make everlasting memories!
3.7. Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt
Keep the team on their toes by playing the Thanksgiving scavenger hunt. The host can make a list of clues for household items that employees can fetch from their homes and present them in front of the screen. Whoever does so first, wins. This can be played individually and in groups. The items can be related to Thanksgiving such as:
- A Thank you card
- An item you are grateful for
- A can of cranberry sauce
- Something red
- A picture of your turkey dish
- A plate of pumpkin pie
- A fall leaf
- A football flag
- A picture of a cornucopia in your house
3.8. Recipe Swap – Thanksgiving dinner
Show off your culinary skills with some delicious meals for virtual thanksgiving. Come together with the team online over a video conferencing platform for a feast. You could host a recipe swap and ask team members to prepare the dishes from the recipes they’ve received. It would be more fun if employees can get to cook recipes from various cultures that they’ve not experienced yet. The participants can also share tips and tricks that they tend to use. Have a memorable luncheon with all the dishes in the end!
3.9. Thanksgiving Icebreaker games
Icebreaker games help jump-start the conversations and relieve people of the awkwardness in the beginning. It helps employees get to know each other. You can add a Thanksgiving twist to a game like “Never Have I Ever…”:
- Eaten an entire turkey by myself
- Made a gravy dish from scratch
- Played football on Thanksgiving
- Fallen sick after devouring the feast on Thanksgiving
- Eaten a whole pumpkin pie
- Skipped the parade show on Thanksgiving
3.10. Hand Turkeys
Hand turkeys are the best activities to do with your remote team on Thanksgiving. This is the best time to relive a childhood activity. Participants must draw an outline of their hand and evolve it into a drawing of a turkey by adding feathers, eyes, beak, etc. They can make the feathers as colourful as they want. You can also turn this into a contest and display the best ones on your company’s social media pages. Display the goofy ones as well for memories!
3.11. Virtual Thanksgiving Field Trip
Take your team for a virtual Thanksgiving Field trip organized by Scholastic. Take a peek into the historical voyage which was about 3000 miles from England to America in 1620 and experience living on a 17th-century ship. Learn about the history of Thanksgiving and the First Nations in the 1600s. Happy sailing!
3.12. Thanksgiving History
Honor the holiday tradition by participating in a brief virtual history lesson about the history of Thanksgiving. It differs from country to country. In North America, Martin Frobisher went in search of Northwest passage from England during the 1578 voyage, and that’s when the first celebration occurred. It is also traced to French settlers who celebrated their successful harvests and had feasts at the end of the season.
In the US, Pilgrims relocated from England and had a feast after their first harvest with Wampanoags Indians, a native American tribe in the 1621 Plymouth feast.
Have a fun trivia quiz on the lesson and make the session interactive!
3.13. Parade show
One of the most common traditions on Thanksgiving is to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the most-watched show on this day every year. Get all the remote employees together over an online conferencing software and watch the parade together. You could host a poll and ask everyone to vote for their favourite floats, characters balloons, and cheer along with the marching bands. You can also ask the employees to dress up in their favourite character costumes to brighten the atmosphere!
3.14. Kindness To-Do Lists
Motivate your team with some healthy competition by creating a kindness to-do list. Give the participants a list of tasks that inspire kindness and appreciation, and encourage them to check every item off the list by end of the day or by the next day. The first member to complete the challenge wins! The list can contain tasks like:
- Give a team member a genuine compliment
- Teach a short lesson on any skill
- Check-in on a manager about their day
- Make a colleague laugh
- Send a coworker a handmade present
- Thank a teammate for something you’ve always wanted to
3.15. Thanksgiving Fundraiser
A Thanksgiving fundraiser can create a huge impact as a team and a community. It helps in keeping the festive spirit and allows everyone to volunteer for a good cause. Select organizations that you can donate to, host a fundraiser online, and invite all members. Encourage them to invite their friends and family as well. The attendees can raise funds, or contribute personally.
4.1. What are some fun Thanksgiving games?
Some fun Thanksgiving games are:
- Thanksgiving Pictionary
- Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt
- Thanksgiving Bingo
- Thanksgiving Hand Turkeys
- Thanksgiving Trivia
4.2. How to set up a virtual Thanksgiving event on zoom?
To set up a virtual Thanksgiving event on Zoom:
- Create an invite and send it to all the remote employees. Make it creative and Thanksgiving-themed using tools like Canva.
- Select an appropriate video conferencing software that is suitable for your team size like Zoom or Teams. You can ask employees to change their backgrounds to a Thanksgiving-themed image.
- Host an activity or a game that can be played virtually like Trivia, Scavenger Hunt, Pictionary, Bingo, etc.
- You can also share ideas for meals, drinks, and decorations to add to the holiday cheer and joy. Have fun!